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Monk's Café

Not Rated.
Monk's CaféMonk's Café
BA SCORE
98
world-class

449 Ratings
Ratings: 449
Reviews: 334
rAvg: 4.42
pDev: n/a
Taps: 20
Bottles: 218
Cask: N
Beer-to-Go: N
[ Bar, Eatery ]

264 S 16th St
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19102-3357
United States
phone: (215) 545-7005

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

Notes:
Place added by: BeerAdvocate

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Ratings: 449 | Reviews: 334 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of TrojanMan
3.23/5  rDev -26.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 2 | selection: 4

If you will only be in Philly for a short time, feel free to skip Monk's. Your time and money are better spent elsewhere.

I won't bother to describe the decor and tap selection, that has been done by other BAs. I write this review to detail a few problems I see with this establishment and to encourage others to ignore the marketing and hype surrounding this largely mediocre bar.

The first issue I have is the price. I don't mind paying extra for a good beer and I don't mind a small pour for a high-ABV beer but I very much mind paying a high price for a small beer. Cost works out to about a dollar an ounce for most beers which I find to be very high, even for a major city. When I can go to a store and buy a 750ml bottle for what you're charging me for an 8-ounce pour, I start to question whether I'm really getting my money's worth.

The second issue I have is with service. Bartenders absent or inattentive, even when the place isn't crowded. Bartenders not knowledgable with the beers they're serving. My brother asked for an opinion and our bartender regurgitated the tasting notes from the tap list. Thanks, we can read. So he asked for a sample and...

This brings me to my third point - arrogant, pretentious and haughty atmosphere and policies. They will not give you a taste. Not even for sale. You must pull the trigger on an $8.50 (plus tax) pour with minimal tasting information and little help from the bartenders. Their condolence is that you can chalk it up to the 'cost of education' - from their "beer bible."

Speaking of the "beer bible," it is just one of many features that project a patronizing, holier-than-thou atmosphere of the joint. You get the impression that they are somehow doing you a favor by allowing you to purchase their beer. Nevermind that much of the information in their "bible" is flatly incorrect, especially the sections on brewing. Also, the haughtiness is present throughout. And they charge you $3 for the honor of walking out with a Xeroxed copy of of what is a glorified bottle list? No thanks.

The proverbial last straw was when the bartender finished telling us that they can't spare any beer for a sample, then not two minutes later grabbed a glass and poured a drink for herself. You can't spare half an ounce for a sample that will likely sell beer for you but you can spare an entire beer so your bartender can drink on the job? I have other complaints but there's a 5000-character limit here.

I can't get my money back but you can be smart and save yours.
If you want a Belgian beer bar, go to Eulogy instead.

Photo of jjboesen
3.43/5  rDev -22.4%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4.5 | service: 1 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Having read so many glowing reviews for this much-lauded purveyor of Belgian beer, and being in town to experience Philadelphia Beer Week, what better place to start? So, I chose a quiet Friday afternoon and settled in at the front bar.

In the front, there is a small, L-shaped bar seating about 10; additionally, the area has several tables with two prize locations at the windows overlooking 16th Street. If you pass the hallway and head to the left, you come to the larger back bar - also with different beers on tap. (I recommend checking this first.)

Of course, Monk's Beer Bible is an amazing read - and can be purchased for $3.00. And to describe the diversity of fermented culture would be just repetition; Monk's has many, many beers. However, being the beer perfectionist, I didn't find the available taps (a paltry 7) very impressive - the one that did intrigue me, Urthel Hop-It, was not available. Settling down with a bottle of Val Dieu brown, I enjoyed the Pulled Pork Sandwich and frites (with mayonnaise, of course). When the bartender wasn't busy chatting with her gay friend, I was able to induce her to serve me a bottle of Alvinne Gaspar, a hop monster possessing a head that took 10 minutes to settle! Therein lies the rub with Monk's: the service just sucks - on a quiet afternoon at that!

There are flaws in even the most valuable gems; with Monk's it was the indifferent service. What a shame, since I had really anticipated coming here. While, Monk's is a first-rate beer bar, it leaves a lot to be desired in the realm of hospitality, and since Philadelphia has so many similarly fine establishments from which to choose, why even bother. A great bar is more than a massive beer list; a great bar is one where a beer drinker feels welcome, one where he or she could just stay and never leave. Unfortunately, the "much-lauded" Monk's is not one of these. Great beer bar and a great disappointment.

