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Monk's Café

Not Rated.
Monk's CaféMonk's Café

465 Ratings
Ratings: 465
Reviews: 338
rAvg: 4.43
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 

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Ratings: 465 | Reviews: 338
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.


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.

Photo of Foxman
4.65/5  rDev +5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

The fact that Monk's is located pretty much around the corner from Nodding Head makes this stop #1 in an evening of one-two beer punches. Though after stopping both places, driving is the last thing anyone should even remotely consider doing, so the proximity to the PATCO station is a real plus for a Jersey-dweller such as myself.

You walk in, and from the get-go, you're snug as a bug in a rug in this narrow, crowded, warmly appointed Belgian-esque café. Well, I'm assuming Belgian, but having never been to Belgium, I think I can say safely at least Western European. The people expect to be packed in, and they're most all content with that. The front bar is kind of awkwardly placed in the flow of traffic, but who cares? Past the booths (my favorites) and then a left and a right past the kitchen and unisex bathrooms, down a short hall, and you're in the back bar, a genuine beer-geeks dream locale. The tables are even tighter here, and the bar too small, but no matter where you end up, you have an eclectic soundtrack in play, and you're never more than a few steps from some incredible beer. Crowded or not, if you can't find a comfort level here, then you're likely better suited to some off-the-path corner taproom with two or three bleary-eyed regulars and Coors Light the big seller. Oh, and the new non-smoking policy, my civil libertarian twinges aside, make what has always been tremendous even better.

As far as the quality, it gets no better. Beer is religion here, as noted perhaps by the Beer Bible, and it's served clean, correctly, at good temperatures, and in a variety of always damned-close if not dead-on glassware choices.

Now, I know some folks are fond of trashing Monk's for what they perceive to be poor service. I am not about to debate that, because perception at least tempers reality, but I'll say I have never had a negative service experience here. Are they hurried, harried, and in perpetual motion? Well, yeah, because they have to be, but no one has ever been anything short of, at the least, professional, and I usually get some cheerful thrown in as well. And they all know what they're serving, with very few exceptions. Oh, and one of my favorite things is, they have a very low tolerance level for drunks, obnoxious or nodding off at the bar. These folks are escorted onward, either with a driving friend or a cab. It's smart from a liability angle, and it makes for a greater experience for those who prefer to respect their beer.

Ah, and now to the true draw of Monk's, the selection. First, to echo the previous reviews, the American craft selection in bottles is second to none in the city, and I'm not sure who, anywhere, can beat, though I'll assume someone can. Still, there are even a few on tap at any one time, so it's truly special in that regard. But the real strength is, of course, the Belgians. Start with the Monk's Flemish Sour Red, a proprietary genuine Belgian, and go from there. You'll always find Chimay Triple, and even Hoegaarden for the faint of heart, but it's the others that make return trips not only fun, but mandatory in order to sample whatever's newest in the never-ending rotation. Various Duponts, not just the Saison, Lucifer, Piraat, Cantillon, Delirium Tremons, Chouffe- one could go on for hours reciting what has been on tap. Come thirsty, my friends, and try your damnedest to find a designated driver, because you'll want much, and they have much to give.

And the food...well, start with the pommes frites, for my money the best in the city, consistently, and with the wonderful bourbon mayonnaise in tow it's starchy bliss. And the starters, not a one not wonderfully done, from my experience. The mussels are simply stellar, with my favorite the Ghent and my wife's the Thai curry. The duck salad's a winner, as are both lamb dishes, the trout, both filets, and the venison pot pie. The one thing that did not impress me as much was the burger, which, while quite tasty, was a bit dry even though it was cooked medium as requested.

You'll walk out of here feeling as though you've found an experiential bargain, having immersed yourself in another culture, hip-deep, for well less than you'll think you should have spent. But, realize that it's not free.

So what else can I say? Maybe I sound like I'm worshiping at the altar, and maybe I am, but all I know is that when my wife and I are planning a night out and she suggests Monk's, I'm about as happy as a husband can be. I don't care about the crowds, because there's always someplace to grab another beer, and that's what it's about. As I said, if you don't like crowds and waiting, then stay away. But if you can look past such petty matters to focus on a riveting beer experience. come along, little doggie, and enjoy the ride.

Photo of Gasp100
4.65/5  rDev +5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

To start off, I'm still just getting my feet wet with Belgian's but I know good beer when I see it (and people who appreciate good beer as well). I was in Philly working on Thursday night and my boss took me out for my 6 month review when we were done (pretty cool). I had Chimay (triple?) on draft served in a Chimay goblet and it was fucking fantastic. We also tried the Monk's Madness (tasted like a nice APA to me) and went crazy with some Cantillion Gueze (Monk's version?). He offered to buy some Rochefort 10 which I thought was too over the top at $12/bottle... (should have took him up on that) but we also had La Chouffe and a lot of other brews.
I was really happy to see their beer list went well beyond Belgians and the Sly Fox Pale Ale on draught was a welcome change from being Belgian'd out. They had South Hampton Special Ale Alt and one guy got some Aventinus for dinner.
The place was fucking packed and standing room only to the obnoxious level so I don't know when I'll go back... but overall it was worth it for one night of Belgian flavored fun (for free!!!)
In any case I bought 2 bottles of Chimay today at the store so it has left a lasting impression. Oh yeah, the food and the prices were very reasonable for what you are asking for and what you get as well. Good times... next time I want to hit something like Ludwig's which I'm hoping is the German version of this with better seating and way more room.

