The Stumbling Monk

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

49 Ratings
Ratings: 49
Reviews: 38
rAvg: 4.35
pDev: n/a
Taps: 12
Bottles: 50
Cask: Y
[ Bar ]

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

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Place added by: drewbage

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Ratings: 49 | Reviews: 38
Photo of GJ40
4.33/5  rDev -0.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

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.

Photo of barleywinefiend
4.43/5  rDev +1.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 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.

Photo of dirtylou
4.06/5  rDev -6.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

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.

Photo of TheBungyo
4.46/5  rDev +2.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

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.

Photo of flagmantho
4.35/5  rDev 0%

I have been wanting to visit the Stumbling Monk for years now, so now that I work in the area I made it a point to finally check the place out. I arrived shortly after opening at 6 PM and was the only guy in there for half an hour, so I had a good conversation with the staff (who'd been there since 1998 and 2001, respectively, so could be the owners for all I know). There are only about 8 taps available, but what is on tap is quite good; the bottle selection, though, is outstanding. Magnum of Rochefort? Check. 8 year verticals? Check. Sours, quads, saisons, tripels; it's a fool's paradise in there. Prices on the taps and the rarer bottles are a little on the high side, but for the most part the bottle prices are quite rasonable for a bar.

The atmosphere is dark and old and kind of dusty. It's kind of divey, but I think that atmosphere works great. Most of the other patrons who showed up sat at solitary tables, reading books and sipping goblets of top-echelon beer. One couple came in and got a cider and a Stella, respectively, so there is something for the non-snobs too. I will definitely be going back.

Photo of drewbage
4.01/5  rDev -7.8%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

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

Photo of TheEclecticGent
4.64/5  rDev +6.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

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.

Photo of TastyTaste
3.69/5  rDev -15.2%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 2 | selection: 4.5

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.

Photo of HardTarget
4.62/5  rDev +6.2%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75

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!

Photo of bultrey
4.38/5  rDev +0.7%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

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.

Photo of nortmand
4.59/5  rDev +5.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

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.

Photo of Trailmix242
3.9/5  rDev -10.3%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4

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.

Photo of ThePorterSorter
3.86/5  rDev -11.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5

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.

Photo of sprucetip
4.44/5  rDev +2.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

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.

Photo of Smurf2055
3.81/5  rDev -12.4%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.75

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.

Photo of beerandcycling88
4.56/5  rDev +4.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

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.

Photo of ElGordo
4.41/5  rDev +1.4%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

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.

Photo of bklynbeerbaron
4.14/5  rDev -4.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

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.

Photo of TheStove
4.86/5  rDev +11.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

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.

Photo of RoryGilmore
4.72/5  rDev +8.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

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.

Photo of Ruddiger
4.66/5  rDev +7.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

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.

Photo of compass40204
3.64/5  rDev -16.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4

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.

Photo of fourohstudent
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

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!

Photo of ojiikun
4.38/5  rDev +0.7%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

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.

Photo of aaron12
3.93/5  rDev -9.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4

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!

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The Stumbling Monk in Seattle, WA
96 out of 100 based on 49 ratings.