Photo of marcpal
2.95/5  rDev -33.3%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 1.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 2.5

As great as the selection of beer is, that is how poor the service is. This place is legendary from what I have heard and when I got there, the beer list did not fail the hype. Second to only a few, particularly Brick Store and Publick House Mass in bottle and tap selection, Monk's is far inferior in terms of atmosphere and quality service. Not sure if it was the expectations, but they fell short.

The list of Belgian bottles was very tight and those offered on tap were very good as well. Prices were a little on the high side but for some of the rarities that they had, it has to be said that it was fair and worth it.

It was nice to get some of the hard to find US craft brews here but the selection wasnt mind blowing. On tap was Hopslam in preparation for beer week which was impressive.

The food was so-so. The mussels were not bad but not all that substantial and came with a small piece of soaking bread. Not all that impressed. The burgers, both what I had and what I saw others having were awfully weak. Another point to Eulogy on that one.

It was a weekday, fairly busy and they just completely understaffed would be the only excusee for such bad service. What typified it all was a patron who asked for a beer that was on tap in the back bar and was sitting at the front and the bartender said she would have to wait a while if she really wanted it or to get herself- whats the deal.

I echo the account of previous reviewer in that I myself and others there also asked for a small taste and they refused and not kindly either. Just "our policy and Im too busy". Funny, Eulogy's stuff was just as good and expensive but that made the effort. Barleywine on tap served in a Hoegaarden glass, are you kidding me.

Also, for a place like this that prides itself on the beer, they do an absolutely horrific job of pairing beers. I was given an Urthel Hop-It with a pint glass when I am sure they had some Urthel goblets. I guess just lazy, pretty weak.

There are too many other great options in this city to choose this place. In terms of being taken out to Brussels, Ill take Eulogy for one.

All in all, reminiscent of an establishment that has gotten cocky in terms of staff and a little big for their britches.

Photo of sholland119
3.28/5  rDev -25.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 1.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3

Monk's introduced Belgian beers to Philadelphia, and was instrumental in creating a demand for fine craft beer establishments. Sadly, Monk's has rested on its laurels on the beer side, and taken a step backwards in the quality of its food. Other establishments have improved on the formula and, for me, Monk's is no longer the best place to go in Philadelphia.

What's good:
The Belgian bottle and tap list is quite extensive. Without doing an exhaustive count, the lists at Eulogy and Teresa's Next Door seem comparable. No other place I have been around here comes close.

The atmosphere is pretty cool, esp. when you make your way to the back bar.

The fries are good.

What's just ok:
The American craft brew list was a massive disappointment. Due to the owners' close relationships with the brewers at Russian River and Lost Abbey/Port Brewing, you could always expect to see something you could not find elsewhere. This was not the case last week. No RR except Temptation, nothing from the Port Brewing side of the house. Nothing from Bear Republic, Moylan's or Hoppin' Frog, which are all new to eastern PA and popping up all over. One choice each from Bell's, North Coast, Southampton, Avery.

The food other than the fries. Burgers and mussels used to be standouts here but not anymore.

What's not good:
Surly, inattentive service. We used to get good service here, possibly because we came often enough to be known by the day bartenders. But on Friday we got an up close and personal dose of the rudeness mentioned in so many other reviews. Also, i don't really get hung up on proper glassware but I was served Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout in a small pilsner glass and a Monk's Sour Ale in a small Hoegaarden style tumbler, firsts on both accounts.

This is the only beer bar I know of that will not give you a taste of a beer before ordering. Our bartender's rap was "our beer is too expensive to give a taste". Which probably also means it's too expensive to order blindly. Obviously, we all buy beers from recommendations on BA and other places. But if Teresa's Next Door or Eulogy will let me try Cantillon Lou Pepe Kriek 2005 before buying and Monk's won't, where do you think I am going to go?

In the future, we will be happy to spend our money at Tria or Eulogy or North Third or Standard Tap or Johnny Brenda's or Teresa's Next Door or TJ's or the Drafting Room or the Grey Lodge or, well, you get the idea.

