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The Monk's Kettle

Not Rated.
The Monk's KettleThe Monk's Kettle
BA SCORE
97
world-class

108 Ratings
Ratings: 108
Reviews: 72
rAvg: 4.4
pDev: n/a
Taps: 24
Bottles: 180
Cask: N
[ Bar, Eatery ]

3141 16th St
San Francisco, California, 94103-3334
United States
phone: (415) 865-9523

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap @monkskettle

Notes:
Place added by: NikStique on 12-07-2007

No notes at this time.
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Ratings: 108 | Reviews: 72
Reviews by NorCalYeti:
Photo of NorCalYeti
4.18/5  rDev -5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

Great beer bar/eatery located in the Mission. Street parking is available in the neighborhood. 16th St. BART is also within walking distance, which is a nice option. Arrived at 12p upon opening and was immediately greeted and asked whether I was there for food or drink. Sat down at one of 12 seats at the bar and was provided with a beer menu. The bartender was very friendly and helpful and open to pouring samples as requested. 24 beers on tap with two extras being poured off the list. A mix of Czech, American Pale Ale, English-Style Brown Ale, and Belgian-Style beers available on draught. And then the beer list...pretty much representative of every category you can think of. Major drawback is the price across the board...all the prices are inflated. Be prepared to pay dearly...especially for a big group. My choices were somewhat focused due to price. If you're out on the town and price isn't an issue, you've found your place. All beers poured in proper glassware with most beers poured a little cold, which is a drawback.

Plan to arrive early as the place fills quickly. We arrived at 12p on a Saturday and the place was full around 1:45p.

The place holds 49 people...approximately 12 seats at the bar and the remaining seats divided among eight, two and four tops. Rustic menu with snacks such as the daily pickle and elves on horseback, to small plates such as house salads, mushroom risotto, buttermilk fried rabbit, and mussels, and entrees like chicken paillard, duck confit, and diver scallops. Food coming out of the kitchen smelled great. Had a basket of fries that hit the spot.

I would definitely go back but would have to save my pennies ahead of time. Aside from the price, the other criticism might be the diversification of the beer list...while several beer styles are represented, only a couple of beers are available in each style, many of which aren't that rare or inspired. I would suggest they focus on fewer styles and have a deeper selection for the price.

More User Reviews:
Photo of Jackolope
2.08/5  rDev -52.7%
vibe: 3 | quality: 1 | service: 1 | selection: 4 | food: 2.25

If you like being talked down to and unparalleled levels of pretension than go to this place. If you enjoy sharing beer with friends AVOID THIS PLACE like the plague. Me and my friend were basically asked to leave because our friend wanted to join us for a beer after we had finished our mediocre food. He came at the end of our meal and sat down next to us, I gave him a sip of my beer and that was enough for the host to come over and explain, "We don't just let people come in here and eat and drink..." It was so absurd I couldn't tell if he was being serious until he made it clear that he wanted us to finish up and leave. Why? I'm still guessing. Mind you it was a Tuesday at 9pm and there were a handful of open tables. When I called management the next day to see if this was some kind of joke my concerns were not taken seriously. If you are in SF there are literally dozens of establishments within walking distance that have comparable selections and MUCH Friendlier service. Hell I'd even say Zeitgeist has friendlier service and they essentially pride themselves on being gruff...

Photo of Rilesmiles
4.44/5  rDev +0.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Small place, but cozy. Had heard great things about the tap list but was sort of underwhelmed. Was looking forward to trying west coasters that I can't get in Wisconsin but found that the list wasn't very west coast-centric, which is fine. I suppose my expectations set me up for it, but I didn't see much that I can't find at the good places in Madison and Milwaukee. I did enjoy a Salvation, among others, but didn't see the whales that others speak of seeing on the menu.

Service was very good. Excellent wait staff.

Food was good but nothing special. I would order something other than the relatively basic chicken sandwich I ordered.

Photo of JamLand
4.68/5  rDev +6.4%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.75

A cool, cafe feel to the place. A place to grab a great pint and some great food. The service was very friendly. Amazing selection while we there, including '10 and '11 Abyss. I can't verify much variety with the food because everyone I was with ordered the burger, which was excellent. Plenty of street parking in the area, if you rent a car while visiting SF.

Photo of erha2
4.65/5  rDev +5.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4

Super friendly staff. I guess it helps when you bring over some Heady and Sip of Sunshine from the East Coast. No, they were great before I even offered those beers. Tap list still had most of the sours available from their SF Beer Week sour event the day before. Only remember a vintage Lost Abbey Framboise de Amorosa being unavailable the day after. Got to try a lot of Rare Barrel offerings along with Cellarmaker/Sante Adairius I see a Dankness.

