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La Trappe Cafe

Not Rated.
La Trappe CafeLa Trappe Cafe
BA SCORE
97
world-class

63 Ratings
Ratings: 63
Reviews: 50
rAvg: 4.45
pDev: 12.58%
Taps: 15
Bottles: 250
Cask: N
Beer-to-Go: N
[ Bar, Eatery ]

800 Greenwich St
San Francisco, California, 94133-2615
United States
phone: (415) 440-8727

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: dougnboston on 06-04-2008)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 63 | Reviews: 50 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of RblWthACoz
4.64/5  rDev +4.3%

I'm sure I've mentioned numerous times how rare it is for me to walk into a place and find something available that really blows me away. Bødegal on tap? Ha! Say what?! Bring it on. (Even at $14 a pour.) Beyond this singular rarity on draft, the list here is utterly insane. It's a whole book broken down to a really precise degree on differentiation. Man that's a long word (differentiation). It really preaches to the scope and depth of all the beer that is out there. And also to the commitment of this establishment in its entirety. And on note regarding the establishment: world class. Beautifully setup with a small upstairs dining area, with kitchen. Keep an eye out for the stairs that lead to the downstairs bar and seating area. Overall, the vibe seems quite pure to me. Genuine, earthly rustic (in an urban kind of way) and real. I hear this place gets insanely busy, and it isn't hard to see why. The prices are "high," but who cares. You get what you pay for here. And it's definitely worth it. A must for any beer lover or human being with a personality.

RblWthACoz, Apr 16, 2012
Photo of jamesb7
1.5/5  rDev -66.3%

On vacation in San Francisco and me and my girlfriend went out of our way to go to this place. Decent tap list and huge bottle list which was way overpriced even for imports. We each ordered a beer from the tap list. When the head subsided on my girlfriends beer 2 dead fruit flies were found in it, no flies were seen anywhere around the table or anywhere in the bar for that matter just under a good 3 inches of head. When this was mentioned to the waiter all we were offered was another beer from the same dirty tap line. Overall this was the worst experience either of us has had at any bar or restaurant in any part of the country.

jamesb7, Feb 04, 2012
Photo of Beerenauslese
3.08/5  rDev -30.8%

Came here for the first time with high expectations. The draft list was fairly interesting with about a dozen mostly Belgian or Belgian style beers available--enjoyed a Bear Republic Tartare and a Dieu du Ciel Solstice D'hiver ($12 for a 10 oz tulip glass). The waiter knew his beers and the beers ordered were served cold and in appropriate glasses. A few of the taps were out and there were no replacements offered. It was a Thursday night at 9:30. I ordered an appetizer of moules made with a Belgian dark ale, which were tasty but they were served half cold-- they had been sitting in the open on a drafty shelf while waiting for someone to bring them to the table. The waiter didn't appear again after the food was served and I had no beer to drink with them, so I had to get up and ask the kitchen staff to summon our waiter to the table. We were the only table in the upstairs dining area and the waiter was spending most of his time downstairs in the bar area. We probably would have been better served downstairs.

I was thinking of going for my birthday dinner today, but with that experience and noting that last night the whole place was closed "due to a situation that is out of our control. We need a day to make things right. Thank you for understanding" I punted on that idea. Makes me wonder what really is going on there.

An appetizer and two beers put me back $40, and with slack wait service, I don't think I'll be going back there for an entire dinner until they straighten themselves out.

Beerenauslese, Jan 25, 2012
Photo of BenHesk12
3.88/5  rDev -12.8%

La Trappe has a modest length list of Belgian beers on tap, a long list of bottles (quite pricey though), and your basic list of Cali cuisine appetizers and entrees which are above average for the style. The downstairs area is small and crowded, but provides the best atmosphere. The food ranges from about 10-25 bucks for dinner and you probably won't be able to find a beer under $7. Nonetheless, come here with some time, and money, and you won't be disappointed. Overall, La Trappe is a fun place to grab some tasty belgians and good food.