Photo of AaronRed
4.45/5  rDev +0.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

On a business trip I decided to visit this place with a few of my collegues. I got the recommendation from BA. When we got there on a Thursday night, it was quite crowded- I think we were in the front bar. The beer selction is quite amazing, I did wish they had more on tap, although my Chimay triple was just great. So many beers by the bottle that I have never had. Food also was very good and fresh- especially the muscles. Everyone with me loved their food and beer. Although it was very busy, the service was precise and helpful.

Photo of BWH3
4.53/5  rDev +2.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Well Monk's is a Philadelphia institution. The atmosphere is cramped crowded dank tavern. The place draws a lot of serious beer drinkers which adds tho the atmosphere if you sit at the bar. The quality of the beer is amazing. First, Monk's has its own Flemish Sour brewed overseas specifically for them and served on draft only at Monk's (bottles are available in some stores). This is a must visit. The beer on draft is fresh and is some of the finest beers period. The service is fantastic. The staff know all the draft beers as well as the extensive bottle list. The selection has only this fault - very few lagers. The selection is limited to primarily to French and Belgian ales. However, this selection is vast. They also include many American micros but not the best selection of Pennsylvania brews in Philly. Food is pretty good. I enjoy the seared octopus marinated in the Flemish sour and the steamed mussels. A must visit for any beer enthusiast who comes to Philly.

Photo of mfhlucky13
4.5/5  rDev +1.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

I can't say enough good things about Monks. Their beer selection is outstanding. The mussels are fantastic. You can have them one of seven ways. I love the Sourpus. Grilled octopus marinated in flemish sour ale. I have enjoyed many firsts at Monk's. Their rotating taps offer a selection to satisfy any beer geek's cravings. Parking is a premium and be prepared to spend 45 minutes to a hour waiting for a table during prime hours. The atmosphere is friendly and service is great. I only wish I could go more often.

Photo of jasonm
4.4/5  rDev -0.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Good fortune found me at Monk's during a trip to Philadelphia. Walk in and you are greeted by a dimly lit, small and narrow bar/seating area. As mentioned the front bar is long and narrow, and filled with all sort of breweriana. The smaller back bar is a little more brightly lit and more subdued decor wise. Each bar has a different tap selection. The crowd is the expected mix you would find in a downtown location; a mix of young professionals, hipsters, tourists, and die hard locals. Its a refreshing experience to see not a single BMC beer in sight being served. Monk's is also good at getting in some pretty rare offerings (like Rodenbach Grand Cru on draft, and RR Toronado 20th Anniversary).

The quality of beer available is excellent, with Belgians taking center stage. Just about any Belgian or Belgian style beer available in the US can probably be found here at one point in time. They also have a solid US micro selection, and some vintages available of several beers.

For dinner, I went with the Charcuterie platter, which included a nice selection of sausage and cheeses, along with fruit, spicy mustard and bread; and an order of the frites.

Even though I sat at the back bar, I received attentive service from the bartender. I also overheard her giving descriptions and recommendations to several of the patrons. A positive experience given a lot of the feedback you here about the service at Monk's sometimes.

Photo of far333
4.35/5  rDev -1.6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

Literally stumbled upon this place a few blocks away from my Philly hotel. Was well awae of it, but never knew it was so close.

It's a pretty small place with a handful of tables right upfront in the bar. The bar only has about 8 seats, and also 8 tap handles. It's a bit dark, a little rough-edged, perhaps bordering on dingey, but the staff was very polite and welcoming.

If you head to the back of the bar area there are about a dozen more booths, a little cramped, but then you can walk down a hidden hallway to a whoe separate room in the back with 8 more different beers on tap and a bunch more tables. The back area seems newer, cleaner, more upscale.

This is a Belgian beer mecca, what an unreal bottle list. Also some selections from Germany, France, and the US. Didn't try the food, but it looked really good. Service was attentive and helfpul, and VERY knowledgeable about the styles and all the selections on the extensive menu. Had a few pints, enjoyed the place very much. Very laid back vibe, but it must get crowded and crazy on a weekend night.

Photo of joeskirkie
4.4/5  rDev -0.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4

It’s a very unassuming place from the outside. The interior has a musty old-world feel to it. Granted I've never traveled outside of the "New World" before but I imagine that this is what it would be like.

