1. One Hundred Mags (Rule). Check out the sneak peek of BeerAdvocate magazine #100, plus some of the changes coming your way.

Thirsty Monk - Downtown

Not Rated.
Thirsty Monk - DowntownThirsty Monk - Downtown
BA SCORE
95
world-class

146 Ratings
Ratings: 146
Reviews: 77
rAvg: 4.3
pDev: n/a
Taps: 35
Bottles: 196
Cask: N
[ Bar, Eatery ]

92 Patton Ave
Asheville, North Carolina, 28801-3315
United States
phone: (828) 254-5470

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap @monkpub

Notes:
Place added by: thirstymonk on 05-03-2008

No notes at this time.
Place: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters
to view more.
Ratings: 146 | Reviews: 77
Reviews by ToasterChef:
Photo of ToasterChef
3.78/5  rDev -12.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

After reading the reviews here, and finding myself in Asheville for a night, I wanted to check this place out. I enjoyed the place well enough, I don't think it would make it my regular pub though. I think it may be a bit too laid back for me. We walked in to the upstairs bar and spent all of our time there. The service was good, just at a slower pace than I was used to. The crowd was full of young, hip people; my wife and I got a table to ourselves, played cribbage and stole a nearby wireless connection.

There were lots of good beers, just not much local to NC. Everything offered was of top quality though. I really liked the promo the run every Wednesday; one beer on draft comes witha free pint glass. After I finished my Coney Island Lager, the bartender brought me over a clean glass, which was very nice of him. I was prepared to stuff my dirty glass with napkins so I didn't get beer all over the inside of my bag.

Taking the recommendations of other reviews, we left before dinner, although we got a plate of pretzel bites. It was ok, but the mustards were too spicy for me and I expected more bites for the price I paid.

I would return here again, most likely in the afternoon. I don't think I would enjoy it as much if it were really crowded in here.

More User Reviews:
Photo of jjboesen
4.75/5  rDev +10.5%

The Thirsty Monk is a well-loved downtown craft beer bar and was the first stop on my recent Asheville Beercation. You cannot miss it: located on the busy corner of Patton Avenue and Coxe Avenue (the latter will take you a few short blocks to the South Slope District and several breweries), the Monk does business in a quaint lavender brick building complete with a large painting of himself on the outside. Upon entry is the first floor bar area, a single room furnished with several hightops and tables comfortably surrounded by the inevitable array of beer paraphernalia. At the far end of the moderate-sized bar is the open kitchen, where eclectic and cheap grub can be had and enjoyed. There is also a water station from which thirsty patrons may hydrate themselves. (I noticed plenty of these throughout San Diego – a good idea, too!) Downstairs is the more intimate Belgian bar – and the restrooms. And if you seek whiskey or a cocktail, there is another floor upstairs (through the elevator door) called “Top of the Monk.”

As of late, they now brew their own beer a few miles south near the Biltmore Estate and offer about 36 taps (20 upstairs, 16 downstairs) and a worthy choice of bottled brews. During my visit (upstairs and downstairs) I enjoyed: Thirsty Monk Autumnal Ale, Sierra Nevada Celebration, Highland Thunderstruck, Stillwater Brontide, Ommengang Valor and a rarity to the East Coast, something wonderful from Colorado’s Crooked Stave. The Monk has a pretty reasonable pricing system for a full pour or a half pour dependent on the beer (of course!) – I mean, c’mon, $6.00 for a pint of Founder’s Breakfast Stout!

In any case, the Thirsty Monk is a MUST when in Asheville.

Photo of MOVERTON1284
3.75/5  rDev -12.8%

Nothing really special here. The upstairs is all American taps, but nothing special on draft. The downstairs was all Belgian taps and much cooler, but I did not stay very long and was not overly impressed. Bartenders seemed knowledgeable, but there was much better options in town.

Photo of chinchill
4.2/5  rDev -2.3%

Review based on several visits, but mostly based on a Sept, 2014 visit to the downstairs Belgian bar. This is quieter and more sedate than upstairs. The service people are very knowledgeable: good thing given the number of strange and rare beers that come to their taps. They have up-to-date printed lists for the beers on tap. Acceptable but not low pricing in a city with fairly low priced beer.

Photo of humuloner22
4.25/5  rDev -1.2%

Great environment to drink a beer. I love the lower level dungeon. It makes me feel like I am drinking a beer in some Trappist monastery hidden away in some small village in Belgium. But, in fact you are at the confluence of the Asheville beer cosmos. In any direction you can walk or stagger to innumerably great places to drink or eat once you leave this place. Regardless if you love this place it is a good place to begin your bar crawl through downtown Asheville.

