The Monk's Kettle
Taps: 24 / Bottles: 180
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: Y
Ratings: 83 | Reviews: 64 | Display Reviews Only:
4.93/5 rDev +11.3%
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.
10-01-2013 23:48:54 | More by cmlindsay
4.48/5 rDev +1.1%
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.
09-21-2013 04:19:04 | More by jerrytodd
4.78/5 rDev +7.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.75 | $$
This was the most memorable of the beer bars I visited in San Fran. A small place with a great atmosphere and great (and friendly) service.
The tap list here was excellent. About 20 taps with a great variety of breweries and styles. Tap list included a couple of Almanac beers (which are surprisingly hard to find on tap) as well as Aroma Coma and limited releases from Ballast Point among others.
The food here is AWESOME. Make sure you go here for dinner.
08-05-2013 17:47:21 | More by TheSevenDuffs
4.25/5 rDev -4.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4 | $$$$
Hit the Monk's Kettle twice on a recent trip to SF - very busy on a Saturday night (crowd-control) and then dead-silent at noon the next day for lunch. Nice array of taps including Supplication and Blind Pig, a few offerings from Golden Road and a variety of belgians.
The bottle list is pretty strong, but seems more shock-appeal oriented, featuring a variety of vintages and whales with hefty price tags.
All the food looked pretty good, and much utilized beer in its preparation. I went with the spent grain and chickpea burger, which was pretty good.
Cool place - dug the ambiance - in a city with border-line disgusting dive bars comprising the heavy hitters in the craft scene, it was nice to see a place with a little elegance. Very pricey though - too bad
07-09-2013 00:25:19 | More by dirtylou
4.8/5 rDev +8.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.75 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.75 | $$$
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.
05-28-2013 18:24:55 | More by jalepeno4
4.41/5 rDev -0.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.25 | $$$
Always a good selection of beers, both on tap and bottles. Also, pretty much always a wait to get in. Both American craft brews and imports are well represented. Lots of Belgian beers. Food menu is limited but good quality. Staff is friendly and knowledgable.
04-26-2013 23:25:14 | More by nrb1
4.38/5 rDev -1.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5 | $$$
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.
01-04-2013 17:58:26 | More by RblWthACoz
4.8/5 rDev +8.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5 | $$
An outstanding pub with a great selection of beers: Californian, national and Belgium. A comfortable place with booths and a nice bar. We visited in the early afternoon and it was quiet. We sat at the bar and had enlightening conservation with the very friendly staff. The sweet lady bartender even suggested a great pub in Occidental which we visited. We had an order of pommes frites which are large and very tasty. I highly recommend this pub and we will always make the effort to visit whenever we are in town.
11-07-2012 02:56:44 | More by excalibur
4.95/5 rDev +11.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5 | $$
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.
09-20-2012 03:01:35 | More by CraftedBlackout
The Monk's Kettle in San Francisco, CA
97 out of 100 based on 83 ratings.