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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 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 dirtylou
4.43/5  rDev -0.4%

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

dirtylou, Jan 01, 2010
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 BlackHaddock
3.86/5  rDev -13.3%

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

BlackHaddock, May 24, 2013
Photo of aoampm
4.5/5  rDev +1.1%

aoampm, Sep 10, 2014
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 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 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 jgasparine
4.26/5  rDev -4.3%

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.

jgasparine, Nov 02, 2013
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 willjschmidt
4.86/5  rDev +9.2%

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.

willjschmidt, Mar 10, 2009
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 mjl21
4.43/5  rDev -0.4%

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.

mjl21, Aug 01, 2009
Photo of GeorgiaBeerGuy
4.75/5  rDev +6.7%

GeorgiaBeerGuy, Jul 18, 2014
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 largadeer
3.75/5  rDev -15.7%

largadeer, Jun 02, 2014
Photo of czechsaaz
4.9/5  rDev +10.1%

Normally I wouldn't start a review with the atmosphere. I'll put up with a lot for a great beer list but... La Trappe is way cool. You walk in upstairs and there's the kitchen and some dining tables. You could stay upstairs if you want, but take the spiral staircase into the cellar. That's where the bar is and it's all exposed brick and dark paint colors and dim lighting. It felt to me like drinking a catacomb or the basement of some cathedral somewhere. Loved it.

Then there's the binder sized beer list that is of course 85-90% Belgian with a handfull of other European and a few outsanding U.S. Belgian styles plus Unibroue. There's plenty of rare beer on the list to keep you interested but the really rare is very pricey. Not a complaint at all but there were a few things that I really wanted that were out of my league price wise.

For the service, we were told when we sat down that service in the Lounge area (dark, brooding and even romantic) was self service at the bar. But after ordering beers and a snack and chatting with the servers and bartenders for a bit at the bar they did table service for us. (I had one of those, "They know I'm a beer guy and they love beer too so we have a mutual respect" type of vibe.)

My price rating is more for the rarities. The taps and most bottles are reasonably priced. But they also have some really great lambics, limitted releases and large format bottles that are expnsive but not out of line for the rarity.

I only get to S.F. once a year or so but this is now (with the Toranado) on my must visit list. Great Place.

czechsaaz, Dec 28, 2008
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
Photo of dougnboston
4.5/5  rDev +1.1%

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.

dougnboston, Jun 04, 2008
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 RBassSFHOPit2ME
4.25/5  rDev -4.5%

RBassSFHOPit2ME, May 07, 2014
Photo of ccrida
4.5/5  rDev +1.1%

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...

ccrida, Mar 25, 2009
Photo of damndirtyape
4.93/5  rDev +10.8%

Visited both lower bar and upper restaurant. Got there shortly after the bar was opened at 5, and later went upstairs for dinner.

Atmosphere: Cozy little joint downstairs. Plenty of tables, but it fills up fast. The bar chairs were already filled up when I got there 15 minutes after it opened. All wood and brick downstairs, with booths and small tables for parties anywhere from 1 (myself) to 8. Impressive layout of Belgian beer signs and glassware behind the bar suggesting this is Belgian beer heaven outside of Belgium. Upstairs (well, ground floor really, it's where you enter) is equally cozy - not many tables, but well lit and airy with a high ceiling and kitchen nearby. The downstairs is a place to have several beers and dwell upon them. Upstairs is just what you want when you get hungry after those beers - food is emphasized but you still get the great beer.

Quality: I don't think I can do this place justice on the quality of the beers available. Rare and great Belgian beers and Belgian style beers from around the world here. "No crap on tap" would be an accurate statement to make here. The only trappist ale they didn't have was Westvleteren.

Service: Very friendly given the small staff (2 behind the bar, 1 roaming) versus the large clientele (every table and chair filled downstairs). I watched the servers listen to the orders, look for the right glass, pour it, and if it spilled over, they even got out the knife to level off the foam from the top and then wipe down the glass. I watched another bartender open a corked bottle for a party of four and then proceed to serve them at the bar leaving the sediment behind. Later when I went up for dinner upstairs the waiter was equally friendly and made sure I got everything I needed without being too hovering.

Selection: 15 different beers on tap - way too much selection. It was hard to pick what to have on tap. The bottle menu was even longer - broken down alphabetically by country with the Belgian selection alone taking up probably 15-16 pages in the huge beer menu. Far and away the most extensive beer menu I've ever seen.

Food: Good and tasty. I wasn't very hungry so I ended up having the beer and cheese soup and the sliders as they were out of the puff-pastry chicken. The food went very well with the beer I was having at the time (Petrus Winterbier) and the portion sizes were just right.

For value....The beer prices were high for a 25cl or 33cl glass, but....if you're paying for this selection imported all the way from Belgium you're going to need to be willing to pay. Food prices I would say are quite reasonable, but beer prices - this is a place you save up for a treat, not an every night experience. Well....I would love to drink here every night but I know I would quickly wreck my banking account on this place.

damndirtyape, Jan 27, 2013
Photo of ajs4bd
5/5  rDev +12.4%

ajs4bd, Jul 01, 2014
Photo of rxdrewthejew
4.64/5  rDev +4.3%

Randomly stumbled upon this place Friday night during my trip up to the bay area. We were actually looking for a different place, but decided to stop here. Glad we did.

Kinda hard to find, although not that far from Fisherman's Wharf. The upstairs (and entrance) totally doesn't look like a bar at all, but once you get inside and go down the stairs, a really cool bar and lounge presents itself. The atmosphere was really great, nice little place with a decent sized bar and plenty of tables. Being underground gives it a bit of a cave feel. There was a decent crowd, especially considering it was early Friday night.

Service was quite good. The bartender helped us right away, and was very knowledgeable and gave good suggestions. However, the staff seemed to have a no-nonsense attitude as well. They seemed to ignore rude and/or stupid people. Which is awesome.

Selection is incredible. I've never seen so many Belgian beers in one place. Obviously the majority of beers were from Belgium, but they had most of the Unibroue beers, as well as a number of American offerings. Something like 20 taps and lots of bottles. I had a Zoetzuur Flemish Ale (which was delicious) and a Rochefort 10. Can't complain about that. Pours were not cheap though. I think it was 8 or 9 bucks for pretty much everything. But still, well worth it.

Didn't get any food, but it all looked pretty good. Fries were served in a cone, which is apparently a pretty traditional European way to serve fries.

Very lucky that I happened on this place. It was fantastic, one of the coolest bars I've been too. I'm sure it will become a Bay Area mainstay in no time. If you're up in 'Frisco, find this place and check it out.

rxdrewthejew, Jun 17, 2008
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La Trappe Cafe in San Francisco, CA
97 out of 100 based on 63 ratings.