Photo of JLSIV
4.04/5  rDev -6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4 | food: 3.75

This is the pub that opened my eyes to what a decent downtown Asheville has. Earlier reviews give it higher marks for the basement taps, but I think they do a good job upstairs as well.

It is one of the many good beer pubs Asheville has, I always visit TM when wife is wandering the craft stores or festivals.

I also like the fact that younger bar staff treated a middle aged guy pretty well, friendly service.

The also do some food, good, but go mostly for the beer.

Photo of gatornation
3.93/5  rDev -8.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4

An open bar upstairs with lots of seating a good selection of American taps both local and regional we chose to sit downstairs where they serve Belgian sours and barrel aged brews had a nice cellar feel downstairs with a coffee house feel cool and dark with a smaller bar than upstairs and a different vibe a nice selection of sours with all the samples you would like to try , TM is a good stop especially downstairs bot nothing over the top upstairs but recommended

Photo of eerickson7
3.33/5  rDev -22.6%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3.5 | service: 2.75 | selection: 3.5

This seems like the kind of place that used to be great before Asheville was a great beer town. The upstairs bar was 85% American beers that are widely available nationally (or nearly nationally).

Sour fest was going on downstairs when I visited, and that selection was somewhat lacking for a bar that's supposedly world class. It was not busy, yet the bar service was slow. If you live in a decent beer town, skip this place.

Photo of Mantooth
4/5  rDev -7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Awesome bar - upstairs has a good selection of drafts and the basement is where the magic happens - dark and cozy European vibe with a nice selection of Belgian brews. These guys scored a keg of Cantillon Fou' Foune for their Belgian sour week. I was in town for the week for work and I probably had six or seven glasses of the stuff. Wonderful bar that I never fail to miss when I'm in town.

I've never had any food there - but I know they serve a pint of bacon as an app. It's a pint glass full of strips of crispy bacon. Pretty cool.

Photo of Jodi215
3.84/5  rDev -10.7%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4 | food: 4

We ate lunch here and really enjoyed the atmosphere of this downtown beer bar. It has an upstairs and downstairs bar and each serves different types of beers. We sat upstairs and ordered lunch to go with our beer choices. The food is mostly small bites. I had a hot dog that was about half the size of a normal one but was very tasty. The guys had tacos and they seemed a little more substantial and flavorful. Beer selection was a solid 4. Value was very reasonable.

Photo of meigs3
3.61/5  rDev -16%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3.75 | service: 4 | selection: 3

Caught them on Monday after the Memorial Day Weekend. They had run out of a number of Belgium drafts which was disappointing. The bartender in the basement (Belgium beer location) was nice and very knowledgeable. If I had been there on Friday night before, the beer selection would have gotten a higher rating.

Photo of StrongRepublican
4.2/5  rDev -2.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

Visited during Asheville Craft Beer Week on Sunday afternoon. With everything going on, I expected it to be packed, but finding a seat at the bar(s) proved a simple task. I started downstairs at the Belgian bar, had a few 5oz pours and then moved up to the American craft beer bar and had a few more. The selection on both levels is great, and I think it's neat what they are doing, keeping the Belgian and American beers separate, but I can see how it could frustrate some patrons who want a flight of all styles and have to go back and forth. I didn't try any food, but whatever they were cooking smelled fantastic. Service was great, very attentive even when it began filling up and seating became limited. Overall I enjoyed the pace and I was able to try several new beers, but I found their priced for 5oz pours a bit steep.

Photo of jophish17
3.45/5  rDev -19.8%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3 | selection: 3.75

Visited November 2013

We went to the thirsty monk around lunchtime on a Friday afternoon. We went downstairs first, which was dead. I liked the vibe downstairs, though it's not to be confused with some of the premier Belgian bars in the country. We ordered a beer and enjoyed it with some pretzels - the pretzels were ok, but the mustard could double as paint thinner it was so abrasive. Downstairs beer selection was pretty good, varied in style. I didn't really like that we couldn't order beers from upstairs, so we schlepped back upstairs.

The upstairs bar was disappointing to me. The tap list wasn't very interesting, and few locals were represented. The bar was generic too. Really glad I knew about downstairs, because we might have left had we gone upstairs first. Service in both bars was ok, nothing good or bad. I think I'd rate the two bars at least a point different if they were listed separately.

Thirsty monk is ok - I think it also suffers from being a bit older in a town full of great bars. I'd go back, but with lower expectations

Photo of SportsandJorts
4.09/5  rDev -4.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4

Atmosphere: upstairs is a classic multi-tap bar with a nice vibe and decorations. Head downstairs and your in the basement of a monastery drinking beer. Very cool place

Quality: they represent all beer pretty well and showcase some of the best North Carolina has to offer along with a good look into the Belgian style

Service: no problems they were friendly, but didn't look for much help with beers

Selection: they don't have the most taps but they do the most they could. Upstairs seems to have tap events that showcase the big guns. Along with a highly varied selection. Down stairs I like that they get a lot of Belgians on tap. I don't like to buy bottles at a bar which can be tough with belgian beers.