BenHesk12, Jan 09, 2012
Photo of CliffBrake
4.55/5  rDev +2.2%

Visited during AGU on the night of the Squid Ink debut.

Great vibe and decor. Not sure what the upstairs is about (overflow), but the downstairs is very cozy and has a great Belgian beer-bar atmosphere. We had a large party so got to sample a large variety of food and brews - all were great. Really enjoyed the seafood and the sauces that come with the fries. Great selection of drafts, leaning heavily on Belgian imports. Would like to see more quality domestic draft choices, but that is my bias.

Service was friendly and knowledgeable; a bit slow, but it was super busy. Great if you can wind down and hang out - plan ahead so your glass isn't empty long.

CliffBrake, Jan 08, 2012
Photo of beerwolf77
4.58/5  rDev +2.9%

This was a must stop on our trip to San Fran. We were a bit apprehensive since it was a Saturday night but our fears were squashed instantly upon walking through the door. The place was near empty. Now I had heard the downstairs level was "the" place to be. So of course we made a bee line for the stairs. Surprise! That's where everybody was. Packed wall to wall. Back upstairs we grabbed a table and ordered food and drinks. The beer menu was like a dream come true. Sours sours and more sours. I ordered an amazing beef stew for my meal. Then there was the service. Our server was fantastic. He was covering tables downstairs and everything upstairs as well and still made sure we were never without a beer. After finishing dinner and several bottles we made our way downstairs to soak in that atmosphere. Very glad we did. The vibe down there was great. What an awesome place to eat and drink.

beerwolf77, Jan 04, 2012
Photo of nataku00
4.03/5  rDev -9.4%

I've been to La Trappe a few times in the past for a drink as I enjoy the atmosphere. Downstairs in the brick and wood lined basement bar area is the best experience, dimly lit and intimate. Main drawback is that is where everyone else wants to be as well so it is almost always full and crowded so try to grab a seat early. The other drawback is that the service downstairs is also not the best there are times where no one stops by to offer to take your order.

Beer selection is excellent, with 19 taps with mainly Belgian offerings you won't see in some other bars, and some choice beers from US and Germany. There is also the leather bound beer menu/book with the extensive bottle list, but the pricing is very unreasonable for opening bottles there so stick to the tap list.

Finally had dinner at La Trappe with some friends recently as well. The fries are excellent, soft and creamy on the inside with a very crisp exterior, and come with a choice of two dipping sauces from a list of 10 options (the wasabi mayo and the roasted garlic were my favorite). The moules frites were very good, perfectly cooked mussels in a flavorful broth. The beef stew was deeply flavored but the meat was slightly over cooked.

Price for the food was decent, but the beer prices can be a little pricey, but worth it for a nice drinking and dining experience in case you want to experience a bar similar to ones you might find in Belgium.

nataku00, Oct 30, 2011
Photo of Gavage
4.8/5  rDev +7.9%

When I first walked in I noticed a large open kitchen with some servers standing around and a few tables with no one eating. Then I spotted the staircase and heard a bit of crowd in the basement. So I headed down and saw a cool little area, plenty of brick loads of tables, and a very tiny bar. Very laid back and comfortable.

I took the last bar stool and was handed a large book from the bartender. This beer list covers a large quantity of belgian beers that you can't find in other areas of San Francisco (based on my 8 days here). There were over 10 beers on draft, mostly belgians like Val Dieu, Affligem, and LaChouffe, but some others from Victory, Ommegang, and Sierra Nevada's Life and Limb 2. There is no liquor served here which was a problem for my friend that didn't drink beer. The beers I had were super fresh but expensive which I didn't mind for the one time visit.

I did not have an opportunity to eat any food, but what I saw coming out looked very good. The service was prompt and extremely knowledgable which made the experience better. I could see this place getting very crowded on the weekends, but mid-week it was not too crowded.

Luckily a cable car stop is right outside the building, allowing me to jump on to get back to my hotel on the other side of the city.

