The Monk's Kettle

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The Monk's KettleThe Monk's Kettle
132 Ratings
The Monk's KettleThe Monk's Kettle

Type: Bar, Eatery, Beer-to-go

3141 16th St
San Francisco, California, 94103-3334
United States

(415) 865-9523 | map

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Added by NikStique on 12-07-2007

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Ratings: 132 |  Reviews: 76
Photo of md655321
4.5/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of throwback
5/5  rDev +14.2%

Photo of jaydoc
4.5/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of Jvrdz24
4.75/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of HeyHayward
4.58/5  rDev +4.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25 | food: 5

I spent a good 6 hours last week at The Monk's Kettle with a few friends.

We were impressed with the selection of both bottled & draft beers and Pliny The Elder on tap didn't hurt.

The whole group ordered burgers, they were absolutely fantastic.

I was only in town for a few days, otherwise I'd have gone back to The Monk's Kettle again, great service, very good selection & fantastic food.

A bit pricey but definitely worth stopping by.

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Photo of Hellpop65
4.5/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of leprakhan
4.75/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of davegray
4.25/5  rDev -3%

Photo of jgasparine
4.55/5  rDev +3.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.25

Atmosphere- This place is gorgeous; reminiscent of an old European tavern. Lots of wood, warm and aged. The bar is long and narrow, and the booths can accommodate 4 people comfortably. Thus, for a small group, this bar is perfect. I imagine, however, that the floorplan is not ideal for a large group of friends. On my visit, I was there with 3 others, and for us, it was perfect. We were surrounded by all things beer and it was wonderful.

Quality- Everything was clean; glassware, draught lines, etc. The place reeked of quality. Not in the sterile hospital way; but more like a business owner is passionate about what he/she does.

Service- Despite the place being packed, our service was exceptionally prompt and friendly. Food came out surprisingly quick, as did the beers. The servers didn't seem to have any issue running samples from the bar to our table either. This was hands-down some of the best service I have ever had in a beer bar.

Selection- While they don't have the largest selection (by count), their selection of beer was clearly well-thought-out. The beer menu was just packed with gems, and covered the gamut of styles. Despite the small selection, I still managed to feel like I was in beer heaven!

Food- The food was fantastic. Honestly, I can't even remember what we had, but we did enjoy several dishes, and I recall raving about it.... I guess this is telling as to how "good" of a night it was!

Value- This place is somewhat expensive. But as a tourist, it was certainly worth the money. Would definitely go back if in San Francisco again!

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Photo of AngusOg
4/5  rDev -8.7%

Photo of cmlindsay
4.93/5  rDev +12.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.25

My wife and I live in New York state, and have extensive experience with pubs and taverns in NYC and up and down the East Coast. I lived in California for eleven years some time ago, and we both looked forward to the chance to return again to the Left Coast, about which we both have many fond memories. In preparation for the trip I scanned Beer Advocates reviews of San Francisco's offerings in this respect and developed a list of very promising establishments to visit. This review concerns The Monk's Kettle, which topped my list of places to try. I can say with complete honesty that someone with knowledge and respect for beer need travel no farther in search of a full experience of what beer has to offer.

The atmosphere is perfect. Several reviewers led me to believe that the place was too small, but we found it perfect. It is dominated by a longish bar which seats perhaps thirty people and several tables for four and two along the walls, but it was just the right size for the lunchtime crowd that arrived during our visit. Two features dominate the room. One is a large glass window to the street which admits a lot of natural light into the bar, and the second is a gorgeous hand-carved wooden shelf unit that extends to the ceiling approximately 12 feet above the floor. The glass shelves hold a wonderful array of authentic glasses, mostly of Belgian brewers used by Monk's Kettle in the Belgian manner for particular beers of the supplying brewer.

The service, though we were total strangers, made us feel quite like regulars. Questions were readily answered with knowledge and good humor, comments and advice received with smiles, and sincere concern over our satisfaction with what was offered were all in evidence.

The selection was certainly the most complete we have ever seen. Though dominated by Belgian style beers, virtually all styles of beer were offered, both foreign and domestic craft beers. The draft beer menu consisted of two pages single spaced identifying the beer by name, brewer, and a certain helpful characteristics. The bottle list, usefully sorted by category into about a half dozen types covered about five more pages. Importantly, considerable effort is made to keep the menu current. Our printed copy was identified as having been updated two days ago, and even it contained several deletions done by hand in the ensuing hours since the last revision.

Lastly, the food was quite good. We limited ourselves to a pair of appetizers, a cheese plate with pickled winter vegetables with a pork terrine and some steamed mussels. Mussels were exceedingly fresh in a stock containing white wine, herbs and garlic served with fresh bread, and the cheese was a fresh goat cheese. The terrine was a bit dry and needed a bit more pork fat to give it the proper consistency. On the whole, however, Monk's Kettle is without a doubt without peer among the many taverns I have visited in America.

