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The Monk's Kettle

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

92 Ratings
Ratings: 92
Reviews: 66
rAvg: 4.42
pDev: 8.82%
Taps: 24
Bottles: 180
Cask: N
Beer-to-Go: Y
[ 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:
None, yet.

(Place added by: NikStique on 12-07-2007)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 92 | Reviews: 66 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of emerge077
4.5/5  rDev +1.8%

Rainy weekday afternoon called for refuge at Monk's Kettle. Wasn't crowded, only about half full.

A beer-zealous and enthusiastic bartender was tending the bar, he was very knowledgeable and offered us samples, all the while chatting with a few different folks at the bar. He suggested a "tiny Pliny" 10 oz. pour when I asked about smaller draft sizes. Several interesting draft options, Moonlight Sour Mash Wheat, Pliny the Elder, RR Temptation (unfortunately just delivered, and it hadn't settled yet). Drafts covered a range of prices, from an affordable $5 to an unheard of $15 (ouch).

Atmosphere was clean and modern, tons of assorted glassware behind the bar, with an eclectic row of curious vessels along the top shelf. Lambic pitchers, a copper Utopias bottle, and other curiosities. A row of wooden booths to the left of the bar reserved for dining patrons. There was a group of 6-8 that came in and made a big show over not getting a table for drinks, and left. More seats for the rest of us... It's a tiny place, not really designed for pub crawls of that size.

There was a very spendy "cellar reserve" list with some cellared stuff, nothing worth blowing a wad of cash over though. Food and bottle menu prices were also a bit higher than elsewhere in town, but there was quality to be had. Overall a great beer-focused place that deserves it's esteemed reputation.

emerge077, Oct 09, 2011
Photo of woodychandler
4.47/5  rDev +1.1%

What a find! A fantastic diamond in the rough of the Mission District. 16th just up from Valencia and right across from Amnesia. Boy, can I pick'em.

It was a small space, but well appointed. The dark wood bar was directly inside to the right. The back bar featured a pair of flanking Japanese/Chinese lions elaborately carved into the equally dark wood. The bar lamp fixtures were reminiscent of the pointed straw hats commonly worn in SE Asia. Come to think of it, the booths along the left wall were very evocative of Japan, with the slatted seats and dividers. The kitchen was also right, just aft of the bar and utilized a zigzag pattern that incorporated chalkboards to list available beers, plus requests and quotations. As I entered, our small world grew smaller as Nick from the Chalet greeted me as I headed to the lav. Much better success than what I encountered in MTYCO. Friendly unobtrusive, attentive. The open nature of the kitchen lent itself to the scents of cooking. I twice salivated over whatever was on the grill. Lovely being an unapologetic omnivore. I simply enjoyed letting my eyes slide around the taps and the BT display. These are great times in which we live, bro!

Beer: Twenty-four (24) taps, 14 of which were CA, 5 Belgian, which is simply a quantification. BTs - around 100 different. Impressive!

woodychandler, Nov 27, 2009
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.5/5  rDev +1.8%

The Monk's Kettle makes up part of a nice little pub crawl, sandwiched between Pi and Gestalt. It's casual and comfortable with nice decor, but nothing that makes you feel you need to dress it up more than shorts and a t-shirt. It's classy but still remains a kind of neighborhood spot. (One note here... although it's called "The Monk's Kettle", it's not a Belgian-style bar in either beer or food).

The bar staff is quite knowledgable and in-tune, which is nice, as opposed to so many places that think they're educating you when they suggest a "HOE-garden" because you've said you like Belgian beers. Being from the east coast I wasn't familiar with many of the locals on tap, and I was given some very accurate descriptions and very good suggestions.

The food is quite good, and has a distinctive "Cali" feel to it featuring such items as a "Sushimi grade Ahi" sandwich, a "Humboldt Grassfed" Beef Burger and a Cornish Game Hen from "Field To Family Farms"... $16.50, $12.00, and $21.00 respectively. It is a bit pricey!

At the bar they offer 24 taps and 200+ bottles. There are Belgians, but the draft list is mainly composed of west coast and English ales. The bottle list does completely round it out, however, and I'd say it's a rather balanced and mostly comprehensive listing.

Overall, seeing as how small San Fran is, and how few beer bars there are, I'd absolutely put this one right up there with Toronado as a must-see (brewpubs not included).

NeroFiddled, Sep 12, 2010
Photo of TurdFurgison
4/5  rDev -9.5%

I stopped here for the first time this week, while in town on business. It's smaller than I expected from the website, and also set up physically more as a bar with tables rather than a restaurant that happens to have a good beer selection. But in general the food was excellent, the kitchen is cranking out some good stuff.