Gavage, Oct 21, 2011
Photo of Brent
4.63/5  rDev +4%

Managed to work in a visit during a business-let's-stay-an-extra-day trip, and came here on recommendation from local BAs. The upstairs dining area is tight and was full, and we wound up downstairs, which is the place to be, anyway. Exposed brickwork, vaulted ceilings, low light - you could be in the wine cellar of an estate somewhere. Fantastic Belgian beer selection, a deep bottle selection and a dozen tap offerings. We started with the small cheese plate, which was almost a meal in itself. A nice, sharp blue and a funky soft cheese, paired with green olives, grapes, balsamic vinegar, honey and brown bread. For dinner we opted for the moules frites, which come with a choice of two of several dippign sauces for the fries. The mussels serving was generous. Our servers were friendly and knowledgeable.

Brent, Oct 17, 2011
Photo of TheStove
4.14/5  rDev -7%

The best Belgian beer bar in San Francisco, easily. Unfortunately they focus as much on serving food as they do on beer and they're closed on my favorite drinking day (Sunday).

Amazing selection of draft Belgian beer. You could find any random thing here from the Duchesse to a Gueuze to maybe even a Corsendonk. Tons of stuff on draft which doesn't mean all the Chimay varieties. Additionally the bottle list is impressive and covers the whole globe. Some might find it expensive but I think given their variety, it's very reasonable not to mention their bottles aren't priced to completely gouge the shit out of you.

Atmosphere is great too. If you've ever been drinking in Europe, they totally nail it down. If you're doing an SF beer trip, adjust your schedule to fit this place in.

TheStove, Oct 06, 2011
Photo of yemenmocha
4.64/5  rDev +4.3%

Loved this place on my quiet weeknight visit. Sat in downstairs bar and received friendly service right away at the bar. Too many options to enjoy, and my heart really melts when I have so many Belgian options. Was surprised to see a few folks not exactly exploring the good options here.

Proper glassware was used and much appreciated. Location had a nice, dark, intimate feel. Can imagine it being too busy on weekends, but my weeknight visit was slow and enjoyable. Convenient location for the trolley too. Did not have food, so can't comment there.

yemenmocha, Sep 05, 2011
Photo of biegaman
4.68/5  rDev +5.2%

July 2011.

La Trappe seems like it's always crowded - a sure sign that its high ratings are not just the opinion of a bunch of beer geeks. Indeed, the food we ate there was among our favourite meals of the whole trip; La Trappe is one of the very few restaurants I've been outside of Belgium that can do Belgian frites right (or just about right). They also make phenomenal mussels and a divine beer-braised rabbit stew. As far as food quality goes, it's as close to Belgium you'll probably get in the U.S. Not to mention the fact that their bottle list is the size of a bible as virtually all styles are represented and good descriptions match each listing. The tap selection is more modest, a dozen or so, and quite expensive but still features some unusual Belgian offerings (and a few choice locals as well). The service was fantastic as our waiter was charming, attentive, patient, and certainly knowledgeable. The downstairs deco - vaulted ceilings, elegant bar, exposed brick, soft lighting - is quite quaint, despite that it fills up very fast. My only complaint is that there's just one tiny washroom! Regardless, if you're in San Francisco and looking to enjoy a decadent night out, La Trappe will leave your wallet empty and your belly feeling like it's going to explode.

biegaman, Aug 17, 2011
Photo of baycat
4.05/5  rDev -9%

La Trappe is a belgian beer destiantion for the SF Bay Area besides other local favorite like La Trappe or Monk's Kettle. When you first enter La Trappe it can easily be confused for all the other tourist centric Italian restaurants in North Beach. As soon as you walk down stairs you are in another place. Exposed brick and wood lend itself to a belgian beer bunker of sorts. The tap list is impressive with a rotating tap of hard to find belgian beers. The bottle selection is equally impressive. I was not familiar with many of the beers so recommendations from the bartender or waiter were spot-on. Dining is informal as you can eat and drink either at the bar or in the lounge area or at a table. Food is moderately priced and complements the beer nicely. Best dishes we ordered were the fritjz, belgian style fries cut large with your choices of dipping sauces.

baycat, May 04, 2011
Photo of BrewerB
4.6/5  rDev +3.4%

Went here on a Thursday night as part of a mini north beach pub crawl and also once to grab food with a friend. Sat downstairs both occasions.