A dusty bottle collection sits overhead at the bar. Belgian beer signs hang about. Overall it's dark (in a cool way) and cozy (I hear it can get crowded, we were there on a Saturday around 2pm, things were starting to pick up as we left.)

Now if you've read a few of these reviews you'll no doubt note how we all talk about the selection. It was simply amazing; I was surprised not to find any Westmalle on the list at the time but that’s ok. I got to try some Belgian (and Dutch) beers that I probably would have never found otherwise. The Geants Goliath and the Koningshoeven LaTrappe Dubbel come to mind.

Our prompt, friendly, and knowledgeable bartender could offer notes on whatever beer we pointed out. The pommes frites were good and the Thai curry mussels were great. It's a bit pricey in my opinion but I would say that it's well worth it and fair, given the quality.

I go to Philly often, I'll no doubt be back.

Photo of edskirk3
4.35/5  rDev -1.6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4

I (and my brother) finally went to Monk's yesterday afternoon. I had wanted to check out this place for a long time.

The inside is dark and low-key. They have two bars, front and back, along with two analogous dining areas and stools along the wall with ledges to rest your drink upon. It wasn't crowded when I came in but it started to get cramped pretty quickly.

The beer selection is overwhelming! So much to choose from. Though, if you're on a budget the decision is a little easier. Belgians are their specialty but they have American craft beers available as well. I had a Rodenbach Grand Cru from the tap, and then a bottle of St. Bernardus Abt 12 to go with the Thai Curry Mussels and Pommes Frites we ordered.

The food was excellent. If you are a connoisseur of mussels you need to go to Monk's.

The bar staff know what they're doing. If you have a question about a beer, they will be able to help you out.

Draft lists and beer menus are conveniently available at the bar.

Some of the top shelf Belgians will set you back a bit, but where else in Philly are you going to find a lineup like this? Anyone who enjoys better beer needs to come to this place at least once. I plan to go more than once.

Photo of brantadid
4.7/5  rDev +6.3%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

If you like belgium beer, Monk's is mecca. Let's start with the food because it is easy. Fantastic. The burgers are great, the mussels never overcooked, and the wings are fiery (but very tasty). They have a diversified menu and there is something for everybody.

Now the beer. I don't know what to say. To be able to jump from Tremens to Chimay to La Fin Du Monde to their own Flemish Sour is unbelievable. As long as you have an adventurous palate, you have a home at Monk's.

My only complaint is that I have to go to Philly to go to Monk's. I wish they were closer.

Photo of medic25
4.53/5  rDev +2.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

My sister was good enough to get married this weekend a couple of blocks from Monk's, which gave me a great opportunity to finally try this legendary beer bar. The interior was fairly small and narrow, but we were seated right away for lunch in the back room. The atmosphere was great; the tapestries and signs created a great old world feeling. Our waitress was pleasant and quite knowledgeable about the beers on the menu. The selection was of course incredible; my uncle visiting from Belfast was a little thrown (no BMC, no Harp), but he quickly warmed up to the wheat ales. Everything I tried was fantastic, although I was surprised not to have any beers served in their own glassware.
We had the charcuterie platter (ham, sausage, cheese and fruit) and the thai curry mussels, which were both very good. My fiancee also enjoyed her cheeseburger. This was one of the best beer bars I've ever been to; I can't wait for my next opportunity to visit Philly.

Photo of michael573114
4.35/5  rDev -1.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

I love Monk's. I've only been there twice, once was a sort of accidental find, the other was very well planned for over two years. Once was was all it took, I just had to go back.

This time, I had the pheasant, which I'd never had before. Quite yummy. I paired it with a Rodenbach Grand Cru, one of my favorite sour beers, quite a rare find to have it on tap. After that, I had a bottle of Monk's Red Ale, which was everything I was told it'd be, sour, funky, strange tasting, but absolutely excellent.

I don't think I'll be able to go to Philly ever again without a trip to Monk's!

Photo of bosco7
4.72/5  rDev +6.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Sat at the front of the restaurant. Place is pretty small and I am thankful we came for a late lunch. Dusty bottles line the bar area and vintage Belgian beer signs grace the walls of the dining area. Pretty cozy and inviting. I would like to come during peak hours just to experience the vibe.