We sat at the bar where there are about 15 seats, but there's also seating for another 20 or so people at tables (which run the length of the bar itself). Not unpleasant, kind of upscale feeling which was odd compared with the neighborhood. The beer selection was very good, about 25 taps (I didn't actually count though), including some good CA beers such as Russian River, Stone, Lost Abbey, Moonlight, and Firestone. Also some good Belgian names (St Bernardus, D'Achouffe, etc) and a choice few UK and German beers. The bottle list is good too but I didn't spend much time with it. One cask ale which was served from a tap in a barrel, no hand pump (just gravity).

The prices were high, higher than Toronados by about $3 per pour. So I probably won't be coming back here just for beer, but the food was excellent so it's not out of the question for dinner.

TurdFurgison, Oct 07, 2009
Photo of sholland119
4.25/5  rDev -3.8%

sholland119, Apr 10, 2014
Photo of dirtylou
4.25/5  rDev -3.8%

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

dirtylou, Jul 09, 2013
Photo of francisweizen
4/5  rDev -9.5%

This place is good. A nice small bar area and few tables with some nice pics on the bay area up on the wall. Quality of the beer s I tried was pretty good and I did not get a chance to try the food. Still, this place was pretty cool. About 16 drafts and quite a few bottles as well. Nothing I have not had before, but that is kinda bar for the course these days. They did have $21 1 oz samples of utopias which is kinda cool even though the markup is hardcore on the drafts and bottles. Seriously for 16th and mission the prices here are HIGH. The service was decent but kinda slow, but than again this place is brand new, so I will give them the benefit of the doubt, and give them some time.

francisweizen, Feb 09, 2008
Photo of RblWthACoz
4.38/5  rDev -0.9%

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.

RblWthACoz, Jan 04, 2013
Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.78/5  rDev +8.1%

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.

TheSevenDuffs, Aug 05, 2013
Photo of jaydoc
4.5/5  rDev +1.8%

jaydoc, Feb 19, 2014
Photo of ThreeWiseMen
4.85/5  rDev +9.7%

Had to kill a some time Friday night while waiting to meet up with friends. Since I was in the area, I strolled into the Monk's Kettle. What an excellent choice that was!

I've gone by this place many times, and it always seems to be packed. Last night was no different. The crowd was decidedly young and, oddly enough, not bogged down with hipsters - yay!

After seating myself in the corner, a server immediately brought me a beer and food menu. The bottle list ran very deep, and the tap selection was loaded with local rarities. All of the food items sounded good, and they came with beer pairing suggestions. I was very impressed. The prices were steep though, and I decided to order a cup of tomato bisque and a Moonlight Sour Mash Lager, partially because they each sounded good, but mainly because they were the cheapest items on the menu.

My server/waiter was right on top of things, and approached me as soon as I looked ready. Immediately after ordering, he asked if I would like to open a tab. I told him that I was only staying for a single round, so he dropped off the check right then and there. While some may view this as rude, I didn't have much time to waste and appreciated the gesture. He immediately fetched my beer, and five minutes later I had my bisque, too. Service was very responsive and speedy.

The food and beer were absolutely delicious (although the soup came out extremely hot, and I burned my tongue on the first sip). I'd love to come back and try more things on their menu (both beer and food). This is one of the most complete beer bars I've ever been too, and possibly my new favorite in San Francisco. I highly recommend this to anyone in the area!

ThreeWiseMen, Sep 12, 2010
Photo of jdense
3.94/5  rDev -10.9%

Visited 4.3.10 early pm during SFO beer tour.

Very small establishment, less than 10 tables and about 12 seats at bar with 6-8 seats on ledge next to open kitchen. 24 taps, very high quality, but prices are quite expensive, $7.75 for Pliny, and $11.25 for Lucifer after paying $8 at Le Trappe the night before. Extensive bottled list, once again very high quality and very very expensive, $12.75 for HOTD Fred and Adam, not much value in the beer offerings. Nice looking Belgian-style menu, once again high priced, but it looked quite tasty. I don't know if they are trying to be like Le Trappe, but the vibe isn't as cool. Really nice help, and I had a nice conversation with a well-traveled Scandinavian gentlemen. If looking for quality beer and above average food, albeit at a very high price, this is someplace to visit, though there isn't much value to this up and coming beer bistro.

jdense, Apr 04, 2010
Photo of LittleDon
4.63/5  rDev +4.8%

Came here on a Monday night a sat at the bar with colleagues from SF. The place was busy, but there didn't appear to be much of a wait, if any. The beertender's had apparently sampled most of the stuff on tap and offered helpful suggestions when asked. Several plates were split among the four of us. All were well prepared and tasty. I will definitely go back next time I'm in town. Decent selection, good food, knowledgeable and friendly staff. The place is small, though. There are, perhaps, 15 or 20 four tops and about a dozen bar seats. I'll make sure to get there early in the week and/or evening, as I believe this place gets packed.