Atmosphere is cozy, slightly rustic, and perfect for knocking back a pint of two while enjoying the company of friends, having a snack/meal, or just hanging solo.

The beer menu is impressive an well-organized. Though I can't recall the number of available taps, I do know they're varied in style and ample enough in number to satisfy the palette desires of most craft beer drinkers.

The bottle selection is categorized in an easy-to-read menu and makes for a time-consuming read if you're looking for a way to pass the time.

I never waited long for a refill, either at the bar or at a table. Bartenders were friendly and knowledgeable and helpful to recommend beers based on your personal tastes.

Last time I ordered food, we split the mussels and fries and were very pleased with both.

BrewerB, Mar 17, 2011
Photo of moz9
4.34/5  rDev -2.5%

Visited this place on a weeknight. Staff is very friendly and knowledgeable with respect to beer. We didn't try the food but it smelled great.

Selection is heavy belgian although I did have a Russian River Supplication on draft. Atmosphere is authentic and relaxing. Felt like I was in Belgium.

They had a good bottle selection, and although some of the bigger bottles were pricey, there were other options. I got a Hitachino Espresso stout and it was top notch. I would really recommend this place if you're visiting SF.

moz9, Jan 09, 2011
Photo of carpezytha
4.4/5  rDev -1.1%

I live 2 blocks away which is a blessing and a curse.

Great place to bring people you want to impress (if they have functional taste buds and have offered to buy).

Very expensive, but most of the staff make up for it with their knowledge and amazing selection.

With one very glaring exception (see my post in the forums on beer fails here: http://beeradvocate.com/forum/read/3162051#3179632), the staff are very well informed, friendly and not at all snobbish. The atmosphere at the bar is great. Don't go here to eat- the food is really not their focus and it shows. Sit at the bar is my suggestion. Some of the servers that come to your table, if you choose to sit at a table, are not nearly as sage-like in their beer knowledge as the people behind the bar are.

To get a rise out of the big friendly Belgian dude who sometimes works behind the bar, ask him to put on a song from Jaques Brel. Actually don't do that, it will ruin any friendly banter you previously had with him.

A Saison D' Erpe-Mere here is $32 for a 750ml bottle.

Across the Bay at the Trappist in Oakland, same beer is $20.

'Nuff said.

carpezytha, Nov 10, 2010
Photo of gfreed
4.66/5  rDev +4.7%

A pearl in San Francisco; all Belgium, all the time. Walk quickly through the small, prissy upstairs restaurant and head for the basement. I sat at the bar and was confronted with the slab notebook that is the bottle list, with a tap list tucked into the front cover. The night I visited the taps were a heavy on blonde ales and lighter fare, but not exclusively. I had a Lucifer pale ale and the followed up with a N'Ice Chouffe. Both were served quickly and in the right glasses, with a smile and some conversation from Mike the bartender. Cellar-like ambiance, dark and primarily lit by candles, with a bit of basement skank in the air for authenticity. When visiting SF, this is without question worth the effort to locate. Bring your Belgian-beer attitude; otherwise, prepare for disappointment. I found the bottle list to be rather pricey, but the taps were reasonable.

Test of strength: after drinking, walk up Taylor Street.

gfreed, Oct 20, 2010
Photo of leighgermy
4.38/5  rDev -1.6%

Exploring SF, La Trappe was the first to visit. Met the owner Mike who was top notch, great guy. They had some good beers on draft, including my favorite Gulden Draak. Had a friend with me that was learning a bit about beer and was very cool to help her. Food was delish and it came out quick.

