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 Motchy
1.55/5  rDev -64.6%
vibe: 1 | quality: 2 | service: 1 | selection: 2 | food: 1

Wowwww! Never have I seen a place with such a stupid table policy. We were denied a table to sit at 10:30PM on Friday and were asked to stand around the full bar whilst 3 tables remained spare..

We left and didn't have a beer that time, though I came earlier in the day and the waiting staff were terrible as we'd only ordered a pretzel so that we could sit outside, it was a bit absurd.

Such an odd place, good beer selection but god awful people you'll have to deal with. You can do better for the area

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Photo of Jackolope
2.08/5  rDev -52.5%
vibe: 3 | quality: 1 | service: 1 | selection: 4 | food: 2.25

If you like being talked down to and unparalleled levels of pretension than go to this place. If you enjoy sharing beer with friends AVOID THIS PLACE like the plague. Me and my friend were basically asked to leave because our friend wanted to join us for a beer after we had finished our mediocre food. He came at the end of our meal and sat down next to us, I gave him a sip of my beer and that was enough for the host to come over and explain, "We don't just let people come in here and eat and drink..." It was so absurd I couldn't tell if he was being serious until he made it clear that he wanted us to finish up and leave. Why? I'm still guessing. Mind you it was a Tuesday at 9pm and there were a handful of open tables. When I called management the next day to see if this was some kind of joke my concerns were not taken seriously. If you are in SF there are literally dozens of establishments within walking distance that have comparable selections and MUCH Friendlier service. Hell I'd even say Zeitgeist has friendlier service and they essentially pride themselves on being gruff...

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Photo of largadeer
2.98/5  rDev -32%
vibe: 2 | quality: 3.5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 3 | food: 3.5

Monk's Kettle is a mixed bag. Aesthetically it's pretty nice, lots of dark wood and marble, somewhat Euro looking. It's very small, and also quite popular, which makes things like sitting or even comfortably standing pretty much impossible.

The bar has about 25 taps, which are nicely split between local beers and imports. I see quite a bit of Moonlight and Russian River here, which is hard to complain about. What I can complain about are the prices, which are completely absurd. Expect to pay anywhere from $8 to $12 or more for beers that you can find at other local bars for literally half the price. They do have the occasional value beer, but it's rarely anything special.

The bottle list is pretty decent, and they've got a solid selection of vintage beers, but again, the prices are laughably high. I feel bad for anyone gullible enough to pay their prices.

Food is pretty good - trendy, expensive pub fare, largely organic and local. Nothing amazing, but always good. They also get a nod from me for keeping the kitchens open until 1 AM.

This spot seemed promising when they first opened, but I'm afraid it's been downhill since then. Best avoided, check out The Trappist in Oakland for a similar selection at better prices.

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Photo of alfrantzell
3.06/5  rDev -30.1%
vibe: 2 | quality: 4 | service: 2.5 | selection: 3

The Monk's Kettle is a delightful gastro-pub in the Mission District. With a menu of artisan micro-beer and locally-sourced organo-grub, it's just the place to break bread with my be-whiskered brethren on a warm Wednesday night.

The food: there are so many sumptuous morsels. I can't tell you how many times I've come here to gorge myself on vegan chili and baby arugula. But sometimes I like something simple - the proverbial pretzel to go with my proverbial beer, perhaps? At $8.75 the giant crafted pretzel-bread is pricey, but who am I to argue with sustainable mustard? It's downright rustic.

The beer: something is sure to prick up your palate. The selection is ginormous; many are the afternoons I've spent supping samplers at the bar. A crisp ten dollar bill gets you a crisp glass of Pliny the Elder, a lip-smacking DIPA. Or you could splurge on a goblet of earthy Belgiana - an 8 oz pour of Petrus' Oud Bruin goes for a mere $11.50, and 12 oz of the luscious Maredsous Tripel goes for $13.75. Hold me back. They even have the occasional gravity-keg on the manual-pump.

The service: Monk's Kettle extends its observance of the Slow Food movement to its preparation and even the seating before the meal is served. Some of my fellow locovores gripe about it, but I like to think Monk's is preventing repetitive-strain injuries.

Besides, it gives you time to breathe in that refreshing Mission ambiance.

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Photo of HookemHoos
3.2/5  rDev -26.9%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 4 | service: 1.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3.75

The service was awful. They had a good selection of beers, but nothing that you couldn't find in other, less pricey bars in the same neighborhood.

