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The Stumbling Monk

Not Rated.
The Stumbling MonkThe Stumbling Monk
BA SCORE
96
world-class

44 Ratings
Ratings: 44
Reviews: 36
rAvg: 4.37
pDev: 8.01%
Taps: 12
Bottles: 50
Cask: Y
Beer-to-Go: Y
[ Bar ]

1635 E Olive Way
Seattle, Washington, 98102-5612
United States
phone: (206) 860-0916

view map and get directionsMap 

Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: drewbage)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 44 | Reviews: 36 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of HardTarget
4.62/5  rDev +5.7%

Atmosphere: A small corner bar, seems ancient, vinyl seats have long ago shredded, Mostly clean hard wood table lacquered and aged supported our enthusiastic choices.

Quality: All beers in fresh good working order. Taps seemed clean and well rotated.

Service: The good man tending the bar was knowledgeable, friendly and helpful with suggestions and information. Didn't allow us to have a sample before making our order, but an understandable policy.

Selection: This is a Belgian bar, a wormhole between Seattle and Brussels. I had Gregorius, the 8th Trappist brewery from Austria. There's aged Rochefort 8 from 06 on the menu. While the offerings are very heavy on Belgian styles, there are a few hometown offerings.
I had cask Elysian Dragonstooth Oatmeal Stout on cask which was most enjoyable. You would be hard pressed to find many bars in Belgian with this kind of selection of Belgian offerings.

A great bar!

HardTarget, Feb 16, 2013
Photo of arondee
4.26/5  rDev -2.5%

If you're a beer geek in Seattle, this is the place to go. Located on Capital Hill, the clientele is a little err "alternative". It's a dark little hole in the wall with board games and books at the front door even including the Bible and the Dictionary if the mood strikes you. The rare beer quality here is nothing short of amazing. The day I was there (7/27/2012) they had Pliny the Elder on tap and bottle, a 2000 bottle of Gales Prize Old Ale, various Belgian bottles from 2004-2006, plus about 5 different sours including the best from Russian River. They had some amazingly rare stouts and all sorts of other stuff as well. The selection was awesome and the prices were reasonable considering how rare some of the stuff was. I don't think they have food and if they did I don't think I'd eat there. The bathroom was pretty gross as well. I'll be visiting every time I go to Seattle.

arondee, Jul 30, 2012
Photo of trail77
4.36/5  rDev -0.2%

...super austere and minimal beer geek's dream... a few earthy booths and stools at the bar... chill choice tunes and a small but excellent selection. prices were totally reasonable... not noisy... no wifi, homey and intimate... made conversation with the bar tender who was a super rad dude and we connected on the mid-west, which is where we are both from... a must stop for anyone "beer-geeking" in Seattle... maybe a bit too obscure for the casual/non-adventurous/green craft brew drinker, but a rad stop for anyone who wants a cozy spot and a really delicious, smart brew... focus on the smart brew... the house knows their stuff... slightly aloof, but I appreciate that... minimal, discreet exterior, across from the most amazing vegetarian noodle shop ever: http://inthebowlbistro.com/

!!! DO THIS !!!

trail77, Jun 06, 2012
Photo of dirtylou
4.06/5  rDev -7.1%

stopped in on the stumbling monk for the first time after an interesting dining experience at nearby Poppy

Very cool atmosphere, which was especially appreciated considering the Capital Hill neighborhood can be a bit fratty and annoying. Dark and cozy - a little lively on a Friday night but there were lots of board games around that probably lead to a pretty chill weeknight atmosphere

the selection was just OK unforunately. about 12 taps - half domestic, half belgian with nothing particularly fancy or *gasp* rare. I went with a very large 5$ serving of la folie. bottle list was ok, but not a very large cooler really.

I liked the spot, but absolutely not worth leaving ballard/fremont/etc area for.

dirtylou, Sep 03, 2011
Photo of beerandcycling88
4.56/5  rDev +4.3%

Went to to this place last night and was not dissapointed.
It is a bit of a hole in the wall, its dark and kind of dirty, but its quiet as they don't play music, and they don't have a TV. This bar has a very laid back atmosphere which is really nice.
The service was alright not great but not bad.
Now to the beer. The selection here was excellent with lots of Belgians on tap or in bottles plus it was all served in correct glassware.
The prices seemed reasonable for what you were ordering.
Overall I really liked this place. It is really quiet place whither great beer where one can spend a few hours relaxing with great beer.

beerandcycling88, Jul 04, 2011
Photo of ThePorterSorter
3.86/5  rDev -11.7%

This is a place very easy to walk by. However, you would miss a great establishment if you didn't turn around and stop for a drink.

