La Trappe Cafe
Taps: 15 / Bottles: 250
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: N
Ratings: 61 | Reviews: 50 | Display Reviews Only:
5/5 rDev +12.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | $$$
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.
04-04-2010 00:13:30 | More by jdense
United Kingdom (England)
4.78/5 rDev +7.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | $$
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.
02-17-2010 00:34:58 | More by Clembo1957
4.7/5 rDev +5.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5 | $$
visited on 13 Feb 2010:
My fiancee and I came here for a late dinner on Saturday. Managed to beat the rush and grab a tiny table downstairs. First impression: awesome. Great, subdued decor in muted colors with exposed brickwork, barrel ceilings, Belgian beer signage scattered about in the basement. Upstairs had an open kitchen and was also well-appointed. Intimate tables and not a TV in the place.
Shortly after we sat down, the place filled up and people were pouncing on tables as soon as they became available. Given the quality of the place, I don't blame them. Our server was swamped, but still did an admirable job keeping on top of things.
As expected, the beer menu was huge. Lots of good stuff on tap; we had a Pink Killer, Castelain, de Koninck, and a couple others. Tons and tons of bottles, listed by region and with descriptions in the back pages of the menu.
The food was great -- frittes, mussels, a salad, and cheese were sampled and everything was delicious and reminded us of Paris. In fact, this place is a close 2nd to the Academie de la Biere. Even the restroom was Parisian. Absolutely phenomenal place, wish I lived in San Fran so I could go back.
02-16-2010 05:53:07 | More by ocmpoma
4.43/5 rDev -0.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$
more than meets the eye - from the outside window this looks like a tiny little restaurant with no taps in sight.
when it opened at 6pm, we made our way inside and noticed the stairwell leading downwards. what lies below was a gorgeous dark belgian beercave with tons of seating. we found our way to the corner that had lush couches arranged in a way conducive to conversation. beautiful place
beer menu is pretty solid - tons and tons of belgian offerings. i guess even californians get bored with their own domestic product. unfortunately, i didnt come to Cali to drink belgian so i settled in on a RR Consecration. probably not necessary for tourists to visit unless you are prepared to drink belgian
didnt eat but food looked awesome
01-01-2010 15:49:13 | More by dirtylou
4.95/5 rDev +11.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5 | $$
I came here for dinner with my wife. As others have mentioned, the downstairs area has great atmosphere with all of the exposed brick and arched ceilings. There were a few people eating upstairs, but in terms of atmosphere it was totally different. It's too bad they haven't been able to recreate this upstairs as that would double their space.
The bottled beer list is extensive, 40+ pages, dominated by belgian or belgian-style beers. There were also about 20 beers on tap. I had a draft Koningshoeven Quadruple, which was delicious. Between the two of us we had 6-7 beers and they were all served in the matching glassware as well.
All of the food we had was great. We start with some oysters and a plate of belgian cheeses. My wife had mussels ($16) and I had a rabbit stew ($21) both of which were excellent.
While this isn't the cheapest place to eat or spend the night drinking, considering the quality of the food and beer you are getting, I though it was a pretty good value.
08-11-2009 18:18:14 | More by belgianbeerlover
4.43/5 rDev -0.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$$
La Trappe is a great restaurant/Belgian beer bar located in North Beach. It is very convenient to out of towners staying at Fisherman's Wharf. Being as it is in North Beach, public parking can be a nightmare. Street parking can be found if you arrive by 6; if not, take public transportation or be prepared to spend upwards of $20 to park.
The building is a pretty unique space. When you walk in there are a few tables upstairs. Immediately skip the upsatirs area and head down the spiral staircase to the bar/dining room/lounge area. It is a really neat space had that has the feel of an old speakeasy. The bar has a decent amount of stools and there are plenty of tables downstairs. They also have a large table for bigger groups. In the back is a nice lounge area with couches.
They have a great selection of beer on tap and an amazing bottle list. Most of the offerings tend to gravitate toward Belgian styles. When I went I had a glass of Temptation. Expect to find on tap Duvel Green, Allagash, La Chouffe, Chimay White, and Koningshoeven Quadruple. The bottle list encompasses beers from all over the world, but Belgium gets the most coverage.
I found the bartenders to be very friendly. Since I knew what I wanted, I can't speak to how knowledgeable they are. The couple next to me were drinking a Pannepot Old Fisherman's Ale and a Rochefort 10 based on recs from the bartender, so I am going to assume they know their stuff.
I passed on food when I went, but every table had frites and I heard a few people mention that their food was good.
The prices were about the same as most Belgian beer bars. My glass of Temptation was $6. Most beers on tap were between $6-$10. I did not pay any attention to how much they were charging for bottles.
08-01-2009 19:03:17 | More by mjl21
4.68/5 rDev +5.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 5 | $$$
Just in San Francisco for the first time, and we asked our concierge for a place to eat. He suggested someplace else, but having just past this place on a cable car earlier in the day, we decided to head back for dinner. We were NOT disappointed!