Overall: definitely a destination for a beer drinker. There's a lot going on here and you could spend many nights just to get through it.

Photo of dirtylou
4.5/5  rDev +4.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Surprisingly have not reviewed this joint, after many memorable (sans memory) nights spent in the basement here.

As many have indicated before, two levels, with the basement slanting towards Belgium and almost always more appealing from an atmosphere and selection standpoint.

Great bottle selection and selection of belgian and import taps are definitely wisely selected. There is no question this is the best 'beer bar' in Asheville. Unfortunately, it's not always the most Asheville-centric but you can get that at Barleys, if you can bear that place.

The vibe is great too - basement is sprawling with lots of room to sit, stand and fade into darkness

Photo of claspada
3.83/5  rDev -10.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

Narrowish 2 floor bar. Nice craft beer bar atmopshere. Upstairs domestic, downstairs imported beers, plenty of draft and even more bottles in both locations.

While the selections is quite impressive, during my visit I had a hard time picking something I wanted because everything there I could get locally in a store. The local selection was also no where as nice as Barley's Taproom & Pizzeria.

Service was also typical for a busy bar, know what you want or move out of the way.

The food was a little to barish for my liking. So, I passed but my mother had something which she seemed to enjoy.

Overall while a nice place and a place I would gladly go to locally if I was a resident, I didn't need to stop here and could have easily skipped it.

Photo of dbell23
4.61/5  rDev +7.2%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.75

I visit the "monk" on most of my visits to Asheville. By far, the best beer bar I've visited. Today they opened the roof top bar so now they have three levels. My favorite level is downstairs because of the mostly Belgian drafts. Upstairs has a great selection of craft brews but downstairs is classic Belgians like Duvel, Chimay, etc. Downstairs is dark and more quiet and upstairs more open with a good beer bar feel.

Incredible selection in both areas. Prices are good. Food is bar food. I'm not sure why food is a criteria for a bar anyway but the food is not the reason you visit the monk. With all if the great restaurants within walking distance I'm not sure why you'd eat there. For me it's cocktail hour at the monk and then walk down the street for the meal.

Service is good but when they're busy it can take awhile to get your order but not bad at all. Downstairs the Belgians are served in the appropriate glassware and I really like that. An expensive Belgian served in a pint glass doesn't get it for me.

Overall, if you like beers and I know you do, a visit to the Thirsty Monk is a must when you visit the beer capital of the southeast, Asheville.

Photo of kristougher
4.66/5  rDev +8.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

Went to Asheville to visit my brother and used it as an excuse to visit downtown Asheville and enjoy the beer scene.

Buddy of mine told me this was a must when drinking in downtown Asheville. I happened to be there during Sour Week. very awesome selection of sours maybe 13-15 different. Went upstairs and a glass of Foothills Jade Ipa.

Very impressed with the selection of beers, it was kinda slow i think it was a monday or a tuesday night. Got some beer to go that was a bit pricey but nothing to whine about.

Overall very great place to visit in Asheville, i was very sastified.

Photo of zee3are0
4.3/5  rDev 0%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3

A - I love the downstairs bar, and the bartenders are always very friendly. This is my "destination" whenever I'm in Asheville.

Q - Very knowledgeable - and helpful - staff.

S - Again, never been disappointed.

S - Great selection. One of the best Belgian beer selections in the Eastern United States (I can only think of a place in New York (Markt) and a place in San Francisco (La Trappe Cafe) that I personally have been to that have a more diverse selection of Belgians.

F - I've never eaten the food upstairs, and I hear it's good. The food downstairs is bar food fare, and nothing spectacular, but not bad at all.

V - Everything in Asheville is hipster-expensive. This place is just market prices.

Photo of mwar
3/5  rDev -30.2%
vibe: 2 | quality: 4.25 | service: 1.75 | selection: 3.75 | food: 1.5

Visited on a Wednesday night. It was a Dogfish head "take over" tap night. Ordered their version of brown ale. It was very drinkable for a 12% ABV. Next I inquired about their brown ale bottle selection. I was told they had none. So I took the bartenders recommendation...a French Road Brewery Wee Heavy-er Scotch Style Ale. It was good, I had a couple more.

Had heard great things about this place. I was disappointed. Although it was not overly hot outside, either they have no AC or it was on the fritz. The place seemed dirty. I did not visit the bar downstairs.

