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The Stumbling Monk

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

47 Ratings
Ratings: 47
Reviews: 37
rAvg: 4.35
pDev: 9.66%
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: 47 | Reviews: 37 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of barleywinefiend
4.43/5  rDev +1.8%

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 +8.5%

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 -16.3%

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 -15.2%

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 14, 2010
Photo of TheStove
4.86/5  rDev +11.7%

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 +14.9%

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 +9%

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 +4.8%

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 -10.3%

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 -1.1%

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 +2.1%

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 -0.5%

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 +8.5%

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 +10.3%

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 +2.5%

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 +7.1%

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 +5.5%

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 +1.4%

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
Photo of bultrey
4.38/5  rDev +0.7%

So it's late in the evening on a Tuesday at the tail end of my latest beer vacatio... ummm, business trip to Seattle. I've hit all the places I wanted to hit over the past couple of days: Brouwer's, Elysian, Elliott Bay, Pike, Collins; but for some reason, I hadn't made my way up to the Stumbling Monk. Perhaps it's because I live in New York, and I don't really need to see a Belgian beer bar in another city. After all, I'm here for the hops, right?

My recommendation to you, weary traveler, is to not make this mistake as I almost did. Stumbling Monk is a slightly taxing walk up E. Olive Way from the downtown area but oh so worth it. I'm sure there is a bus or something that drops you off nearby.
Anyway,the bar is tucked into a clearly "cool kids' area of Seattle, feels a bit like a collegetown actually. easy to pass by if you're not looking hard for it. Entrancs is right on the corner though. Fairly nondescript atmosphere -- not bad by any means, just kind of low-key, dark, interesting "whatchamacallit" knick-knacks and such, a la Spuyten in New York, though not nearly to the same extent (though there is an old-timey bicycle hanging on the back wall). Upon entering, a few tables and a bar with stools to the right in the window, and several more small tables scattered down the left side of the room. Bar is in the back right corner, and it's actually tiny -- maybe 8 seats -- but there is a nice open area right in the middle of the place, so when it gets crowded here, I imagine there's enough room.
Excellent service from start to finish. Funny, for such a small bar and dead night, they had two bartenders working, but the one that took care of me was pleasant, not too chatty though a good conversationalist and, most importantly, attentive to my beer needs and able to discuss the selection intelligently and without snobishness.
The beer menu here is excellent -- probably 12 or 14 taps, almost all Belgian, and a small but tight and focused bottls selection, which includes a few more local non-Belgian-style ales (think Dick's, Elysian, etc.). I had, on draft, a Saison Dupont, St. Bernardus Abt. 12, Unibroue Chambly Noire, and some kind of incredible lambic (forgive my forgetfulness), and my bill was somewhere in the neighborhood of $20, so you tell me what you think of the pricing. As for the apropos name of this place, I certainly stumbled home.

A must stop for any beer lover in Seattle.

bultrey, Nov 13, 2006
Photo of bklynbeerbaron
4.14/5  rDev -4.8%

Hit this place up when I was in Seattle earlier this month, my friend lives right down the street. This is truly a great city to drink beer in.

Looks like nothing from the outside, you could easily walk past without noticing it. Inside, it looks like someone's parlor or oversized living room, with a short bar, some tables and wooden booths. No music being played, just a lot of people gabbing, so it can get a bit noisy. But even on a Friday night, it isn't packed to the gills.

About 10 taps, mostly Belgian with a couple of local micros mixed in, and about 20 bottles. But the selection was diverse and well thought out - I had a Saison Dupont on tap, plus bottles of Petrus Old Brown Ale and St. Bernardus 12. But what really stuck out was the price of the bottles. I paid just $6 for a bottle of St. Bernardus. Maybe that's the New Yorker in me talking, but that's at least $2 cheaper than at a comparable bar in NYC.