Photo of Poppypitbull
4.9/5  rDev +10.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Just a great all around place.
a really well informed waiter who knew his stuff guided us through the evening for selections when we wanted to experiment. A cool atmosphere, great tunes on the system, food was good but not awesome (it's bar food, just better cooked). A little pricey though, but it's to be expected with what they serve there. We got down to PA just in time since they banned smoking only 2 weeks prior and it made the evening that much more enjoyable.
Got to try a variety of things I'd never had before and even got a free bottle to take back to NJ the next day!

Photo of Phatz
4.95/5  rDev +11.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

What an absolute slice of heaven. This was a truly *remarkable* experience!!! Never in my life have I seen a selection of Belgian Beers like this before. Even the collection of American micros is absolutely unparallel! The closest thing I have ever seen is Zeno’s in State College but this atmosphere is much more classy. This place has the seating spread out and a front bar and back bar so everything feels cozy but it’s capacity is larger than the eye would suggest. Still, it is not a large place and the homebrew club nearly filled the back bar.
What you see: Lots of wood. The floor and walls it is all rustic dark wood and paneling and lots of Belgian Breweriana. The real thing you want to see is their "Beer Bible" or the beer menu. Goodness! I had to bow my head and pray. It is ridiculous. AWESOME! But ridiculous! Bottles must number well over a hundred and a dozen taps, many Belgian. If only I lived close by …
This is my second experience with Monk’s though my first rip there. I met Tom Peters at the seminar in State College and sampled several of their dishes that are cooked with beer. The food may cost a little more than some other places but it is the best you’ll find, so it is still very reasonable. Try many dishes prepared with beer. The staff seemed incredibly knowledgeable and the helpful. So the service the selection and the food are all perfect reasons to visit. Not to mention everything is of the utmost quality. We had a cellared Old Engine Oil Special Reserve (Aged In Malt Whiskey Casks) a beer that you can’t even find anymore. Not to mention the Russian River “Temptation!” There is not one reason, not to make it to Monk’s Café!

Hope this is helpful.

Photo of n0rmann
4.74/5  rDev +7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

Quite simply, Monk's Cafe is the best place I've ever been for Belgian ales. They have almost everything I could think of -- Chimay, Abbaye, Corsendonk, De Dolle, Dupont, Duvel, Regenboog and Rochefort.

But, it doesn't stop there. The selection for almost every country is fantastic. From the U.S., there's a large selection of Dogfish Head, Heaveyweight, Rogue, Stoudts and Flying Dog.

From England, they have Thomas Hardy's from 1991, '92 and '94 (for $30 a bottle).

They have Aventinus from Germany, Thiriez from France, and they even have three beers from the Swiss trappist monks.

Some of the ber is expensive, but they have many of reasonable price.

There's a back bar within monks that has extra beers on draught.

Definitely a must if you stop in philly.

Photo of VegasBill
4.4/5  rDev -0.7%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

Went two days in a row for a late lunch and was lucky, it was busy but not packed. The food is some of the best I have ever had in a pub, simply wonderfull. The beer selection is also outstanding, when I was there they even had some Russian River offerings, in Philly!!! wow.
The only downside is in the evening one better like a really mobbed place and even have a second choice in mind in case the wait is too long and Philly is a smoking OK city so cigarette smoke with your meal is the norm. Even with the increased competition Monk's is still worth a visit for a really enjoyable time.

Photo of MuddyFeet
4.28/5  rDev -3.4%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Went to Monk's for dinner after Happy Hour drinks at the Nodding Head during my recent trip to Philadelphia. Perhaps the best thing about Philly I saw on my short trip.

Atmosphere was very dark and cave-like. Long and narrow. Made me think it was dirty too without it actually being dirty. My mind was playing tricks on me and made me think that there was an abundance of moisture in the air. Lots of beer placards and beer trays along the walls. I just hung out at the front bar and never ventured toward the back bar because the bartender offered to run to the back bar if I wanted anything on the back bar taps.

Service was great. In addition to running to the back the bartender answered all my questions and when I wasn;t sure which Russian River bottle I wanted she let me handle both bottles before I decided on which one was the bottle for me.

For dinner I had the venison pot pie. Very, very good. I was afraid it might be dry but it was very moist and hit the spot just right.

Now for what everyone is interested in reading about. Very impressive tap list. About a dozen taps and all with something that made me drool a bit. A couple of "available only here" selections from Belgium too. The bottle selection was superb too. Wonderful place for the selection of beer.

Photo of Hollister
4.65/5  rDev +5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

I've only been to Philly a half dozen times, but each time I'm in town I try to go to Monk's Cafe. It's awesome! It's located just a couple blocks from the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts which is home to the Philadelphia Orchestra - which makes for a great evening... Monk's for dinner and a pre-concert Belgian, a symphony concert, and then right back to Monk's to finish off the night.

They've got the best Belgian beer list that I've ever seen. The food is excellent, and the atmosphere is great minus the smoke. If only restaurants were smoke-free in PA... Anyways, so far I haven't had a bad experience there, and have enjoyed everything that I've tried. It's a little expensive, but that's city life. The Belgian beer selection is out of this world -- Monk's Cafe is a must in Philly!

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Monk's Café in Philadelphia, PA
98 out of 100 based on 465 ratings.