Photo of jimh67
4.3/5  rDev -2.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Way different vibe than Tornado. Sat outside-great people watching- never really saw the inside.
Had a Pliny and a nelson! Very good. Worth the trip. easy on/off back to east bay- near on ramp to I80

Photo of buzzedup
5/5  rDev +13.6%

Best place for good food and outstanding beer selction in the whole city...

Photo of pants678
3.5/5  rDev -20.5%

Seating's pretty tight, brews are generally local on draft but not necessarily. Prices vary in a wide range, little obnoxious. Good bottle list, fair number of high end Belgians present.

Photo of mike312
4.75/5  rDev +8%

Alpine Nelson on tap, great service, and cool vibe. I'd be back here often if I didn't live in NY.

Photo of HeyHayward
4.58/5  rDev +4.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25 | food: 5

I spent a good 6 hours last week at The Monk's Kettle with a few friends.

We were impressed with the selection of both bottled & draft beers and Pliny The Elder on tap didn't hurt.

The whole group ordered burgers, they were absolutely fantastic.

I was only in town for a few days, otherwise I'd have gone back to The Monk's Kettle again, great service, very good selection & fantastic food.

A bit pricey but definitely worth stopping by.

Photo of jgasparine
4.55/5  rDev +3.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.25

Atmosphere- This place is gorgeous; reminiscent of an old European tavern. Lots of wood, warm and aged. The bar is long and narrow, and the booths can accommodate 4 people comfortably. Thus, for a small group, this bar is perfect. I imagine, however, that the floorplan is not ideal for a large group of friends. On my visit, I was there with 3 others, and for us, it was perfect. We were surrounded by all things beer and it was wonderful.

Quality- Everything was clean; glassware, draught lines, etc. The place reeked of quality. Not in the sterile hospital way; but more like a business owner is passionate about what he/she does.

Service- Despite the place being packed, our service was exceptionally prompt and friendly. Food came out surprisingly quick, as did the beers. The servers didn't seem to have any issue running samples from the bar to our table either. This was hands-down some of the best service I have ever had in a beer bar.

Selection- While they don't have the largest selection (by count), their selection of beer was clearly well-thought-out. The beer menu was just packed with gems, and covered the gamut of styles. Despite the small selection, I still managed to feel like I was in beer heaven!

Food- The food was fantastic. Honestly, I can't even remember what we had, but we did enjoy several dishes, and I recall raving about it.... I guess this is telling as to how "good" of a night it was!

Value- This place is somewhat expensive. But as a tourist, it was certainly worth the money. Would definitely go back if in San Francisco again!

Photo of cmlindsay
4.93/5  rDev +12%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.25

My wife and I live in New York state, and have extensive experience with pubs and taverns in NYC and up and down the East Coast. I lived in California for eleven years some time ago, and we both looked forward to the chance to return again to the Left Coast, about which we both have many fond memories. In preparation for the trip I scanned Beer Advocates reviews of San Francisco's offerings in this respect and developed a list of very promising establishments to visit. This review concerns The Monk's Kettle, which topped my list of places to try. I can say with complete honesty that someone with knowledge and respect for beer need travel no farther in search of a full experience of what beer has to offer.

The atmosphere is perfect. Several reviewers led me to believe that the place was too small, but we found it perfect. It is dominated by a longish bar which seats perhaps thirty people and several tables for four and two along the walls, but it was just the right size for the lunchtime crowd that arrived during our visit. Two features dominate the room. One is a large glass window to the street which admits a lot of natural light into the bar, and the second is a gorgeous hand-carved wooden shelf unit that extends to the ceiling approximately 12 feet above the floor. The glass shelves hold a wonderful array of authentic glasses, mostly of Belgian brewers used by Monk's Kettle in the Belgian manner for particular beers of the supplying brewer.

The service, though we were total strangers, made us feel quite like regulars. Questions were readily answered with knowledge and good humor, comments and advice received with smiles, and sincere concern over our satisfaction with what was offered were all in evidence.

The selection was certainly the most complete we have ever seen. Though dominated by Belgian style beers, virtually all styles of beer were offered, both foreign and domestic craft beers. The draft beer menu consisted of two pages single spaced identifying the beer by name, brewer, and a certain helpful characteristics. The bottle list, usefully sorted by category into about a half dozen types covered about five more pages. Importantly, considerable effort is made to keep the menu current. Our printed copy was identified as having been updated two days ago, and even it contained several deletions done by hand in the ensuing hours since the last revision.