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Photo of jerrytodd
4.48/5  rDev +2.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.75

I'll start out this review by asking this question: Why do craft beer pubs in SF all need to be divey and seedy, with obnoxious music (Toronado) and disgusting washrooms? C'mon!

Well, all I can say is The Monk's Kettle is a very welcome departure from that. Tasteful simplicity aesthetically, with a combination of wood, granite and pleasing tones. Very nice.

Food was off the hook excellent. Way above and beyond what you'd typically find.

Beer selection was very good with a nice tap selection and really thorough bottle selection.

Prices were a tad high but for this experience and quality but I"m not complaining by any means.

Make this a must visit.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.78/5  rDev +9.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.75

This was the most memorable of the beer bars I visited in San Fran. A small place with a great atmosphere and great (and friendly) service.

The tap list here was excellent. About 20 taps with a great variety of breweries and styles. Tap list included a couple of Almanac beers (which are surprisingly hard to find on tap) as well as Aroma Coma and limited releases from Ballast Point among others.

The food here is AWESOME. Make sure you go here for dinner.

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Photo of dirtylou
4.25/5  rDev -3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4

Hit the Monk's Kettle twice on a recent trip to SF - very busy on a Saturday night (crowd-control) and then dead-silent at noon the next day for lunch. Nice array of taps including Supplication and Blind Pig, a few offerings from Golden Road and a variety of belgians.

The bottle list is pretty strong, but seems more shock-appeal oriented, featuring a variety of vintages and whales with hefty price tags.

All the food looked pretty good, and much utilized beer in its preparation. I went with the spent grain and chickpea burger, which was pretty good.

Cool place - dug the ambiance - in a city with border-line disgusting dive bars comprising the heavy hitters in the craft scene, it was nice to see a place with a little elegance. Very pricey though - too bad

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Photo of jalepeno4
4.8/5  rDev +9.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.75 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.75

The Monks Kettle has an excellent selection of hard to find California, national and Belgian beers.
The food is tasty, subtle and well-paired with the beer offerings.
My server was helpful and knowledgeable without being pretentious .
The only knock on the place is that it is tiny and packed.
Get there early or you'll have a long wait.

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Photo of nrb1
4.41/5  rDev +0.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.25

Always a good selection of beers, both on tap and bottles. Also, pretty much always a wait to get in. Both American craft brews and imports are well represented. Lots of Belgian beers. Food menu is limited but good quality. Staff is friendly and knowledgable.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.38/5  rDev 0%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

I am sure everyone says this when they walk in: but that's all the seats? The Monk's Kettle is great. It's like La Trappe, but a hard SoMa vibe. Selection is nice. Lots of different stuff from around the globe and around the neighborhood as well. Food was awesome. I loved the unique selection and stepping out there to do different kinds of things. This should be a must visit for anyone into beer. But might I suggest that you visit for lunch as it's going to be packed and difficult to get sat late at night.

 511 characters

Photo of excalibur
4.8/5  rDev +9.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

An outstanding pub with a great selection of beers: Californian, national and Belgium. A comfortable place with booths and a nice bar. We visited in the early afternoon and it was quiet. We sat at the bar and had enlightening conservation with the very friendly staff. The sweet lady bartender even suggested a great pub in Occidental which we visited. We had an order of pommes frites which are large and very tasty. I highly recommend this pub and we will always make the effort to visit whenever we are in town.

 514 characters

Photo of CraftedBlackout
4.95/5  rDev +13%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

Stopped here my last night in town on a bartenders recommendation. Glad I did. The food was top notch as was the service. Can be a bit of a wait after 5:00 as its first come first serve but grab a seat at the bar and eat there.

For the traffic in this place it was shocking how receptive the staff was and how they kept everyone filled and informed. With the sours in house not sure why you would try anywhere else. Fantastic

Oh and they open some rediculous large formats to serve by the glass with food pairings how great is that.

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Photo of doho95fu
4.55/5  rDev +3.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

Stopped in for a few beers and a snack. Small lively place with a few tables and bar seating for 10 or so. It was President's Day at 3PM and it was packed. Had a seat at the bar and had Racer X on draft. Nice beer served correctly by someone who knew beers. Service was very friendly but not over the top. They give out a bound book which lists their selection which is medium sized and well thought out. Food was good, especially the pretzel roll and the burger. The location is good if you are in the Mission or can use BART, the 19th Street stop. Would stop here again.