Belgian beer list is unmatched in my experience. A dozen or so Beligans (some hard to find) on tap. Hundreds of bottles in various vintages and sizes of bottles. They even have a "Cave Aged Belgian" section-Amazing. About 40-50 American micros in bottles. I had Rodenbach Grand Cru on tap, Geants Goliath on tap, and Russian River Supplication. Pretty pricey though- the average beer on tap will run you above 6 bucks. No big deal. Worth it.

The food is great. When I say food I mean the delicious pomme frites and the bourbon mayo. I had a veggie burger with the "Trappist" toppings (raw red onion, goat cheese, lettuce, and tomato) and it paired perfectly with Rodenbach Grand Cru. Plenty of vegan and vegetarian options.

If you are in Philadelphia and are a beer enthusiast then this should be your first stop. Good luck with parking though.

Photo of EvilJelloMan
4.7/5  rDev +6.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 5

I became a big fan of Monk's when going to college in Philly. This little hole in the wall in center city will always have a special place in my heart, as it's where I was first introduced to the world of exceptional beers. Starting with a humble Leffe Blonde so many years ago, I became a true fan of the wonderful world that is Monk's.

The beer selection at Monk's is, in a word, exceptional. They have a large variety of top-notch bottled beers, and an ever-rotating selection of great microbrews and imports on tap. For the best experience, sit at the back bar and strike up a conversation with the owner, who can often be found back there, dispensing wisdom and helping choose a beer suited to your tastes.

The food is also something that's reason enough to go back to Monk's. Even amongst friends who don't like beer, Monk's has become a traditional meeting place when I return to visit Philly. The burgers are outstanding, but the real prize of Monk's is the game food. I'm particularly fond of the roast pheasant and the rabbit is delicious as well. For an appetizer, you absolutely MUST get a pot or two of Monk's mussels. This is not debatable. Be sure to ask for extra crusty bread to soak up the delicious broth. Do leave room for a choice from the dessert tray, though - Monk's desserts are delightfully rich and you might have trouble finishing one. I suggest sharing so you don't overload your taste buds at the end of an already outstanding evening.

My only possible complaint about Monk's is the size - this place is just too small for the crowds it draws. Trying to get a table at dinner time is often painful, and forget about trying to get in with a large group. Don't be surprised if you end up standing out on 16th street for an hour or more waiting for a table. Don't dispair, though - when you finally sit down and try your first Monk's mussel, you'll see it's well worth the wait.

Photo of jim102864
4.78/5  rDev +8.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Visited this haven for quality beer and selection at the end of May while in Philly on business. My colleague has aquired a taste for quality brew mostly due to my insistance that we hit the right places when we travel together, so when I suggested Monk's fortunately he was on board. This was as on target as it gets. We made it there mid - afternoon on a wednesday and sat at the front bar and the next night, ended up eating dinner in the back bar and sucking down some top notch Belgians. I plead guilty to stealing their beer bible, but I just had to keep a permanent record of what was on tap and what they had in bottles for future use. Of course, I failed to take good notes while I was there, but I can tell you I am no longer a BB Bourgundier virgin. The draft selection was also great and included both domestic micros and Belgians along with some German selections. The entire place was a tight squeeze on Thursday. The rear bar is connected to the front by a long hallway and both bar areas can be a tad close. Still, service at both bars was spectacular and the knowledge and enthusiasm for Belgian by the staff cannot be matched anywhere. I also enjoyed a spectacular steak Thursday night, so go for the food too. A must visit when in Philadelphia and simply the best for all around quality, selection and service from any Belgian beer bar I've been to, and among the top two or three beer bars I've been to nationwide.

Photo of Yetiman420
4.94/5  rDev +11.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

In early June ’07 I was in Philly on business and had the opportunity to visit Monk’s (second and third times), Triumph Brewing, Eulogy, and City Tavern. This order is how I rank the tour and I’ve provided reviews separate reviews in BA for each.

It was a Sunday and Monday evening that I found myself at Monk’s for a second and third time. On Sunday, I visited the back bar and enjoyed a couple of tap Belgian’s and a bottled Russian Imperial Stout from a Nordic country. The $20 6oz bottle of 1993 Courage Russian Imperial Stout was so tempting I returned the next evening to pull the trigger in the front bar. While both bars have the same bottle selection, the front bar has a more domestic focus on the taps.