Lastly, the food was quite good. We limited ourselves to a pair of appetizers, a cheese plate with pickled winter vegetables with a pork terrine and some steamed mussels. Mussels were exceedingly fresh in a stock containing white wine, herbs and garlic served with fresh bread, and the cheese was a fresh goat cheese. The terrine was a bit dry and needed a bit more pork fat to give it the proper consistency. On the whole, however, Monk's Kettle is without a doubt without peer among the many taverns I have visited in America.

Photo of jerrytodd
4.48/5  rDev +1.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.75

I'll start out this review by asking this question: Why do craft beer pubs in SF all need to be divey and seedy, with obnoxious music (Toronado) and disgusting washrooms? C'mon!

Well, all I can say is The Monk's Kettle is a very welcome departure from that. Tasteful simplicity aesthetically, with a combination of wood, granite and pleasing tones. Very nice.

Food was off the hook excellent. Way above and beyond what you'd typically find.

Beer selection was very good with a nice tap selection and really thorough bottle selection.

Prices were a tad high but for this experience and quality but I"m not complaining by any means.

Make this a must visit.

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.78/5  rDev +8.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.75

This was the most memorable of the beer bars I visited in San Fran. A small place with a great atmosphere and great (and friendly) service.

The tap list here was excellent. About 20 taps with a great variety of breweries and styles. Tap list included a couple of Almanac beers (which are surprisingly hard to find on tap) as well as Aroma Coma and limited releases from Ballast Point among others.

The food here is AWESOME. Make sure you go here for dinner.

Photo of dirtylou
4.25/5  rDev -3.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4

Hit the Monk's Kettle twice on a recent trip to SF - very busy on a Saturday night (crowd-control) and then dead-silent at noon the next day for lunch. Nice array of taps including Supplication and Blind Pig, a few offerings from Golden Road and a variety of belgians.

The bottle list is pretty strong, but seems more shock-appeal oriented, featuring a variety of vintages and whales with hefty price tags.

All the food looked pretty good, and much utilized beer in its preparation. I went with the spent grain and chickpea burger, which was pretty good.

Cool place - dug the ambiance - in a city with border-line disgusting dive bars comprising the heavy hitters in the craft scene, it was nice to see a place with a little elegance. Very pricey though - too bad

Photo of jalepeno4
4.8/5  rDev +9.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.75 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.75

The Monks Kettle has an excellent selection of hard to find California, national and Belgian beers.
The food is tasty, subtle and well-paired with the beer offerings.
My server was helpful and knowledgeable without being pretentious .
The only knock on the place is that it is tiny and packed.
Get there early or you'll have a long wait.

Photo of nrb1
4.41/5  rDev +0.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.25

Always a good selection of beers, both on tap and bottles. Also, pretty much always a wait to get in. Both American craft brews and imports are well represented. Lots of Belgian beers. Food menu is limited but good quality. Staff is friendly and knowledgable.

Photo of RblWthACoz
4.38/5  rDev -0.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

I am sure everyone says this when they walk in: but that's all the seats? The Monk's Kettle is great. It's like La Trappe, but a hard SoMa vibe. Selection is nice. Lots of different stuff from around the globe and around the neighborhood as well. Food was awesome. I loved the unique selection and stepping out there to do different kinds of things. This should be a must visit for anyone into beer. But might I suggest that you visit for lunch as it's going to be packed and difficult to get sat late at night.

Photo of excalibur
4.8/5  rDev +9.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

An outstanding pub with a great selection of beers: Californian, national and Belgium. A comfortable place with booths and a nice bar. We visited in the early afternoon and it was quiet. We sat at the bar and had enlightening conservation with the very friendly staff. The sweet lady bartender even suggested a great pub in Occidental which we visited. We had an order of pommes frites which are large and very tasty. I highly recommend this pub and we will always make the effort to visit whenever we are in town.

Photo of CraftedBlackout
4.95/5  rDev +12.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

Stopped here my last night in town on a bartenders recommendation. Glad I did. The food was top notch as was the service. Can be a bit of a wait after 5:00 as its first come first serve but grab a seat at the bar and eat there.

For the traffic in this place it was shocking how receptive the staff was and how they kept everyone filled and informed. With the sours in house not sure why you would try anywhere else. Fantastic

Oh and they open some rediculous large formats to serve by the glass with food pairings how great is that.

Photo of doho95fu
4.55/5  rDev +3.4%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

Stopped in for a few beers and a snack. Small lively place with a few tables and bar seating for 10 or so. It was President's Day at 3PM and it was packed. Had a seat at the bar and had Racer X on draft. Nice beer served correctly by someone who knew beers. Service was very friendly but not over the top. They give out a bound book which lists their selection which is medium sized and well thought out. Food was good, especially the pretzel roll and the burger. The location is good if you are in the Mission or can use BART, the 19th Street stop. Would stop here again.