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Photo of Sarlacc83
4.43/5  rDev +1.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 5

Stopped here after my flight landed on January 29th. I had avoided this destination because of its price reputation before, but I mustered up the funds this time around. *Cough* Business trip *Cough*

First impression: Tiny. Certainly not a knock on the restaurant, but if you're planning a visit, know this isn't a spread your wings place with lots of empty tables. It's packed, which I very much enjoy in my beer destinations.

Tap list quality was quite good. As expected, there was a good local selection (Reality Czech is a must have every visit to SF, IMO), as well as some Belgian kegs which is rare enough. Prices are 2 or so dollars more than other places for locals, St. Bernardus was a whopping 10.75 for 8 oz. That's more than a 750mL bottle, if you're keeping score. So the selection score gets dinged a bit. It's not really a selection if you can't justify buying the beer for that price, is it? I argue not.

My server was very good. Knowledgeable and patient. Talked me through the menu and paired my meal up with the aforementioned St. B (Business trip, remember?).

Which leads me to why you should visit this place. The food is fantastic. Truly delicious. I chose the Braised Beef Short Ribs over seasonal vegetables and potato puree. Meat falling of the bone, potatoes laced with a light (and awesome gravy)...yes, this is the food of Belgian kings. And the Abt/quad really brought out another level in the meal. 5.0 here and highly deserving.

So, get out your checkbook, forget to the check the prices, and enjoy. Recommended.

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Photo of tewaris
4.25/5  rDev -3%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 3.5

I had a few hours to kill in San Francisco before heading off to other places, so I chose The Monk's Kettle. I had been warned (fairly so) about the relatively higher prices, but chose it anyway because of its proximity to the BART station.

The beer selection was truly great with multiple styles well represented, along with the right dose of rarity. I got to drink Beatification Batch 3 that the bartender was kind enough to hold for me as I waited for my friend (it was their last bottle!). I also had a couple pints of Reality Czech. There were other well known beers on the huge list but one can only drink so much.

The beers were served in the right glassware and the glassware shelf was impressive. Food tasted of high quality, not necessarily equal to tasty, but then there are limited vegetarian options so I didn't have much choice.

Monk's is a crowded place, as one would expect for a top notch beer bar. I am sure it is struggling to keep up with the demand as are the brewers, so expect to wait for a table/spot at the bar; and expect average service in terms of speed. However, I am sure that the staff was doing its best so I can't blame anyone but the demand!

I highly recommend this place, especially for someone out of town like myself.

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Photo of adsomers
4.65/5  rDev +6.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Came here a bit early and just barely beat the dinner rush. Our hipster waitress seemed to have a chip on her shoulder at first but she turned out to be a sweetheart. Beer selection is top notch. We had a Marin seasonal and a De Dolle oerbier. Food was outstanding. We had mussels, frites, Brussels sprouts, winter lettuce salad, and their absolutely fantastic hamburger. The vibe and decor is perfect for what it is, though I do think this place is too small. I heartily recommend Monks Kettle but would advise going mid day to beat the crowds.

 545 characters

Photo of colonelforbin
4.38/5  rDev 0%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

Excellent, if pricey spot for a beer in the Mission. Located only two blocks from BART, Monk's Kettle is very conveniently located, and worth visiting if you are in this part of the city.

Draught list is great, 20 or so beers on tap at all times, and always changing. I stop here from time to time and the selection is constantly rotating. I really like that about this place. The bottle list is very extensive but is honestly way too expensive! Stick to draught beer here, there will be plenty of great offerings.

Pricing is interesting, some beers are served in 8 oz. servings, others in 12, 16 or 20 oz. servings, priced accordingly. Some are priced reasonably well compared to other local spots and some are a bit expensive. Want to emphasize the the great draught selection though, one of the better places in the city for this because it constantly rotates.

Atmosphere is nice, but it's always crowded here, no matter what time of day. They have a small bar, and a few small tables. Also, a few spots to sit/stand to the left of the bar. Many times it can simply be too crowded because this place really is not too big. The owners are opening a new restaurant/bar a few blocks away very soon, so that may alleviate some of the space issues at Monk's Kettle, but we'll see about that.

If you're into beer and you're hanging out in the Mission, stopping by Monk's Kettle is a no-brainer. Check it out.

 1,413 characters

Photo of dgilks
4.34/5  rDev -0.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

The Monk's Kettle offers a really nice environment to enjoy a beer from a wide and varied selection. The interior is really nicely appointed and welcoming while the staff make your time there enjoyable with their quality service and decent product knowledge. The selection of beers was high quality including a range of great local and imported beers. The locals included beers from breweries I didn't see anywhere else during my travels which was nice. I was also impressed by the service provided by staff when I left my bag behind. They found it promptly and had it ready for me when I walked in the door to pick it up. The only down side are the high prices (Pliny for double what it costs at Toronado).

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The Monk's Kettle in San Francisco, CA
Place rating: 4.38 out of 5 with 132 ratings