I give Monk’s a high rating for the following reasons:

- Well organized “beer bible.” With a ton of beers to choose from, they organize it by brewery and style which I find helpful.

- Amazingly knowledgeable staff. The bar back (young guy cleaning glasses) was able to tell me Grand Cru is not a style but the premier beer from a brewery. I questioned him on Russian Imperial Stouts and he gave me solid answers. He also said it was very hard to get a job there. A very modest guy who was a pleasure to chat with.

- Off-the-beaten-path means that the majority of people are there for a reason – the great beer

- Unisex bathrooms

Photo of number1bum
4.78/5  rDev +8.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

I visited Monk's for the first time this past Sunday for dinner and liked it so much I went back the next night for another two beers. I was in Philadelphia for a conference and went Sunday night with a group of 12. We were able to be seated immediately by splitting into two tables of 6 - one in the front bar and one in the back. I went to the back bar. There were about 12 drafts in the back bar, although I had visited the website before I went and was disappointed to learn that the site is quite dated. There were plenty of good selections to be had, though: the house Monk's Flemish Sour, La Chouffe, Delerium Tremens, Chimay Triple, Lindeman's Framboise, Cantillon Lou Pepe Kriek, Stoudt's Smooth Hoperator, Sly Fox Pale Ale, and a bunch more I can't recall. And the bottle list was fantastic. I had the Monk's Flemish Sour, La Chouffe and a Smooth Hoperator. All very good. The next night I stopped at the front bar before going back to the back bar, and I can remember that they had Geants Goliath and Urthel Vlamese Bock at the front bar. I had a Goliath before sharing a bottle of Westmalle Tripel at the back bar. Again, beer is as good as it gets.

Besides the beer, the food was great and the prices were very reasonable. I had the pulled pork sandwich which was delicious. I wasn't expecting the service to be that great from previous reviews, but I had no problems with it. We had a few characters at our table for dinner on Sunday and the waitress played along and cracked a few sarcastic jokes right back. I found the service to be attentive and I wasn't left without a beer for long. Beer prices were maybe a bit pricey but what do you expect for Philly. Overall Monk's is fantastic and I can't wait to go back.

Photo of HugoGrim
4.55/5  rDev +2.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 5

Made a point to visit the highly regarded Monks on my last trip to Philadelphia. It was much anticipated for me, and it lived up to the hype for the most part.

The atmosphere is quite fitting to the name. Stained glass and tapestry wall hangings decorate the dimly lit dining room, immediately putting me in the mood for Belgian beer (which to be honest doesn't take much). The place was packed full when we arrived, but it didn't take long to get a table.

The only negative comments I've heard about Monks is in regards to the service, and while it was the least impressive element of the review I can not say it detracted from experience in any real way. We were not asked if we wanted to be seated in the front or back (as it seemed the beer selection was different) but as there were plenty of beers to pick from on either list this was not a big deal.

The selection in one word... epic. I like that Hoegaarden is the most mainstream beer they serve. They offer beers brewed in Belgium specifically for this restaurant. Needless to say I'm impressed.

The food was quite exceptional. We enjoyed an order of pom frites with the house dipping sauce, which is a must try. Pom frites dipped in a spicy mayonnaise sauce with a Flemish sour ale... as I said, exceptional. I was particularly impressed with the sandwich topping choices. I won't list them all as you can just go to the Monk's site, but any place that offers Boursin or caramelized leeks on a burger has instantly won my heart.

As far as value goes sure it's a bit pricey, but this is to be expected, and in no way were the prices out of line for what you are getting.

All in all a rave review. I will be back as soon as I can. As for the Monk's vs Eulogy debate... I'll have to visit each a few more times before making my decision. ;)

Photo of StoutHearted
4.45/5  rDev +0.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

No question that when it comes to selection, Monk's rocks. Not only does it get in many of the best stuff, but it will be on tap. I've tried many new things for the first time here. No matter how many times I've come here, I can order something new each time. Naming the impressive stuff they have on hand would take more space than I'm allowed here. I will say that they have their own Flemish-style ale that should be tried at least once.

This place is tailored to the beer geek. There's a notice on the beer list that says no returns simply because you don't like the beer, a way to keep finicky Coors drinkers from slamming something that actually has taste.