Getting to this bar was the largest hassle. I can't remember the bus line we took to get out from "downtown seattle," but the last thing I want to do is have to take a bus in a city that prides itself on being "completely walkable." If we had tried to walk (which I wouldn't recommend) it would have been at the expense of our entire next day because of how steep the surrounding landscape is...and how tired our legs would have been.

After walking past the bar and being re-directed we finally reached our destination. The place has approximately 15-20 people inside, not packed, but not empty either. Two stools were available at the bar, easy choice in seating, but the drink selection became a challenge.

The bar's tap list was small, but well thought. There were several beers that I wanted to try on the night's list. Unfortunately, this bar didn't offer samples, so I had to choose a beer on a whim. They were all fairly priced.
I hadn't tried the Sierra Nevada ovila, so that's what I started my evening with.

The bartender was nice, he answered our questions thoughtfully and promptly. We were sitting close to the bar's tiny glass steaming/sanitizing unit, so there were approximately 30 empty tulips and goblets next to us. Other customers were playing board games and enjoying themselves. I felt like this bar must have a cult following.

I enjoyed my time there at this bar, glad I ventured out.

ThePorterSorter, Apr 23, 2011
Photo of aaron12
3.93/5  rDev -10.1%

ive been enjoying the stumbling monk for years. this is a beer drinkers bar. the atmosphere is one of the best in seattle. dark, dank, cozy, and on a cold laid back night there are few bars i'd rather be in. they have a great belguim beer selection on tap, with both belguim and american choices of the style. they also have tons of bottles and cans that range from affordable to very rare and pricey. the bar tenders are nice for the most part, there's a bit of snobbyness but it's not too bad. i also really like how they switch their taps around a lot, so you can often try new beers. the music is very low, and usually soft blues or jazz, no blaring rap or dancing frat boys to ruin your good time. this place is great!

aaron12, Mar 10, 2011
Photo of barleywinefiend
4.43/5  rDev +1.4%

A: Nice, dark and laid back. I almost thought the place was closed on a SUnday evenining because it was so dimly lit. Good, laid back vibe. I dug it. A selection of board games for people to play, old wood. Cozy.

Q: Nothing but good stuff here. I had the DuPont Saison. Offerings from Cascade and locals were there as wellas a good Belgian selection

S: Our server was nice, prompt and talkative. He took the time to talk about beer scenes with us.

S: Selection was very good.

F: No food there, just beer! But with beer this good who needs food. Order in.

barleywinefiend, Jan 10, 2011
Photo of robertfulwiler
4.72/5  rDev +8%

The Monk has the perfect atmosphere for me. No loud music, no TVs (probably the only bar in Seattle I can think of without one) and really good beer. Taps are always rotating, and every time I come in there is something new I want to try- even if its only been a couple days. The pricing for beers is always great- well within reason.

The bartenders are usually a little quiet, but they are all real good guys and extremely knowledgeable if they open up a little bit.

They don't have food for sale except some potato chips, but you are free to order delivery or bring your own.

My favorite place to go out to in Seattle, hands down.

robertfulwiler, Dec 24, 2010
Photo of compass40204
3.64/5  rDev -16.7%

Roughly 50 beers on the menu today - 12 taps and a beer engine among them. Dark, sparsely decorated, very noisy for the number of people here. So noisy I can barely tell if the radio is still on. Friendly bartender. A bit run-down looking, but clean.

The menu is mostly Belgian or Belgian-style beers. Very reasonable prices on sour ales and various monastic brews. Appropriate glassware on hand for most styles, though very few styles are actually available here.