Critique: the other guys working bar didnt seem to be very engaged with the the patrons at the bar. One in particular seemed like he definitely had something else on his mind and was ready to get out of there. Was slightly displeased that they served the beer on tap not in the proper glass. Maybe i am just a snob. They started closing down shop before i assume they closed...(chairs on tables, lights turned up) though mike encouraged us to stay, we paid our tab and moved on.

leighgermy, Sep 18, 2010
Photo of alpineclimber
4.78/5  rDev +7.4%

I made a visit after seeing all the glowing reviews on BA.
Walked in to an empty restaurant and proceeded to the basement. The basement was packed, all the tables were full and the bar only had two seats left which was perfect for the two of us. Mike, one of the owners took our drink orders and served us. We ordered some cheese and waited for our table.

The atmosphere was buzzing with mostly younger people in their twenties and thirties. All most everyone was drinking some sort of craft beer. The bottle list is very extensive and there are a lot of taps, I had Russian River Supplication on tap, which was great. Mike is very knowledgeable and will talk beer when he can. According to the waitress the basement was a speakeasy during the prohibition era, I could believe that from the architecture and brick work. Very cool indeed.

Once seated we ordered a few Belgian style bistro dishes. Mussels done a few ways, excellent. Corn fritters, Belgian style, excellent and the pomme frties, which were great as well.

I asked for a beer suggestion and got a Kasteel Donker, which I thought was a great Quadrupel.

I highly recommend this place for a visit, it's a cool place to hang out, drink and eat.

alpineclimber, Sep 18, 2010
Photo of DaveHS
4.63/5  rDev +4%

This is the west coast equivalent of Monk's Cafe, and I don't say that lightly.
The selection is fantastic. Bottle prices are a bit high, but not bad at all, and it's a wash when you factor in all the free samples the bartenders are constantly putting in front of you.
I met one of the 2 owners, and he was nice enough to open a 1999 Kasteel Donker that we split with a few other people at the bar. Ian was my bartender, and he took very good care of me. He knows his beer, and was very available for me throughout the 5+ hours I was at the bar.
The food is standard Belgian fare, very well done.
I can't believe it took me 2 years to finally come here. I will definitely be making up for lost time.

DaveHS, Aug 22, 2010
Photo of manthedan
5/5  rDev +12.4%

When the economy was flipped on its head in late 2008, I was laid off from my first job while living in San Francsico, CA. I ended up discovering La Trappe during my FUNemployment and spent a nice chunk of my unemployment benefits relieving my sorrows with the finest beer selection I've encountered in Northern California.

Walking into La Trappe it looks like a typical open kitchen dining establishment, walk down the winding staircase and then you will arrive to the famous beer cave at La Trappe. Mike took great care in redesigning his family's old Italian restaurant into a very relaxing and beautiful bar. The building itself was built in the early parts of the 20th century and the original bricks go very well with the new bar.

I spent at least 2 or 3 days a week for a 3 month period at La Trappe and got to know the two owners Mike and Mike. They are very knowledgeable and helpful and love to talk shop when it comes to beer, especially Belgian and European style beers.

They're very good about rotating in new beers on there tap and have usually have 1-2 rare Belgian beers on tap that you won't see anywhere.

Their bottle list is also exceptional and if you decide to come here make sure to give yourself plenty of time to sit down and go through their extensive "beer bible" which breaks down all the bottles they carry in their store. They have the book availble online in PDF format and it is HUGE so take a look before you come in, for the non-web savvy you can find it here:

http://latrappecafe.com/beer-list/

The best time to go to La Trappe is on a weekday or weekend afternoon. Evenings from Thurs-Sun are a bit hectic in their and you won't get a chance to talk shop with Mike and Mike. Check out La Trappe, you won't be sorry!

manthedan, Jul 23, 2010
Photo of arizcards
4.72/5  rDev +6.1%

Stopped here on the last night of our SF trip.

Went downstairs as recommended by other BA's for a post dinner cocktail with DA Boss. Decided to try a RR Consecration. The downstairs atmosphere is way cool, dimly lit with a small bar, some tables for dining, and some lounge seating. We managed to grab a sofa in the rear of the bar. The overall quality of this place was superb. It would be awesome to hang out with friends in the 60's style atmosphere. With all the beers available, it was tough to make one choice. Service was good, was acknowledged and served quickly by the bartender. Selection of beers was awesome. I picked the RR Consecration despite not being a huge fan of the style. Glad i had the opportunity to stop in!

arizcards, Apr 11, 2010
Photo of jdense
5/5  rDev +12.4%

Visited multiple times during SFO beer tour 2010.

