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Monk's Café

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

443 Ratings
Ratings: 443
Reviews: 331
rAvg: 4.43
pDev: 9.26%
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:
None, yet.

(Place added by: BeerAdvocate)
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Ratings: 443 | Reviews: 331 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mfhlucky13
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%
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 -0.7%
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 -1.8%
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 -0.7%
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 -1.8%
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 +6.1%
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 +2.3%
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 -1.8%
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 +6.5%
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 +6.1%
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 +7.9%
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 +11.5%
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 +7.9%
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 +2.7%
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 +0.5%
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 -14.2%
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 -3.4%
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 +7.9%
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 +1.6%
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.

Photo of clickpush
3.8/5  rDev -14.2%
vibe: 3 | quality: 5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 2.5

During a trip to Philly, this was my #1 beer destination. I think I would have enjoyed it more if I went w/ people who were as eager to be there as I was, but I was catching a flight immediately after the visit and everyone was worried about being late to the airport. A 20 minute wait to get a table, the hostess let us stand twiddling our thumbs for several minutes before taking our name, telling us that it would be 20 mins, and letting us sit at the bar in the interim. The beer list is quite impressive, at least as far as Belgians go, although holy shit the draught list is measly. Not all that impressed with the rest of the beers. But seriously, this is a Belgian beer bar so I understand. I ordered a chocolate Fantome and it was about $20 w/ tip, I think. That's what I've paid for other Fantome beers at bars before, so I was expecting it. So many other great and obscure Belgian selections that I didn't have time to try. I asked the bar tender about Westies and it sounded like they had 'em sometimes, just not the day I was there. Bar tender was very sage and kind to boot, but the hostess and tables service were abominable. We all had burgers - they were okay, but for the fact that the meat covered only about half the surface area of the bun. And the fries: seriously, what's up w/ over cooked tiny little fries? Not good!

Moral: good Belgian bottle list... and that's about it.

Photo of kenito799
4.63/5  rDev +4.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 3

My beer-loving Philly friend brought me here Friday January 12, 2007 around midnight. Is he trying to get me to move to Philly? Monk's is enough to make me consider it.

We went to the back bar, through the narrow front bar-pub with a bar, tables and booths, into the back room with another bar, 6 or 7 beers on tap, stools allowing seating around the edge of the room as well as at the bar. Past the normal bar rush time for Philly, we easily got seats at the bar and were able to relax and enjoy a truly remarkable Belgian beer experience.

The place is comfortably lit, warm, wood-paneled with gothic touches but not too dark. Staff were knowlegable and efficient--yes, I know what I am in for when I order a Monk's Cafe Cuvee Cantillon Gueuze--those are tears of joy that come to my eyes just realizing that there is such a thing on tap and it is mine for $7. Instantly I am a Medieval Belgian peasant (sans lice and buboes), supping at the carefully rotting nectar of the fields...in a word, utter bliss. What else? Rodenbach Grand Cru on tap? St Bernardus Abt 12 at the next spigot? For only $7 where I paid $11 for an even smaller pour in NYC? Perhaps I need to buy an Acela monthly pass.

A generous pot of mussels contained plump shellfish but they were unfortunately not as good as I am used to in NYC, and Monk's needs to learn what Belgian frites are (they are not thin little OK fries, they are as much an art as the beers). We didn't try any of the other food, so perhaps it is better, but it is a small issue. This place has the most impressive and amazing Belgian beer selection I have ever seen, and the prices are wonderful to my perpetually raided NYC pockets.

They have a house Flemish Sour ale brewed for them in Belgium! Don't miss this place.

Photo of IgnatiusReilly
4.7/5  rDev +6.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Monk's Cafe should always be the first stop on any beer tour of Philly. It is a premier Belgian beer bar, as good as any I've ever been to. The Belgian ale selection is huge, rivaled only by Eulogy in Old City. The complete beer menu has upwards of 250 bottled beers, categorized by country of origin. Name a beer, more than likely it's here.

Great atmosphere - very cozy, European feel. One bar in the front, one in the back. Try the Café's own Monk's Flemish Sour, always on tap at the front bar. Deliciously tart with a full, chewy mouth-feel. Traditional Belgian food menu - I usually get the Thai curry mussels (served with unbelievable fries). The pulled pork BBQ sandwich is something special. Food is very reasonably priced. The service is good, with all servers I've had making good recommendations with food.

One drawback - almost always packed!! If it's 730p on Friday or Saturday, don't bother, you're too late. Cozy turns into cramped quickly, and this place is not standing-room friendly. Ideal for lunch or early midweek dinner.

If you go, take a look at the upcoming dinners the Café puts on, posted on the wall of the front bar. Some great guest hosts come through the place including Michael Jackson, Garrett Oliver, and Sam Calagione. Usually you can reserve your spot one month in advance.

Photo of Philby11111
3.59/5  rDev -19%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 2 | selection: 4.5

I am from out of town but stop into Monks every time I'm in Philly on business. I have always loved this place as their Belgian beer selection is awesome, many drafts and an incredible number of bottles.

Typically service is good. Today service was poor. With an empty bar at 4pm, back bar tables were "for food service only." I guess my 5 belgian drafts don't equal a basket of frites. Oh well. Also, after my 4th glass I asked for a small sample to decide on my 5th. I was told "we don't offer samples." This must be a change in policy as I have always been offered samples before. I'd like to think it was just the attitude of the bartender (Mullet man with black hair) and that Tom the owner has not let overall service slip.

I will be back, but certainly only because of the selection, not the service.

Photo of HossMcGraw
4.85/5  rDev +9.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Finally got to Monk's and it was every bit as good as I had hoped.

2 small dark bars with great music, friendly laid back atmosphere, and one of the sickest beer selections I've ever seen. The Monk's Flemish Red was phenomenal! Our server knew her beer, and she was very knowledgeable, sweet and attentive. All beer was served in the appropriate glassware.

The mussels were delicious, but our entrees were kind of average. The value was teriffic however. Very moderately priced food that was adequate enough to go along with some world class beer.

Photo of BeerHonky
4.55/5  rDev +2.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 5

Oh man, this place is great. Monk's offers a great selection of beers (mostly Belgian) and fantastic food. Lots of beer on tap and an ample selction of bottles. In my humble opinion their mussels are second to none. I also hear their burgers are fantastic. The place is dark and cozy, perfect for any beer lover. The only bad thing is that it can get very very crowded at times, so go a little earlier for a more relaxing experience. If you like good beer and good food and find yourself in Philadelphia, you'll be doing yourself a diservice by not going here.

Monk's Café in Philadelphia, PA
98 out of 100 based on 443 ratings.