Nothing fancy about this place, just a low-key spot to drink quality beers and chill out for a night. Really, that's all I'm looking for. I only wish I had a place like this down the street from me.

bklynbeerbaron, Oct 31, 2006
Photo of
4.16/5  rDev -4.4%

Stopped in one evening on suggestion. Atmosphere was more pub-like than anything else. If you are here, it is for the beer -- not pool, music, food, etc. Beer selections looked to change fairly frequently, as they were listed on chalkboards. Selection was outstanding. I was sad that it was the end of my evening, and I did not have much capacity left. I enjoyed a Moinette and a Reinaert Flemish Wild Ale. Both were served in appropriate glassware and were quite enjoyable. If I ever make it back to Seattle, I will be sure to come back here.

, Aug 16, 2006
Photo of ojiikun
4.38/5  rDev +0.7%

The Monk is presently a tiny little corner shop that you would never notice if you hadn't heard about it here. It almost appears as if they also own the adjacent space, but decided not to use it as part of the bar.

Furnishings are amazingly minimal. Bar seats about 6, additional sidebar seats 3, about 3 tables for 4, a table for two, and 3 boots that might sit 4 if you're very close friends. Light is daylight during the day and a few small lamps at night. Potentially a very dark place. Bathroom is dark and small, but clean.

At any given time there are about 8 - 10 beers on tap, usually 50% belgian and 50% domestic belgian-style beers. Bottled selection is about 2 or 3 dozen beers and lambic. No food is served, save a few stale-looking bags of chips hanging on a wall. I've frequently seen patrons bring a pizza, a sandwich, etc. without complains from the barkeeps.

The bartenders are quiet, aloof, but fairly knowledgable if you can get them to open up. They'll provide the designated offcial glassware if they have it, which is about a third of the time. I've never had a beer that wasn't fresh, but I do think they serve some brews a little cold.

The prices are good to average, but for the selection, it's the best you could hope for in the city. You can tell that the managment decided to go for selection and price over furnishings, and for that The Monk wins.

ojiikun, May 30, 2006
Photo of TheEclecticGent
4.64/5  rDev +6.7%

I love Seattle, plain and simple. Seattle is like a good well worn pair of jeans you can't wait to put back on. I get this feeling from The Stumbling Monk. This small place has Belgian and Belgian-style breweriana covering the well worn walls. It has low mood music and no TVs. Gives a good atmosphere to have real conversations within. They mainly serve Belgian and "Belgian-styled" beers (only of the highest quality). Speaking of quality, watch how well they clean the glassware. The bartenders I spoke with had top-notch knowledge of the brews they serve - very impressive. Out of all the bars I went to on my Seattle trip, I enjoyed this one more than any. Mostly locals and that is all for the better. The prices were very reasonable. I highly recommend this place.

TheEclecticGent, Apr 19, 2006
Photo of fourohstudent
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%

Now this is my type of drinking establishment! Small place with sparse breweriana covering the walls. Low music, so you could hear what the other people at your table had to say. If you like Belgian beer this the Spot to go in Seattle. Brouwer's has nothing on this place. The Monk is cheaper and a more friendly place. It only has about ten or so taps, but everything on them is exceptional. If for some reason you can't find anything on tap the bottle selection shouldn't pose the same problem. It was the kind of placce that you could bring some of your school books and study while having a refreshment. They've got lots of boardgames and the like, which is a nice change from darts and a pool table. The waiter was more than willing to answer any of my questions, and the regulars seemed to know a thing or two as well. Tucked away in a non-touristy area keeps the rif-raf to a minimum. Enjoy!

fourohstudent, Mar 18, 2006
Photo of TheBungyo
4.46/5  rDev +2.5%

Most places where you can find Belgian beer, its far more expensive than here. Each time I have visited they've had great stuff on tap. Brasserie Des Rocs Grand Cru, La Chouffe, Gouden Carolus Noel, N'ice Chouffe, and many others. Each time I have ordered, I get a rinsed glass that is also the proper glassware for the drink. If one of the 10 or so taps don't suit you, there seems to be a wealth of bottles to choose from, the majority of which are Belgians. The bottles can be a bit pricey (but then when aren't belgians expensive in or out of a bar?) but they even offer non belgian fare, such as Fish Tale Leviathon and many others. No food is offered but the area is rich with places that are within walking distance to fill the ol' belly after downing some quality beers.

TheBungyo, Mar 07, 2006
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The Stumbling Monk in Seattle, WA
96 out of 100 based on 47 ratings.