Photo of Sarlacc83
4.43/5  rDev +0.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 5

Stopped here after my flight landed on January 29th. I had avoided this destination because of its price reputation before, but I mustered up the funds this time around. *Cough* Business trip *Cough*

First impression: Tiny. Certainly not a knock on the restaurant, but if you're planning a visit, know this isn't a spread your wings place with lots of empty tables. It's packed, which I very much enjoy in my beer destinations.

Tap list quality was quite good. As expected, there was a good local selection (Reality Czech is a must have every visit to SF, IMO), as well as some Belgian kegs which is rare enough. Prices are 2 or so dollars more than other places for locals, St. Bernardus was a whopping 10.75 for 8 oz. That's more than a 750mL bottle, if you're keeping score. So the selection score gets dinged a bit. It's not really a selection if you can't justify buying the beer for that price, is it? I argue not.

My server was very good. Knowledgeable and patient. Talked me through the menu and paired my meal up with the aforementioned St. B (Business trip, remember?).

Which leads me to why you should visit this place. The food is fantastic. Truly delicious. I chose the Braised Beef Short Ribs over seasonal vegetables and potato puree. Meat falling of the bone, potatoes laced with a light (and awesome gravy)...yes, this is the food of Belgian kings. And the Abt/quad really brought out another level in the meal. 5.0 here and highly deserving.

So, get out your checkbook, forget to the check the prices, and enjoy. Recommended.

Photo of tewaris
4.25/5  rDev -3.4%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 3.5

I had a few hours to kill in San Francisco before heading off to other places, so I chose The Monk's Kettle. I had been warned (fairly so) about the relatively higher prices, but chose it anyway because of its proximity to the BART station.

The beer selection was truly great with multiple styles well represented, along with the right dose of rarity. I got to drink Beatification Batch 3 that the bartender was kind enough to hold for me as I waited for my friend (it was their last bottle!). I also had a couple pints of Reality Czech. There were other well known beers on the huge list but one can only drink so much.

The beers were served in the right glassware and the glassware shelf was impressive. Food tasted of high quality, not necessarily equal to tasty, but then there are limited vegetarian options so I didn't have much choice.

Monk's is a crowded place, as one would expect for a top notch beer bar. I am sure it is struggling to keep up with the demand as are the brewers, so expect to wait for a table/spot at the bar; and expect average service in terms of speed. However, I am sure that the staff was doing its best so I can't blame anyone but the demand!

I highly recommend this place, especially for someone out of town like myself.

Photo of adsomers
4.65/5  rDev +5.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Came here a bit early and just barely beat the dinner rush. Our hipster waitress seemed to have a chip on her shoulder at first but she turned out to be a sweetheart. Beer selection is top notch. We had a Marin seasonal and a De Dolle oerbier. Food was outstanding. We had mussels, frites, Brussels sprouts, winter lettuce salad, and their absolutely fantastic hamburger. The vibe and decor is perfect for what it is, though I do think this place is too small. I heartily recommend Monks Kettle but would advise going mid day to beat the crowds.

Photo of colonelforbin
4.38/5  rDev -0.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

Excellent, if pricey spot for a beer in the Mission. Located only two blocks from BART, Monk's Kettle is very conveniently located, and worth visiting if you are in this part of the city.

Draught list is great, 20 or so beers on tap at all times, and always changing. I stop here from time to time and the selection is constantly rotating. I really like that about this place. The bottle list is very extensive but is honestly way too expensive! Stick to draught beer here, there will be plenty of great offerings.

Pricing is interesting, some beers are served in 8 oz. servings, others in 12, 16 or 20 oz. servings, priced accordingly. Some are priced reasonably well compared to other local spots and some are a bit expensive. Want to emphasize the the great draught selection though, one of the better places in the city for this because it constantly rotates.

Atmosphere is nice, but it's always crowded here, no matter what time of day. They have a small bar, and a few small tables. Also, a few spots to sit/stand to the left of the bar. Many times it can simply be too crowded because this place really is not too big. The owners are opening a new restaurant/bar a few blocks away very soon, so that may alleviate some of the space issues at Monk's Kettle, but we'll see about that.

If you're into beer and you're hanging out in the Mission, stopping by Monk's Kettle is a no-brainer. Check it out.

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The Monk's Kettle in San Francisco, CA
97 out of 100 based on 108 ratings.