Overall, this is an unpretentious hole in the wall. This is the sort of place where folks don't fight and your business is your own. Not terribly extraordinary, but comfortable. Come with friends, tho, as it seems a better place for meeting up than meeting new.

compass40204, Sep 23, 2010
Photo of TastyTaste
3.69/5  rDev -15.6%

This was definitely an interesting place. The atmosphere was dank and slightly grimy, but this somewhat added to how unique this was. The selection was amazing. Not being from the area the array of Belgian style beers available there was wonderful, and very reasonably priced, most offerings were less than $6. The bartender seemed disinterested in the beer, more interested in texting than seeing to our needs. The bathroom was hidden behind a curtain, not very clean, very dive-y. I would like to spend more time here, this was a place where I need to get a little more involved in there beer selection.

TastyTaste, Sep 13, 2010
Photo of TheStove
4.86/5  rDev +11.2%

Easily one of the best beer bars I have ever been to.

Such a relaxed atmosphere and if the conversation isn't doing it for ya, there are plenty of games and books to enjoy.

The real reason we're here is for the beer and Stumbling Monk does not disappoint. They only have about 8 - 10 taps but each is something I definitely have not seen anywhere else including Mephistopheles, New Belgium Imperial Beliner, Dick's Grand Cuvee, Ommegang Zuur and a few more (I wish I could remember them all, boo). If none of thsoe do it for you, then there is definitely an extensive bottle list, certainly one that could keep any Belgian and Microbrew beer lover happy.

I can't say enough about this place and maybe that's a good thing. You need to come here for yourself and enjoy.

TheStove, Sep 12, 2010
Photo of mrunseen
5/5  rDev +14.4%

This has to be my favorite place in Seattle to go and grab a brew.

I am a bit biased here, since my beer tastes fall towards that of the Belgian ales, so this place is absolutely perfect for a guy like myself.

The bar itself is dimly lit with adequate seating in booths and tables. There are a variety of board games (chess, checkers, battleship, crib. etc) available to make your own as you sip your brew.

The selection of beers, as I alluded to earlier, are mainly of the Belgian variety. The tap list is split two ways, between Belgian ales and more often than not, Belgian "style" ales. There is also a hefty selection of bottled beers as well.

As mentioned in previous reviews, there is no food offered at this establishment aside from bags of chips. This is fine by me, since you can bring your own food in if that's what you're looking for. I am usually fine with just sipping on some select ales.

Again, probably my favorite local place in Seattle to grab a tasty brew. Another nice touch, is the glassware that compliments the beer that you happen to be drinking.

I would highly recommend checking this place out if you're interested in Belgian beers.

mrunseen, Jan 04, 2010
Photo of hpitlick
4.74/5  rDev +8.5%

The Stumbling Monk is the quintessential beer bar: all beer, no pretension. They have a great selection of bottled and draft beer, with 10-12 rotating beers on tap and probably 50 more in bottles. It's mostly Belgian-style ales, though they have decent domestic offerings too; everything from what you expect (Chimay, Dogfish Head, etc) to some of the smaller local guys.The atmosphere is no frills: no food (but you can bring your own), dim lights, low music, but it's clean, reliable and a good place to talk with friends or play a board game. Even if it wasn't just around the corner from where I live, I'd probably still drink at the Stumbling Monk.

hpitlick, Aug 21, 2009
Photo of LilMatrix
4.56/5  rDev +4.3%

A little hidden Belgian bar in plain site. No big flashy sign out front ... just some steamed up windows.

Great chill place to hang out and grab a great Belgian brew at very reasonable prices. $1-2 less than other bars around the area. They specialize in Belgian brews as well as some local NW stuff. Very decent selection, wonderful atmosphere... no blaring music (no music at all actually), games to play, nice ppl.

Way more chill than Brouwers and not as pretentious, this might be my new favorite place.

LilMatrix, Jan 25, 2009
Photo of Trailmix242
3.9/5  rDev -10.8%

Kind of a hole in the wall place that is really easy to drive pass. The pricing of the beers compared to some of the other places I visited this past weekend in Seattle was very reasonable. Their selection is not as wide as some of the other bars such as Uber or Brouwers but what they have is of high quality. The bar tender was a little stand offish at first but once we began talking beer he opened up. One of the gems I was able to have here was Cascade's Vlad the Impaler, which was just an awesome beer. If you are anywhere near the place it is worth stopping in.