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Photo of mactrail
3.48/5  rDev -20.5%
vibe: 1.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.25

I will grant that this is a place with plenty of interesting beers that seem to be chosen more for weirdness and rarity, which will please many. For those who pursue the top 500 list, you can get a nip of Fantome Saison, Sucaba, and Abyss if you're willing to pay the price. I objected to the $8.75 pirce for the 10 oz American Pale ale from Santa Cruz, but you can get a whole pint of Firestone DBA for the same price, so you can say it's just San Francisco.

The other nice thing is the wall of glassware between the tall carved back bar endpieces. But the noise is so deafening with people yelling over the sound system. It's so cramped and uncomfortable, no matter how good it looks, I drink my one beer and get out. The food is also lovely and they seemed to be selling a lot of the $17 burgers. The fried chicken wins the beauty award. You can see the food menu as well as current beers online, which is also a plus if you're looking for a reason to visit on any given day. But go when it's warm enough to sit at the few sidewalk tables-- though the time I noticed empty seats was a damp, chilly evening.

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Photo of pants678
3.5/5  rDev -20.1%

Seating's pretty tight, brews are generally local on draft but not necessarily. Prices vary in a wide range, little obnoxious. Good bottle list, fair number of high end Belgians present.

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Photo of nmoreilly
3.63/5  rDev -17.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 2 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Checked this place out on a rainy Thursday night whilst in SF on business. It was quite busy. I was warmly greeted at the door and proceeded to belly up at the bar.

A very good selection of beers with focus being west of the Rockies and Belgium. The things that immediately stuck out to me were Pliny the Elder,Fullers London Porter, Stone Pale, Downtown Brown. For me there was never a doubt: Pliny the Elder. I had 2 pints of Pliny and a Pint of Stone PA. Food was good. I had a burger. Cooked properly, with fries without a long wait.

In general I have to say I like this place and I would recommend it. On the positive side it has a great selection of beers, good food and a pleasant atmosphere. On the negative side, I felt the bar staff came across as slightly indifferent. I couldn't help but feel that if youre not a regular that thay are happy to take your money, but thats about it.

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Photo of BoulderBill
3.88/5  rDev -11.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3

Visiting from Boulder, Colorado it was nice to see the appreciation for Avery brews persists, and it was great to see some more obscure Oskar Blue's brews like Mama's Little Yella Pils, one of my favorite pilsners around.

I stayed away from the great selection of Belgian beers and went with two California ales I didn't recognize. A 'Home Grown Fresh-hopped Ale" from Moonlight Brewing shared the table with a lamb burger and fries. I was not overwhelmed by the beer (subtle, nice hop flavor, but nothing really stood out for me) and was markedly underwhelmed by the lamb burger. The mint in the patty just didn't do it for me, and it was not quite fatty enough to make for a true burger. For desert I tried the Big Eye IPA from Ballast Point Brewing out of San Diego. Maybe I don't get out much, but I had not heard of this brewery even though I do travel to San Diego on occasion. This was quite a hoppy beer, and relatively complex. A nice one to be sure.

Overall, it was great to see such an impressive selection and to find some new California beers. It might be worthwhile trying something on the Entree section of the menu next time just to see what they're really about on the food front.

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Photo of JoeySchlitz
3.9/5  rDev -11%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

This has become my one of my mainstays in the city to have a great beer and some good food. The tap list changes at a pretty good pace but not too quickly so you can get a chance to try out something if you see it online a few days earlier. And they get some really good stuff on tap on occasion like a few months ago when I was able to get more than a few glasses of barrel aged TenFidy (which was fantastic). 

The place can get pretty crowded so if you come with a group (any more than 2 people) it's going to be a pretty long wait if not impossible to get a table. There are some times in the afternoon when it's not as busy but more and more there's a crowd at all times. (Update edit: Increasingly so crowded that it's impossible to get a table or even into the bar as they are at capacity - ahh.. the joys of the overcrowded, over-hyped mission). 

As mentioned before the wait staff is pretty cool (in spite of the crowds) and usually can offer some input on various beers that are either on tap or from the bottle list. And the bottle list has been steadily improving and usually has some outstanding stuff but for a price (it's usually a 2x markup from City Beer Store or other quality retailers).

Overall this place is really what a beer / restaurant should be. There's no attitudes and the atmosphere is laid back. Definitely Toronado could learn a few things on how to run a business as well as customer service but I don't think that will happen any time soon (or at all).