The initial, modern appearance of the first floor quickly gave way to the cave-like appearance of the basement. This worked very well for this place and was the perfect lead-in to a great atmosphere and ambience (although those that are claustrophobic should avoid the downstairs).
The tap selection was not huge, but the bottle selection and menu listings were immense and detailed. Some great brews were listed on both taps and bottles as well.
The service - despite and initial setback - was outstanding. From the busboys to the wait staff, everyone was friendly and accomodating and very helpful. Beer knowledge, however, might have been somewhat lacking based on some comments I overheard.
The food was absolutely impeccable, although the portions seemed rather large. Definitely a great place for a great meal. The down side (as seemed to be the case throughout San Francisco) is that the meals seemed a bit pricier even than in Los Angeles.
06-08-2009 19:40:22 | More by route66pubs
4.5/5 rDev +1.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$$
Very cool rustic atmosphere downstairs, cave like, exposed brick and wood beems that look like they're 200 years old. Cool mosaic tile, caster iron candle lamps, very dark and
dim, and reminiscent of Belgian bars for sure. Music was acid jazz (lots of Thievery Corp) and classic rock, once it filled, up, lively and loud as people warmed up on the strong biers.
Very well documented menu, lots of tasting notes, explanations.
Beer selection was great, tons of Belgians, including some hard to find breweries, big bottle list and 10-15 taps. Only 1 US craft brew when I was there, the tasty Santa Cruz Imperial Stout, a bargin at $4. Belgian beer prices are pretty high though. I'm not from San Fran, so maybe I'm off base, but as an example, Zoetzuer, by De Prof, which goes for $10 a bottle at grocery stores at home (and is pretty regularly available, my go to Flanders Red) is $20 a 750ml. Not insulting or anything, but a bit on the high side IMHO. OTHO I got a 750ml bottle of Ichtegem's Grand Cru for $17, which I was stoked to find. Lots of less common 33cl beers for ~$10. Draft Belgians are all $6-9.
Food was good, I went with moules and frittes, $16 for about 1 lb and a cone. I went with one of 3 preps, in wit and lemon and fennel, classic if boring. The freshness of the mussels made up for it. The broth though was kind of bland when I went to dip the crusty bread at the end, usually my favorite part. The frittes came with your choice of 'belgian' (e.g. REAL) mayo, a few spiced takes, or ketchup with some spices. I went with plain Belgian mayo and 'spiced' (e.g. Siracha) ketchup, and they were both very good, as were the small, slightly golden, rectangle shaped, lightly greasy, boardwalk style fries.
I left thinking I will definitely be back during my week in town, but with a lot of other places on my list, we'll see...
03-25-2009 21:38:41 | More by ccrida
4.58/5 rDev +2.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5 | $$
Spent last Friday night here and had an amazing time. The belgian beer selection is quite extensive with 15 or so on tap and tons in bottles. They also have some hard to find type beers from other countries like Germany, Italy, Denmark. On tap, I enjoyed a Nostradamus brown ale and a Duchesse du Borgnone. Out of the bottle, I had a Mikkeller Monk's ale. The beers were all excellent. Despite a very busy bar, our server kept are glasses full and was friendly. Many of my friends had mussels and they enjoyed them . . . I opted for the rabbit stew and that was great as well. We also ordered several baskets of fries which were served in these cone shaped cylindars with different dipping sauces. The Chipotle sauce is exceptional. The ambience was lively and fun and I will defintely be coming back again.
03-14-2009 22:16:40 | More by Nick3
4.86/5 rDev +9.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | $$$
The high reviews for this place did not disappoint. When I saw that La Trappe had displaced City Beer, Monk's Kettle, Toronado, and The Trappist as the #1 beer bar for San Francisco in BeerFly, I was quite skeptical. How could this new Belgian beer bar be better than all those great bars? Well, I'm here to tell you that it is. This is a first-rate, top of the line, beer bar. It should now be the first beer destination for anyone visiting this fine city.
La Trappe is located in North Beach, on the corner of Columbus and Greenwich. When you walk in there is a small restaurant serving Belgian cuisine such as mussels. After you descend the spiral staircase, you realize that you are in pure beer heaven. Belgian beer memorabilia covers the walls. It is a dark and cozy lounge atmosphere. There are comfortable booths everywhere to relax and enjoy their fine beers. The tap selection is first rate. 18 beers on-tap, mostly Belgian. Check their website as they update their tap list frequently. They also have a bottle list that is encased in a thick book. The selection is easily approaching 200 bottles. The book is very well organized. Most beers are served in the appropriate glass.
This place is highly recommended. Stop in and check out this new bar which can now proudly hold the title of best beer bar in the Bay Area.
03-10-2009 16:04:05 | More by willjschmidt
La Trappe Cafe in San Francisco, CA
97 out of 100 based on 61 ratings.