Update - 1/18/11
While the beer and service remains top notch, the menu has changed considerably. I shared four dishes last night and was not impressed (trotters, beef cheeks, confit, and rabbit). All were mediocre at best, lacking the subtlety and finesse you'd expect from upscale dining. The trotters were the best albeit a bit on the heavy side. The beef was well cooked, but accompanied by sauce that combined cloyingly sweet corn with hot-hot horseradish. The rabbit and confit were bland and boring. The only thing upscale was the prices.

LittleDon, Jul 05, 2009
Photo of jgasparine
4.55/5  rDev +2.9%

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!

jgasparine, Nov 02, 2013
Photo of markgugs
4.25/5  rDev -3.8%

markgugs, Jul 09, 2014
Photo of halo3one
4.75/5  rDev +7.5%

halo3one, Jul 18, 2014
Photo of Rollzroyce21
4/5  rDev -9.5%

Rollzroyce21, Jun 11, 2014
Photo of willjschmidt
4.58/5  rDev +3.6%

The Monk's Kettle is a new "gastropub" in the Mission. It focuses on craft beer with a full food menu. It's a rather small place. A small bar and only half a dozen tables. They have 24 taps with a good mix of Belgian, German, British, and American craft beers. They also have a huge bottle selection with over 100 beers to choose from. The beers are all served in appropriate glasses with some of the Belgians being very expensive. For example, a 12oz glass of McChouffe was $10.75.

The menu consists of slightly upscale pub food. A good selection of appetizers, lots of salads, sandwiches, burgers, and a couple of entrees. I ordered the turkey burger which was on the dry side. My wife had the macaroni and cheese which was quite good.

I definitely recommend checking this place out. It's a welcome addition to San Francisco's craft beer scene.

willjschmidt, Dec 16, 2008
Photo of colonelforbin
4.38/5  rDev -0.9%

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.

colonelforbin, Nov 17, 2011
Photo of mjl21
4.14/5  rDev -6.3%

The Monk's Kettle is a nice beer bar/restaurant that is in the heart of the Mission district, which means you can find metered parking during the day and if you're lucky a spot at night. If you can, use public transportation. All of my visits have come during the day time for a quick pint and I have not dealt with the crowds that are common at night.

The space is fairly small. When you walk in the bar is to your right and there are booths lining the other wall. They have a really large beer menu. I counted twenty plus taps and they have a really extensive bottle list. Most draught offerings are real pints and if not, the serving size is posted on the menu. They have a really nice selection of glassware above the bar.

For their draught offerings they do a good job of integrating locals like RR, Marin, Moonlight, and Iron Springs, along with stuff from American breweries like Firestone Walker, Stone, Oskar Blues, and DFH. They also carry a lot of Euro brands. The tap prices are about normal for SF, but a lot more than the Toronado. Expect to pay a tad under $8 for a pint of Pliny the Elder. Not surprisingly the Belgian drafts cost more.

The bottled beers are usually quite expensive. It seems like most are more than double or triple what you would pay at a retail store. $37.50 for an Alesmith Old Numbskull and $65.00 for a 2009 Lost Abbey Angel's Share (the infamous flat one) is price gouging.

I can't speak for the food as I have never eaten here. I have heard they make great mac n cheese and burgers.

The service at the bar has always been polite. They are quick to pour you a drink and seemed to be helpful to customers who had questions.

This is a nice addition to the SF beer scene. I recommend sticking more with their draught beer as the prices are much more reasonable. They also get major points for doing a good job of updating their website with what is on tap. I definitely plan to return to try some food.

mjl21, Feb 02, 2010
Photo of ubiq3000
4.5/5  rDev +1.8%

ubiq3000, Aug 20, 2014
Photo of oggg
4.58/5  rDev +3.6%

My wife and I visited on 12/26/07 for dinner.

Max capacity 49. Maybe 8 tables, the booths having hard wooden benches that killed my back and bum by the end of the night (I have issues -- I'm going to sit on a stool next time). The lighting is somewhat dim and intimate, with a candle at each table. The bar itself is a beautiful wooden one, behind which is a humongous display of beer and wine glasses and goblets. On either side of this shelf are these two tall wooden... shelf ends(?) that look like they were lifted from a Transylvanian ski lodge -- well, you'll have to see them for yourself. The place is beautiful. Oh yeah, one regular TV that was showing Derby vs Liverpool.