Keep up the good work MK!

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Photo of nickd717
3.9/5  rDev -11%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

Let me start by saying that if money is no object, this is an excellent place. The beer selection is great and the food is amazing. You can find great limited beers like The Bruery Papier and Russian River Supplication way after they're gone from all local stores. Unfortunately for most of us who aren't Bill Gates, the Google founders, a big-time professional athlete, or an evil, greedy investment banking executive, money is a thing. Well, that is, until we go to Monk's Kettle. After that, the thing in our wallets that was originally a bunch of money will have completely disappeared.

This place is really, really, ridiculously expensive and marks up beer like most nice restaurants do with wine. I just think that 2.5x or higher wine mark-ups are insane and people are crazy to pay them, and I enjoy the fact that great beer can still be had with a great meal for a reasonable price. Not at Monk's Kettle. You're going to be paying (and I read directly from their beer list) $35 for an AleSmith Speedway Stout (usually $12), $11.25 for a Duvel (usually $3.50), and $28 for a Lost Abbey Judgment Day (usually $10).

However, if you can take the wallet hit and want to impress someone with great food paired with world class beer, this is the place. I had some really excellent food there. There simply aren't many things better than great beer and great food. Last time I went, I had a charcuterie plate, a creamy bowl of tomato soup, and a pulled pork sandwich, along with a La Trappe Isid'Or, a Ballast Point Sculpin IPA, and an '05 North Coast Old Stock Ale (reasonably priced surprisingly!). All were incredible.

Monk's Kettle can really wow you, but you're going to have to hand over the majority of your paycheck for the pleasure. Oh yeah, and it gets crowded and they don't typically take reservations. Go before 6:30 for a weekend dinner unless you want to wait hours for a table. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm heading to Monk's Kettle to shell out $85 for a beer dinner. D'oh! *Final note: I should also add Jermaine Dupri and Jay-Z to the list of people who don't think money is a thing, since they had a song specifically called, "Money Ain't a Thing."

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Photo of SeeingMeansMore
3.93/5  rDev -10.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.75

Photo of jdense
3.94/5  rDev -10%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Visited 4.3.10 early pm during SFO beer tour.

Very small establishment, less than 10 tables and about 12 seats at bar with 6-8 seats on ledge next to open kitchen. 24 taps, very high quality, but prices are quite expensive, $7.75 for Pliny, and $11.25 for Lucifer after paying $8 at Le Trappe the night before. Extensive bottled list, once again very high quality and very very expensive, $12.75 for HOTD Fred and Adam, not much value in the beer offerings. Nice looking Belgian-style menu, once again high priced, but it looked quite tasty. I don't know if they are trying to be like Le Trappe, but the vibe isn't as cool. Really nice help, and I had a nice conversation with a well-traveled Scandinavian gentlemen. If looking for quality beer and above average food, albeit at a very high price, this is someplace to visit, though there isn't much value to this up and coming beer bistro.

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Photo of francisweizen
4/5  rDev -8.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

This place is good. A nice small bar area and few tables with some nice pics on the bay area up on the wall. Quality of the beer s I tried was pretty good and I did not get a chance to try the food. Still, this place was pretty cool. About 16 drafts and quite a few bottles as well. Nothing I have not had before, but that is kinda bar for the course these days. They did have $21 1 oz samples of utopias which is kinda cool even though the markup is hardcore on the drafts and bottles. Seriously for 16th and mission the prices here are HIGH. The service was decent but kinda slow, but than again this place is brand new, so I will give them the benefit of the doubt, and give them some time.

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Photo of chelovek
4/5  rDev -8.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

The place opened up in December of 07 but they seem to have settled in quite nice already. It is a small place but it is definitely cozy and packed with quality. The tap and bottle selection is well thought out and is all top choice. Each bottled beer on the menu had a quip about the style and a recommended pairing was provided on the food menu for each plate. The bartender and staff were extremely friendly and knowledgeable. Proper glass where was provided for each beer, my Houblan Chouffe coming in the specific glass brought that extra little touch I always enjoy. Some beers were pricy some were very reasonable but the quality of the place in its entirety made it worth it. The food was pretty darn good as well, everything being very, very fresh. I have used the word quality a whole bunch of times in this review but I think that pretty much sums up the place, a high quality beer bar with an extremely well thought out selection with great service. A repeat place without a doubt and worth going your way out of to visit. Just two blocks walk from the bart 16th exit in The Mission so get off your lazy ass and check it out.