Trailmix242, Jan 21, 2009
Photo of gboyd
4.3/5  rDev -1.6%

I found this place on a recent visit to the area. I went in open minded and was happy with my experience.

It was around the holiday blizzard, so it wasn't very busy. The draft selection was small, but a good list of Belgians & Belgian styled ales. The bottle list wasn't huge, but again a very good list.

The place was kinda hole in the wall but kitschy...in a good way. The neighborhood kinda seemed like a college area, lots of Chachi bars in the surrounding blocks.

The bartender was attentive and easy to talk to. Again we were his only guests, but he made the effort to engage!

gboyd, Jan 09, 2009
Photo of sprucetip
4.44/5  rDev +1.6%

I had a long layover at Sea-Tac. Like get a room and hit the town long. So after heading out to Brouwers in Green Lake, I returned to downtown and walked up toward Capitol hill and the Stumbling Monk. If I lived in Seatle, the Stumbling Monk would be my bar. The atmosphere is reminiscent of local a neighborhood pub in Belgium, to some extent. Dim lighting. spacious when I was there, late on a Thursday. Not pretentious or fancy in any way. Books and board games stacked here and there. I believe there are two owners, who are also the barkeeps. Only one, Rob, was there the night I was. There were about 12 taps and an extensive if not prodigious bottle list. Everything was very high quality, and all taps were either Belgian or Belgain style. There was one local-ish cask beer, Dick's IPA for 3.50 a pint or 10 per pitcher. Where I live in Alaska you can't get a pint for less then $5. An approximately 12 oz pour of St. Bernardus Christmas Ale was $6.50. The same was $10 at Brouwers, for comparison of value. Rob indulged in my beer geeky conversation and questions. Ask him to tell you his story about riding a motorcycle through Germany and coming upon a town called Ayinger. There is no food served, but plenty of options within a stones throw of the place. For the beer geek visiting Seattle, this place is a must. And if you live in Seattle and haven't been there, you are missing out.

sprucetip, Dec 06, 2008
Photo of GJ40
4.33/5  rDev -0.9%

I stopped in on a business trip to Seattle. I'd been meaning to visit for a while now but they open at 6 PM so it's not a convenient stop after leaving meetings at 4 or 5 PM. But it was very quiet at 6:15 PM so I guess they know they have to wait for the crowd.

The Stumbling Monk is a small, unassuming corner bar that wastes little on decor and focuses heavily on the quality of the beer they serve. They don't offer the numbers that some pubs do but the quality is as good as any other. On tap, they had six true Belgians, five American brewed Belgians and one Chezc beer. I went with s Russian River Salvation and a Duchesse de Bourgogne. I really enjoyed the Salvation.

The two guys behind the bar were helpful and responsive. While not challenged by a crowd, I still thought they added to the place.

The Stumbling Monk is a great stop in the Seattle beer scene. It wouldn't say it's the best but it is certainly among the best.

GJ40, Oct 16, 2008
Photo of RoryGilmore
4.72/5  rDev +8%

The Monk is plain and simple the best beer bar in Seattle.

The vibe is variable: before 8:30 it's pretty slow, with a few people playing a game of Scrabble and others enjoying a beer while reading a book. After 8:30 the place suddenly fills up, gets much louder, and it can be a few minutes before you can grab a seat. The patrons are a combination of beer geeks and the 20 and 30 something artistic types that are common of the neighborhood. Overall, it's a great crowd - very few annoying drunks and no frat boys chugging PBR.

Quality is top notch. Most beer is served in it's appropriate glassware and the glasses are meticulously cleaned between uses. The taps are fresh and the lines are clean - you will not get any skunk here.

Service is prompt, polite, and as another review stated, "a bit unenthusiastic." The bartenders, who I believe own the place, don't seem to be natural extroverts... but overall are very helpful, nice, and will answer any questions you may have. Overall the service is much better than you'll get in most any place in Seattle.

Selection is about 12-14 well-thought-out taps, half from Belgium and the other half are North American Belgian styles. There is an extensive bottle list as well. The taps rotate pretty frequently, so there is always something new to try.

The prices are where the Monk really shines. The North Americans are usually $3-$4:50, and most of the Belgians are $6-$6.50. This is about $1 to $2 less than the other bars around town.