One thing a number of Beervana residents know is there are no good Belgian Beer bars in PDX. While I haven't ventured north to Brouwer's in Seattle, and haven't done the full tour of SoCal Belgian establishments, I can say without equivocation that for those with Belgian/Trappist leanings, this place is an absolutely essential visit when in San Francisco.

While the beer prices are a bit on the high side, they are certainly more reasonable than the other Belgian establishments in the city. I was able to taste a wide variety of Belgian(style) beers, RR Consecration, Lost Abbey Red Barn, and some hard to find Belgians, Kapittel Pater, and the usual suspects, Affilgem, etc. There was an extensive list of Bottles, while priced a bit on the high side, were all of high quality. The beer list is quite informative for those new to the Belgian beer scene.

The help was outstanding, the owner quick to converse about the intricacies and character of the beers I was enjoying, and his head female bartender extremely knowledgeable and nice, especially the evening when I had to endure beer newbies who decided to use one of the the ten stools at the bar as a coat rack.

Don't waste time in the dining room upstairs, all the action is downstairs where the bar is located, dark, dank, cool beat era jazz music, a pretty loud and boisterous crowd. Table service is available for those eating, with a comfy lounge with couches in the back corner for those looking to chill. A really cool vibe.

While I didn't eat the food (I was tres bummed that the carbonnade had been pulled off the menu a couple of weeks before my visit, they featured really authentic Belgian food, the special the night I was there was a roasted beet and blood orange salad. Frites were flying out the kitchen, very generous portions. This would certainly be a good place to do a full fledged beer and business dinner if your clients are that cool.

Overall, this is one of the best bars I've been in. If I had the money and the location I'd try and replicate this place. Hey, are you looking for a business partner?? World Class. Highly Recommended.

jdense, Apr 04, 2010
Photo of Clembo1957
4.78/5  rDev +7.4%

I had somehow missed La Trappe on my previous visit so this time round decided to pay a visit and i wasn't disappointed! I first peered through the street level window and thought it was just a small bar area but on entering heard the buzz of voices coming from down stairs and went down to have a look. The large cellar area downstairs had a bar and several tables. Mike the owner was friendly and chatted to me for a while. The Beer selection is awesome, beers from around the world but has the name suggests a huge Belgian influence. Due to the neighbours the bar closes at Midnight but Mike explained he'd rather close earlier than have a bad relationship with the locals.
Overall one of the best bars in San Francisco and not to be missed, i shall certainly make more visits next time im in San Francisco.

Clembo1957, Feb 17, 2010
Photo of ocmpoma
4.7/5  rDev +5.6%

visited on 13 Feb 2010:

My fiancee and I came here for a late dinner on Saturday. Managed to beat the rush and grab a tiny table downstairs. First impression: awesome. Great, subdued decor in muted colors with exposed brickwork, barrel ceilings, Belgian beer signage scattered about in the basement. Upstairs had an open kitchen and was also well-appointed. Intimate tables and not a TV in the place.

Shortly after we sat down, the place filled up and people were pouncing on tables as soon as they became available. Given the quality of the place, I don't blame them. Our server was swamped, but still did an admirable job keeping on top of things.

As expected, the beer menu was huge. Lots of good stuff on tap; we had a Pink Killer, Castelain, de Koninck, and a couple others. Tons and tons of bottles, listed by region and with descriptions in the back pages of the menu.

The food was great -- frittes, mussels, a salad, and cheese were sampled and everything was delicious and reminded us of Paris. In fact, this place is a close 2nd to the Academie de la Biere. Even the restroom was Parisian. Absolutely phenomenal place, wish I lived in San Fran so I could go back.

ocmpoma, Feb 16, 2010
La Trappe Cafe in San Francisco, CA
97 out of 100 based on 63 ratings.