Our server, Nick, was great, although it looked like he was the only one covering all the tables. A nice touch was having a carafe of water at each table. No complaints here.

There are something like 24 taps and a whole mess of bottles. Prices are about right for most beers ($4-$4.75), although imported stuff seemed to skyrocket quickly. I expect the taps will rotate, as that will keep beer geeks coming in over and over (also, I can't stand Downtown Brown). Proper glassware in effect. My wife's Fullers London Porter was $6+ but automatically came in an imperial pint glass.

The menu looks pretty well thought out. It's quite varied and seems to have something for everyone. We got the charcuterie plate (perhaps a bit overpriced at $12) and the pulled pork sandwich (disappointing). We saw other people getting the potpie and it looked pretty good, so we are going to come back and try the burger and the potpie before we give up on the food.

Overall: At worst, it's a great beer bar with ok food, stuck in the gritty Mission. That's actually pretty damn good. We're definitely going back.
---
re-review
For selfish reasons, I wish this place were bigger and less busy. There's literally like 4 booths if you're thinking of bringing more than one person with you. Sure, groups can go to the bar, but fat chance that you'll get to sit at the bar with ~6 seats total. In the back there is a ledge that you can sit at, away from the bar and with barely any place to eat. Do not come here with more than one friend, and if you do, don't expect to hang out and drink, because they need those booths for dinner service. Again, this is all being a little selfish, and it's not really their fault, as I'm always looking for a beer hangout like O'Briens, whereas this really is a restaurant with space for singles and couples to have a beer. I do have to upgrade the value meter for the food -- 4 spears of asparagus, 4 slices of proscuitto, shredded cheese, and a wallet sized grilled salmon = $20. At $17.50, the lobster pot pie was chock full of huge lobster chunks, but still just a pot pie. The fries are probably the cheapest thing on the menu ($5); it's decently sized and comes with some good dipping sauces. The beer is excellent, with the option of half pints for some. Pliny the Elder is great, but I think that was their only IPA or DIPA on tap, unless you count Deschutes Cinder Cone. Btw, major kudos for having an updated tap list online. Again, prices can skyrocket for the Belgians.

Overall: Honestly, I might come back with one person for a beer and fries, but not if I have 3+ in my group, and not for dinner.

oggg, Dec 28, 2007
Photo of nickd717
3.9/5  rDev -11.8%

Let me start by saying that if money is no object, this is an excellent place. The beer selection is great and the food is amazing. You can find great limited beers like The Bruery Papier and Russian River Supplication way after they're gone from all local stores. Unfortunately for most of us who aren't Bill Gates, the Google founders, a big-time professional athlete, or an evil, greedy investment banking executive, money is a thing. Well, that is, until we go to Monk's Kettle. After that, the thing in our wallets that was originally a bunch of money will have completely disappeared.

This place is really, really, ridiculously expensive and marks up beer like most nice restaurants do with wine. I just think that 2.5x or higher wine mark-ups are insane and people are crazy to pay them, and I enjoy the fact that great beer can still be had with a great meal for a reasonable price. Not at Monk's Kettle. You're going to be paying (and I read directly from their beer list) $35 for an AleSmith Speedway Stout (usually $12), $11.25 for a Duvel (usually $3.50), and $28 for a Lost Abbey Judgment Day (usually $10).

However, if you can take the wallet hit and want to impress someone with great food paired with world class beer, this is the place. I had some really excellent food there. There simply aren't many things better than great beer and great food. Last time I went, I had a charcuterie plate, a creamy bowl of tomato soup, and a pulled pork sandwich, along with a La Trappe Isid'Or, a Ballast Point Sculpin IPA, and an '05 North Coast Old Stock Ale (reasonably priced surprisingly!). All were incredible.

Monk's Kettle can really wow you, but you're going to have to hand over the majority of your paycheck for the pleasure. Oh yeah, and it gets crowded and they don't typically take reservations. Go before 6:30 for a weekend dinner unless you want to wait hours for a table. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm heading to Monk's Kettle to shell out $85 for a beer dinner. D'oh! *Final note: I should also add Jermaine Dupri and Jay-Z to the list of people who don't think money is a thing, since they had a song specifically called, "Money Ain't a Thing."

nickd717, Dec 11, 2009
Photo of davegray
4.25/5  rDev -3.8%

davegray, Nov 14, 2013
Photo of thewimperoo
4.5/5  rDev +1.8%

thewimperoo, Apr 30, 2014
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The Monk's Kettle in San Francisco, CA
97 out of 100 based on 92 ratings.