RoryGilmore, Apr 14, 2008
Photo of boognish523
4.8/5  rDev +9.8%

I live about 4 blocks from the Stumbling Monk and work about 100 feet away. Approximately 30 feet east is a much more lively place, with 25 cent PBR happy hour. I didn't know the Monk was even there for the first 6 months I was working where I was, until a fellow beer drinker introduced me to it.

The owners/bartenders are great, very knowledgeable and easy going, will converse without talking your ear off if you like. One night I was walking the dog and stopped by and they insisted I brought her in with me and she sat on the booth with me.

The selection for a bar is very nice, I can always walk in and see something new, as they change their taps out a couple times a month and the bottles change pretty often as well. They have the proper glassware for each beer, and charge the same price you will pay at the store for a beer, so it is very reasonable.

I am quite fortunate to live so close (and in Seattle I'm also neither up nor downhill from it so it's a flat commute), and can't imagine going anywhere else as I have no worries about designating drivers etc.

boognish523, Jan 10, 2008
Photo of GAPit
4.46/5  rDev +2.1%

This place is amazing. As a capitol hill native, I find my self stumbling home from this great taphouse at least 2 days a week. The two bartenders are also the owners, they are polite and extrememly knowledgable, they're clearly beer geeks as well.

Great selection of Belgian and North American beers. 10 or so great beers rotate regularly on tap, and theres about 30 bottles to chose from. All beers come in their proper glassware. There's even a pile of back issues of Beer Advocate that you can read while enjoying some delicious beer.

Prices are great for the quality. Sometimes there's some killer bargains. For example, they served pints of New Belgium's La Folie for $4. I went there EVERY DAY until that keg was gone, lol.

The beauty of this place is in its simplicity. It's a taphouse, nothing more. If you're not a beer nut this place isn't for you, don't go if ur a frat guy looking to buy a pitcher of pabst. But if you love good beer, you MUST visit this place.

-GAPit

GAPit, Dec 19, 2007
Photo of Ruddiger
4.66/5  rDev +6.6%

The stumbling monk is a really nice place to stop into before or after a show at many of the places on capitol hill that has music. A small but very nice selection of Belgian and Belgian style taps are the main attraction here. For what you get the prices are very reasonable in this part of Seattle. As others have mentioned parking can be a challenge, but if you get to the area right around 6 it isn't much of a problem since many of the no parking areas become free parking. Or was that 5, I seem to have forgotten, guess that isn't such a helpful tip after all.

This place is all about the beer, no food or music, just lots of local capitol hill types and great beer. If you are ever in the area this is a place you should stop by.

Ruddiger, Jun 19, 2007
Photo of nortmand
4.59/5  rDev +5%

Stopped here after our second Elysian trip. It was dark and we literally almost walked right past.

Coolest atmosphere of anywhere we visited while in Seattle. Very neighborhood bar feel, with cozy seating and friendly clientele.

All the beers were very fresh and served in appropriate glassware.

Prompt service, though a bit unenthusiastic.

The selection isn't huge here. Something like ten beers on tap. Mostly Belgian themed beers. The really great part is that you can tell someone took the time to carefully pick out the beers and put together a limited, but excellent draft list.

nortmand, Apr 06, 2007
Photo of ElGordo
4.41/5  rDev +0.9%

Stumbled in here after visiting a couple of other spots on a Friday night. Like many places in Seattle, if you're not familiar with the street "grid", it may be a little hard to find.
Layout is fairly bare-bones. I think the space may have been a laundromat in a previous life. Not much on the walls, concrete floors, and a long bar lining most of the interior wall. the focus is definitely on the beer here. About 20 Belgian beers (and American Belgian interpretations) available on draft, and about 30 to 40 bottles available. All beers are served in proper glassware if possible, which is a big plus. Had only one round with the ladyfriend, but we were there long enough to get a feel for the place. Staff is knowledgeable and work their asses off on crowded nights. Didn't get to try the food or look at a menu. Didn't matter, I'd come back here for the selection alone. Even if it's wall-to-wall crowded, check this place out. It's a great bar, by beer lovers, for beer lovers.

ElGordo, Dec 29, 2006
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The Stumbling Monk in Seattle, WA
96 out of 100 based on 44 ratings.