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The Stumbling Monk

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

46 Ratings
Ratings: 46
Reviews: 37
rAvg: 4.35
pDev: 9.89%
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: 46 | Reviews: 37 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of core42
2.76/5  rDev -36.6%

core42, Oct 09, 2014
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 bram325
3.75/5  rDev -13.8%

bram325, Oct 24, 2013
Photo of Sammy
3.75/5  rDev -13.8%

Sammy, May 08, 2014
Photo of Smurf2055
3.81/5  rDev -12.4%

Kind of out of the way, not a real attractive place. The selection is mostly Belgium style beers, so not a big variety, but they do have a consistent line up of great beers. Bottle list is nothing special. Honestly, some of the stuff I’ve found here is awesome. Great place.

Smurf2055, May 30, 2013
Photo of ThePorterSorter
3.86/5  rDev -11.3%

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 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 aaron12
3.93/5  rDev -9.7%

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 drewbage
4.01/5  rDev -7.8%

Visited Monday June 16th, 2003.

This is a funky, shunky odd little dive in a town reknowned for beer and full of clean spaces for those hop drivs en beers of the NW.

Sure there's smoking. Sure it's got it's share of young hipsters talking and talking about films and philosophy.

But the beer.. ahh thank you Jebus. 9 taps, all Belgian (or Domestic Belgian Styles) and another 20 bottles or so with only 1 IPA to satisfy that crowd. Prices are reasonable and the joint is fun in that divey way. It's located in an old typewriter repair shop and still has a few of them on the walls. Lots of little tables and a row of booths for non-bar seating. Books and games for your pleasure and a focus on the beer.

Cool

drewbage, Jun 17, 2003
Photo of dirtylou
4.06/5  rDev -6.7%

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 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 crowbar540
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%

crowbar540, Dec 19, 2013
Photo of nobelk18
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%

nobelk18, Aug 10, 2014
Photo of arondee
4.26/5  rDev -2.1%

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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 46 ratings.