Went here on a Thursday night as part of a mini north beach pub crawl and also once to grab food with a friend. Sat downstairs both occasions.
Atmosphere is cozy, slightly rustic, and perfect for knocking back a pint of two while enjoying the company of friends, having a snack/meal, or just hanging solo.
The beer menu is impressive an well-organized. Though I can't recall the number of available taps, I do know they're varied in style and ample enough in number to satisfy the palette desires of most craft beer drinkers.
The bottle selection is categorized in an easy-to-read menu and makes for a time-consuming read if you're looking for a way to pass the time.
I never waited long for a refill, either at the bar or at a table. Bartenders were friendly and knowledgeable and helpful to recommend beers based on your personal tastes.
Last time I ordered food, we split the mussels and fries and were very pleased with both.
Came here midweek with an out-of-town guest. We were able to get a seat at the bar. I had beer while my guest had wine and they accommodated both of us. Belgian-heavy, obviously, with local and international breweries well represented. Prices were on par for the area, service was beyond excellent, and they accommodated my request to grill, not fry, the portabella.
This bar is awesome. We walk in and I was sure that we walked into an open, run down kitchen with a few tables: empty. Then I saw the stairs welcoming us down to where the actual, what you think of when you think, "Belgian ba"r. Spiraling staircase down to a dimly lit, low ceilinged, brick and wooden beamed Belgian dreamland. Then you're offered the beer list. As heavy as a baby and just as previous.
Atmosphere- Like a slice of Europe. The downstairs bar, in particular, makes you feel like you're in Brugge. Clearly a beer-centric place, filled with beer-loving people.
Quality- Everything about this place- the glassware, draught lines, and the establishment itself was clean and quality.
Service- We got there right when they opened... so it wasn't too packed. But the bartender really knew his stuff, made some great suggestions, and was super-prompt and friendly.
Selection- They didn't have the largest selection. I was familiar with nearly everything on their menu... but this is not to discount the QUALITY of their selection. All were solid beers, and you certainly won't be disappointed.
Value- This was somewhat pricey... but overall worth the price for an occasional visit.
They have a great selection of beer on tap and an ok bottle list. Most of the offerings tend to gravitate toward Belgian styles. When I went I had a glass of Temptation. Expect to find on tap Duvel Green, Allagash, La Chouffe, Chimay White, and Koningshoeven Quadruple. The bottle list encompasses beers from all over the world, but Belgium gets the most coverage.
I found the bartenders to be very friendly. Since I knew what I wanted, I can't speak to how knowledgeable they are.
I passed on food when I went, but every table had frites and I heard a few people mention that their food was good.
The prices were about the same as most Belgian beer bars. I did not pay any attention to how much they were charging for bottles.
6th Feb 2013: my wife and I visited the basement. We could only have a table if eating because the joint was almost full, as the wife doesn't like sitting at the bar we were shown to a small unlit square at the rear. I had to stand by the kitchen corridor to read the beer menu it was so dark where they put us, smart, modern, comfortable but just too dark.
The barman helped a lot, but not one American beer I wanted on the menu was in stock (I visit Belgium often, so wasn't really interested in that selection, huge though it was), so I had three Canadian beers. All in good condition.
The food looked good from where we sat and as I blocked the service corridor beer searching I got a closer look on occasions.
All in all a cool place, busy and friendly staff, just a pity about their US selection stock
Visited both lower bar and upper restaurant. Got there shortly after the bar was opened at 5, and later went upstairs for dinner.
Atmosphere: Cozy little joint downstairs. Plenty of tables, but it fills up fast. The bar chairs were already filled up when I got there 15 minutes after it opened. All wood and brick downstairs, with booths and small tables for parties anywhere from 1 (myself) to 8. Impressive layout of Belgian beer signs and glassware behind the bar suggesting this is Belgian beer heaven outside of Belgium. Upstairs (well, ground floor really, it's where you enter) is equally cozy - not many tables, but well lit and airy with a high ceiling and kitchen nearby. The downstairs is a place to have several beers and dwell upon them. Upstairs is just what you want when you get hungry after those beers - food is emphasized but you still get the great beer.
Quality: I don't think I can do this place justice on the quality of the beers available. Rare and great Belgian beers and Belgian style beers from around the world here. "No crap on tap" would be an accurate statement to make here. The only trappist ale they didn't have was Westvleteren.
Service: Very friendly given the small staff (2 behind the bar, 1 roaming) versus the large clientele (every table and chair filled downstairs). I watched the servers listen to the orders, look for the right glass, pour it, and if it spilled over, they even got out the knife to level off the foam from the top and then wipe down the glass. I watched another bartender open a corked bottle for a party of four and then proceed to serve them at the bar leaving the sediment behind. Later when I went up for dinner upstairs the waiter was equally friendly and made sure I got everything I needed without being too hovering.
