La Trappe Cafe

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

51 Reviews
Reviews: 51
Visits: 71
rAvg: 4.46
pDev: n/a
Taps: 15
Bottles: 250
Cask: 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:
Place added by: dougnboston on 06-04-2008

No notes at this time.
Place: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 51 | Visits: 71
Photo of jamesb7
1.5/5  rDev -66.4%
vibe: 1 | quality: 1 | service: 1 | selection: 3 | food: 1

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. (636 characters)

Photo of Beerenauslese
3.08/5  rDev -30.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 2.5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4 | food: 2.5

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. (1,513 characters)

Photo of joshklein069
3.23/5  rDev -27.6%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 3 | food: 3

They have a great selection of beer on tap and an ok 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.
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. I did not pay any attention to how much they were charging for bottles. (727 characters)

Photo of scotaussie
3.4/5  rDev -23.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 4

The cellar scene at the Trappe provides good ambience, a good list of beers and nice Belgian food, that is if you like mussels and not much (nothing) else. The main negative points are the exorbitantly high prices, one assumes to pay for the rent and the owners pension plans, and the atrocious Musak you are forced to listen to, while having a beer. The super high prices certainly don't make anybody want to hang around and try more beers. The waiters knew little about the beers they offered so a discussion on whether they had nice blondes rather than Flemish sour red ales was not clear, so I ended up with the latter by mistake. (634 characters)

Photo of BlackHaddock
3.86/5  rDev -13.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

6th Feb 2013: my wife and I visited the basement. We could only have a table if eating because the joint was almost full, as the wife doesn't like sitting at the bar we were shown to a small unlit square at the rear. I had to stand by the kitchen corridor to read the beer menu it was so dark where they put us, smart, modern, comfortable but just too dark.

The barman helped a lot, but not one American beer I wanted on the menu was in stock (I visit Belgium often, so wasn't really interested in that selection, huge though it was), so I had three Canadian beers. All in good condition.

The food looked good from where we sat and as I blocked the service corridor beer searching I got a closer look on occasions.

All in all a cool place, busy and friendly staff, just a pity about their US selection stock (810 characters)

Photo of BenHesk12
3.88/5  rDev -13%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

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. (543 characters)

Photo of nataku00
4.03/5  rDev -9.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

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. (1,430 characters)

Photo of baycat
4.05/5  rDev -9.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

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. (867 characters)

Photo of TheStove
4.14/5  rDev -7.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

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. (788 characters)

Photo of jgasparine
4.26/5  rDev -4.5%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5

Atmosphere- Like a slice of Europe. The downstairs bar, in particular, makes you feel like you're in Brugge. Clearly a beer-centric place, filled with beer-loving people.

Quality- Everything about this place- the glassware, draught lines, and the establishment itself was clean and quality.

Service- We got there right when they opened... so it wasn't too packed. But the bartender really knew his stuff, made some great suggestions, and was super-prompt and friendly.

Selection- They didn't have the largest selection. I was familiar with nearly everything on their menu... but this is not to discount the QUALITY of their selection. All were solid beers, and you certainly won't be disappointed.

Value- This was somewhat pricey... but overall worth the price for an occasional visit. (789 characters)

Photo of moz9
4.34/5  rDev -2.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 4

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. (524 characters)

Photo of leighgermy
4.38/5  rDev -1.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

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. (773 characters)

Photo of carpezytha
4.4/5  rDev -1.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 2

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. (1,115 characters)

Photo of dirtylou
4.43/5  rDev -0.7%
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 (740 characters)

Photo of mjl21
4.43/5  rDev -0.7%
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. (1,755 characters)

Photo of nephilae
4.43/5  rDev -0.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

La Trappe is one of the two places in the Bay Area that specialize in carrying Belgian ales. There are a good 20 or so brews on tap a quite extensive bottle selection (100+). They carry all of the specialty glasses, which makes for a fun time while you enjoy the different beers. The prices are a bit higher than I'd prefer, but the atmosphere certainly makes up for it. There is a lounge area in the back with a comfortable and intimate setting. I haven't tried eating their main dishes, but I must say that the fries and dippers are a great complement to a night of drinking.

All in all, this is one of my favorite bars ever. It can get busy, but never feels crowded, which allows for very relaxing and fun evening. (718 characters)

Photo of dougnboston
4.5/5  rDev +0.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

What do you get when you put a bar in an old brick basement, add candles, old tables, arched brick beams and indirect lighting - oh and Belgian beers on tap? A great Belgian beer bar! La Trappe is terrific. I found the staff attentive and knowledgeable. Food was Belgian like and good, not great, but good. Taps were fresh and they had a terrific selection. Parking is a bit difficult. There is a restaurant upstairs which I would do at lunch.

If you want an authentic old world feeling beer bar with good service and great beers this is your place. (551 characters)

Photo of ccrida
4.5/5  rDev +0.9%
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... (1,853 characters)

Photo of MrFootstones
4.53/5  rDev +1.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

Atmosphere: The atmosphere was great. Down the winding staircase into the brick walled very "old European" looking bar area. It was beautiful and very fitting for the place. No patrons or staff that were unpleasant. In fact, if you go here and demonstrate your beer nerdness, the bertender does quite appreciate it.

Quality: All the beer we had, both bottled and from the tap, was wonderful and served in proper glassware. They even kept us hydrated with water from pretty swing top bottles (perhaps because we told them we were on a day long bar crawl from The Mission to North Beach).

Service: I loved our bartender, Mike. After he and I understood that we were dealing with true beer lovers, we had a great time discussing beers/food pairings and sharing stories. After a little bit he pulled out three Dogfish Head bottles (Palo Santo, Midas Touch, and 90-Minute) and over the course of our visit split them between me, my two friends, and himself, free of charge. What a guy.

Selection: This was easily the most intimidating beer list I've dealt with. Even a seasoned Toronado patron can be overwhelmed. In the end I went with an '06 Cantillon Framboise (Rose de Gambrimus), which was amazing on tap.

Food: Didn't try it, although we were provided with some nuts, which was nice.

Value: I wouldn't come here to session, but I have no problem paying $11 for Cantillon on tap. Most beers were $8 and up, if I recall correctly.

I had a great time here. This will definitely join Toronado and City Beer Store on my list of musts when I'm home from school in the Bay Area. (1,578 characters)

Photo of CliffBrake
4.55/5  rDev +2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

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. (663 characters)

Photo of beerwolf77
4.58/5  rDev +2.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

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. (897 characters)

Photo of Nick3
4.58/5  rDev +2.7%
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. (807 characters)

Photo of jellikit
4.58/5  rDev +2.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

This bar is awesome. We walk in and I was sure that we walked into an open, run down kitchen with a few tables: empty. Then I saw the stairs welcoming us down to where the actual, what you think of when you think, "Belgian ba"r. Spiraling staircase down to a dimly lit, low ceilinged, brick and wooden beamed Belgian dreamland. Then you're offered the beer list. As heavy as a baby and just as previous. (403 characters)

Photo of BrewerB
4.6/5  rDev +3.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 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. (939 characters)

Photo of Brent
4.63/5  rDev +3.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

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. (811 characters)

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La Trappe Cafe in San Francisco, CA
97 out of 100 based on 51 ratings.