Quite crowded for a Wen. I was there around 7:00. Many were intoxicated.

Ordered the "not quite Philly Cheese Steak". No idea what the meat/cheese selection was but I could not finish the sandwich and I eat anything! The potato salad was very good.

I was in town on business and when I asked the bartender to split my check between beer and food, she looked at me like a had two heads. Evidently this was an unreasonable request!

Won't be back!

Photo of TheBeerAlmanac
4.46/5  rDev +3.7%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.75

This joint has the best beer selection I've seen in Asheville and lots of Belgians you otherwise won't get to try. There are two bars, upstairs and downstairs, and the beer menu reads like a Grisham novel. I only stayed for one beer, but I'll definitely spend more time here the next time I visit.

The only down side is that the whole place was hot, not sure if they lack AC or if it was just underpowered, but I was sweating my balls off. And they're a little pricey. It's a full service beer bar as opposed to a bottle shop so I understand, but be prepared to pay for your experience.

Photo of WOLFGANG
4.31/5  rDev +0.2%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.25 | food: 3.5

My favorite beer bar in Asheville. Seasoned beertending, impressive draft selection along with decent bar food, all lead to an excellent opportunity for a great time. They are usually able to provide some rare draft offerings. A must when in Asheville.

Photo of Beerstorian
4.27/5  rDev -0.7%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 3 | selection: 4.75

We had a great time at the Thirsty Monk while in Asheville. We got these a bit late on a Friday night, and waited a few minutes to be able to sit downstairs. No big deal, though. We made our way there and sampled a pretty good range of beers.

The Belgian beer menu was excellent, from our point of view. We saw some old standards that we've had in many places, and also saw a few we knew of but hadn't tried, and then a few we'd never heard of. We had a range of the New Belgium Lips of Faith offerings, as well as a few other beers.

Our only complaint was with the staff. It wasn't overly crowded but we found every staff member we encountered to be curt and mostly unfriendly. This was odd, because I usually get along pretty well with bar staff. But whatever, maybe it was a hard night. It won't stop us from coming back next time we're around.

Photo of metter98
4.25/5  rDev -1.2%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.75 | food: 3.75

Vibe: The Thirsty Monk is really two separate but connected bars. The upstairs bar serves American-style craft beers while the downstairs bar serves Belgian-style craft beers. Each level has a different feel - the upstairs more resembles a typical bar (except that the kitchen is out in the open in the back) while the downstairs feels more like you are in a cellar with subdued lighting. If it's hot outside, the downstairs bar is also about ten degrees cooler. There's no waiters or waitresses so you everyone orders at the bar. Note that there are no TVs in the bar so don't come here if you are looking for something other than beer (or food).

Quality: Beers were served at the proper temperature in the right types of glassware.

Service: Although there are no wait staff other than the bartenders, I found service to always be rather quick. If you ordered food, they gave you a number to put on your table and then one of the cooks came over to deliver it to you.

Selection: Both levels had a great selection of beers on tap with about 17 on the upper level and 15 on the lower level. I saw some people having flights on the upper level but both levels offer half or full pours so it is easy to sample a variety of different beers while you are here without turning into a "Drunk Monk"

Food: The food selections weren't anything fancy, but seemed like good pub fare. I tried the pulled pork tacos and beef brisket tacos.

Value: Overall, I thought this was an excellent bar and is the "go-to" place for beers in Asheville.

Photo of MarcatGSB
4.23/5  rDev -1.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

Much, much hype over Thirsty Monk. Coming from the Great Lakes region, and having the opportunity to frequent places like HopCat, Local Option, the Hop Leaf, etc, I was expecting alot. Thirsty Monk gets better rankings than most of those places, but falls very, very short of any of the above options.
Like stated, the bar is broken down into really two separate bars...The upstairs bar has all American Craft beer, with I'd say half NC local's and half quality craft from various places in the US. The two nights I spent at the bar, I noticed they sold alot of Bells. They had Double Cream Stout, and Christmas Ale on, and both were selling very well, just an observation. They have about 20 bottles for the upstairs bar.
The downstairs bar focuses on Belgian and Belgian Style ales, and a huge bottle selection. The layout is not normal, but it actually works well. If you want a bottle from the bottle list downstairs, you walk down there, and order it from the downstairs bartender. Why not make the customer do the work? It keeps your staff behind the bar where they can service the customer, and saves on time, which ultimately lowers over head, and keeps beer prices low.
The food was rather lack luster again. Nothing special, maybe slightly above average pub food.
It's a great stop, no doubt about it. It does not however, match the level of Beer Geekdom like the great stops in the Midwest...

to view more.
Thirsty Monk - Downtown in Asheville, NC
95 out of 100 based on 146 ratings.