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Photo of RBassSFHOPit2ME
4/5  rDev -8.7%

Photo of AngusOg
4/5  rDev -8.7%

Photo of PeprSprYoFace
4/5  rDev -8.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

First ill start off on the location of this place. Itis in a ghetto freakin part of San Fran and when i got off at the bart station, there were drug deals, prostitution, and people talking to themselves all in front of me. Never seen so much gow down all at once.

Any way despite all that it is actually kind of a nice place. Its wierd how in this area there are like nice places mixed in with the getto. there was a nice whine bar down the street as well. It seems like alot of "hipsters", as people on here like to call them on here, were eating there and that area has alot in general.

The service was good, our bartender was cool and giving us tasters of stuff and talking to us. He did talk about how he smokes weed all the time though and he also looked like a hipster.

Their food was pretty good, all of it being hipster organic food and what not but all in all this place seemed to cater towards the people that live in that area.

Cool place but not really somewhere to go out of the way for.

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Photo of Kishanti
4/5  rDev -8.7%

Photo of braddo
4/5  rDev -8.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

This bar by far had the most impressive selection of beers out of the places we visited. Pretty expensive and a tad snooty. Once again, I like beer people and want more of them but not the ones who try to make beer a pretentious beverage. Don't be so serious! Small place but not too crowded. Service was good but again, the bar keep was a little snooty. Order a few app's and they were tasty but a little expensive. It's worth the visit for a few good beers but if you stay too long you'll run up a big tab.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
4/5  rDev -8.7%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

I stopped here for the first time this week, while in town on business. It's smaller than I expected from the website, and also set up physically more as a bar with tables rather than a restaurant that happens to have a good beer selection. But in general the food was excellent, the kitchen is cranking out some good stuff.

We sat at the bar where there are about 15 seats, but there's also seating for another 20 or so people at tables (which run the length of the bar itself). Not unpleasant, kind of upscale feeling which was odd compared with the neighborhood. The beer selection was very good, about 25 taps (I didn't actually count though), including some good CA beers such as Russian River, Stone, Lost Abbey, Moonlight, and Firestone. Also some good Belgian names (St Bernardus, D'Achouffe, etc) and a choice few UK and German beers. The bottle list is good too but I didn't spend much time with it. One cask ale which was served from a tap in a barrel, no hand pump (just gravity).

The prices were high, higher than Toronados by about $3 per pour. So I probably won't be coming back here just for beer, but the food was excellent so it's not out of the question for dinner.

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Photo of Rollzroyce21
4/5  rDev -8.7%

Photo of BarrytheBear
4.06/5  rDev -7.3%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.25 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Photo of route66pubs
4.08/5  rDev -6.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

I must preface this review with the following:

Fortunately, my wife and I visited here in the afternoon on a Saturday and were able to get a table right away. A couple of brews and some food later, we left. Attempting to return that evening with a friend proved fruitless, as we were greeted with "we're full" at the door. We were given the option of being on the 2-hour waiting list for a table (it was already close to 9pm) or just hanging out at the door and waiting and hoping that someone would leave. Seriously, folks, if you are that busy, get a bigger place. That seemed a bit ridiculous to me, and hence the reason for the deduction in the service score. Our wait staff during the afternoon was great, however.

All that being said, the afternoon visit was great. Atmosphere was good with a lot of friendly people hanging around. Food was delicious, albeit at San Francisco prices (see my comments on La Trappe for more on that). Service was good while actually inside, and selection was pretty amazing. Somewhere I would go to again, but not worth a two-hour wait just to get in.

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Photo of cleverbeername
4.13/5  rDev -5.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

I like the walk in only style. made a door reservation and was quoted an hour, turned out to be half that time (big point for the over estimate). small place with nice decor, not over the top crap on the walls kinda of place but not overtly sterile and artsy. staff was on it, well versed, polite, timely (i did however get upsold from $12 to $35 without the server disclosing the price, but good for him for pulling it off, i respect sales and its my bad for not asking or looking). Food was great, paired nice and was creative. i left happy, not over stuffed full of greasy bar food. price is spot on beer geeks should be weary to label this as too pricey. non business owners need to understand the fine balance of paying good staff for front and back of the house and cover turn ratio, so i think again its spot on. as a last note, this would be hard to pull off out of a larger city.

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