The place isn't very large and fills up fast, even early in the day. There are two bars, but the one all the way in the back is where it's at. It's a dimly-lit, small room that oozes coziness, if you're lucky enough to grab a seat.

A big criticism of this place that I've seen on the forums time after time is the staff's attitude. Granted, one doesn't usually get served right away unless there's no one else around, and even then you might not get served right away. But I never had the waitstaff or bartender be outright rude to me, especially when you smile at them. They have a policy of carding everyone at the door, so bringing minors in, even to eat, may be a problem. Leave this place for date night, rather than a family outing.

The food here is incredible. The frites are fantastic, thin and crispy with a special mayo dipping sauce, and the mussels are fabulous in their great beer sauce. Be aware that the "large" pot of mussels is not very large. Things get pricey here, but it's a nice treat, and should be experienced once, if only to be able to participate in the Great Monks vs. Eulogy debate.

Photo of SkinnyElvis
3.8/5  rDev -14%
vibe: 3 | quality: 5 | service: 1 | selection: 5 | food: 5

Thanks to my per diem job that got me out early enough to get to Monk's on Wed afternoon. I have been here a ton of times so I should add my two cents in. Easy access to public transit. Nice set-up for a bar. Don't neglect the bar in the back when things get crowded which happens most of the time. The beer selection & quality are outstanding.

But, the service is painful. I got a smile out of my waitress today which may have been a first for me. I have been there many times & I have rarely gotten even average service. I really love the food; I think that their frites would be my last meal on Death Row. Prices are in line with Center City. I don't recommend the place only b/c of the service.

Cheers.

Photo of Nipitato
4.28/5  rDev -3.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Was down in Philly for a conference and checking out Monk's was high on my to do list.

A: Monk's exudes a nice vibe. Some decent breweriana hanging on the wood paneled walls. I drank at a table with colleagues at the back bar, which was nice and cozy. The place was kind of run down and tired but I think it added to the feel. Was there late on Sunday night so the place was pretty dead. My sense from other reviews is that is generally not the case.

Q: All the beers I drank, which were all bottled, were fresh and served in the appropriate glassware. My only beef is that all of the beers I was served were ridiculously cold.

Service: Service was quick and attentive.

Selection: Great selection of both bottled and draft Belgians. Some good local representation as well. Monk's has at least one house brew, which I did not try but I think it's cool that they have one.

F: Did not have a chance to try the food.

V: Prices were reasonable.

Photo of soupyman10
4.78/5  rDev +8.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Can't say enough about this place. Went here the other day with a friend for an afternoon of beer and atmosphere. Nice, dark area with wood paneling. People of all ages, but a solid majority seemed very into beer, asking beer-appropriate questions throughout the three hours we were there. Amazing selection of outstanding beers from all over, with a great beer guide with tons of information (although you do occasionally have to snag them from other customers). We were at the bar, and our bartender was incredibly knowledgeable and helpful - I threw out a style and she tossed eight or nine back, with a description for each (and a description of each brewmaster, if you were interested). One - very mild - complaint is the number of beers on tap - it's around 10, from what I remember, which isn't bad, but I could have done with a couple more. Food was likewise absolutely excellent, and all the aromas passing us by at the bar were incredible as well. It's a little expensive, but for the quality of beer you can't expect anything cheaper.

Photo of Cadyfatcat
4.5/5  rDev +1.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Went on a Friday night and it was packed to the brim. Waited an hour for a table but waiting was more of a treat than anything. Beer on tap was absolutely amazing. Had several different selections but the highlight certainly must have been the St. Bernardus Abt 12. This on tap was probably the best beer I have ever had. Entire spectrum of Belgian beers available on tap from a Flanders red to Triples to a Belgian IPA. Bottles of beer available rival anywhere I have been. Food was wonderful and I believe it was consistent with genuine Belgian fare. A party of four, I got to sample rabbit, pheasant, venison and New Zealand lamb. Atmosphere was great for quality beer drinking, a little cramped on some of the drinking spaces but cozy and friendly. Everyone there seems to have a willingness to try different beer and most are beer lovers. A must go for any beer enthusiasts in the area.

Monk's Café in Philadelphia, PA
98 out of 100 based on 449 ratings.