Selection: 15 different beers on tap - way too much selection. It was hard to pick what to have on tap. The bottle menu was even longer - broken down alphabetically by country with the Belgian selection alone taking up probably 15-16 pages in the huge beer menu. Far and away the most extensive beer menu I've ever seen.
Food: Good and tasty. I wasn't very hungry so I ended up having the beer and cheese soup and the sliders as they were out of the puff-pastry chicken. The food went very well with the beer I was having at the time (Petrus Winterbier) and the portion sizes were just right.
For value....The beer prices were high for a 25cl or 33cl glass, but....if you're paying for this selection imported all the way from Belgium you're going to need to be willing to pay. Food prices I would say are quite reasonable, but beer prices - this is a place you save up for a treat, not an every night experience. Well....I would love to drink here every night but I know I would quickly wreck my banking account on this place.
We love this place. Go downstairs and the room is a brick lined grotto with comfortable seating and playing good rock music, but not too loud on a powerful system. They have an extensive Belgium beer book listing some pretty high priced beers but there are also about 6-10 reasonably priced draft Belgiums served in beautiful appropriate glassware priced between $7-$12. The servers are very knowledgeable and helpful in making your selection. I think their mussels are great and are cooked in many different ways. We also enjoyed the pommes frites and a tasty roasted beet and avacado sandwich. They open at 5 or 5:30 depending on the day and I suggest you arrive early as it can get crowded. I believe the kitchen opens at 6. If you like fine Belgium ales this is a place you must visit if in town.
The cellar scene at the Trappe provides good ambience, a good list of beers and nice Belgian food, that is if you like mussels and not much (nothing) else. The main negative points are the exorbitantly high prices, one assumes to pay for the rent and the owners pension plans, and the atrocious Musak you are forced to listen to, while having a beer. The super high prices certainly don't make anybody want to hang around and try more beers. The waiters knew little about the beers they offered so a discussion on whether they had nice blondes rather than Flemish sour red ales was not clear, so I ended up with the latter by mistake.
I'm sure I've mentioned numerous times how rare it is for me to walk into a place and find something available that really blows me away. Bødegal on tap? Ha! Say what?! Bring it on. (Even at $14 a pour.) Beyond this singular rarity on draft, the list here is utterly insane. It's a whole book broken down to a really precise degree on differentiation. Man that's a long word (differentiation). It really preaches to the scope and depth of all the beer that is out there. And also to the commitment of this establishment in its entirety. And on note regarding the establishment: world class. Beautifully setup with a small upstairs dining area, with kitchen. Keep an eye out for the stairs that lead to the downstairs bar and seating area. Overall, the vibe seems quite pure to me. Genuine, earthly rustic (in an urban kind of way) and real. I hear this place gets insanely busy, and it isn't hard to see why. The prices are "high," but who cares. You get what you pay for here. And it's definitely worth it. A must for any beer lover or human being with a personality.
On vacation in San Francisco and me and my girlfriend went out of our way to go to this place. Decent tap list and huge bottle list which was way overpriced even for imports. We each ordered a beer from the tap list. When the head subsided on my girlfriends beer 2 dead fruit flies were found in it, no flies were seen anywhere around the table or anywhere in the bar for that matter just under a good 3 inches of head. When this was mentioned to the waiter all we were offered was another beer from the same dirty tap line. Overall this was the worst experience either of us has had at any bar or restaurant in any part of the country.
Came here for the first time with high expectations. The draft list was fairly interesting with about a dozen mostly Belgian or Belgian style beers available--enjoyed a Bear Republic Tartare and a Dieu du Ciel Solstice D'hiver ($12 for a 10 oz tulip glass). The waiter knew his beers and the beers ordered were served cold and in appropriate glasses. A few of the taps were out and there were no replacements offered. It was a Thursday night at 9:30. I ordered an appetizer of moules made with a Belgian dark ale, which were tasty but they were served half cold-- they had been sitting in the open on a drafty shelf while waiting for someone to bring them to the table. The waiter didn't appear again after the food was served and I had no beer to drink with them, so I had to get up and ask the kitchen staff to summon our waiter to the table. We were the only table in the upstairs dining area and the waiter was spending most of his time downstairs in the bar area. We probably would have been better served downstairs.
I was thinking of going for my birthday dinner today, but with that experience and noting that last night the whole place was closed "due to a situation that is out of our control. We need a day to make things right. Thank you for understanding" I punted on that idea. Makes me wonder what really is going on there.
An appetizer and two beers put me back $40, and with slack wait service, I don't think I'll be going back there for an entire dinner until they straighten themselves out.
La Trappe has a modest length list of Belgian beers on tap, a long list of bottles (quite pricey though), and your basic list of Cali cuisine appetizers and entrees which are above average for the style. The downstairs area is small and crowded, but provides the best atmosphere. The food ranges from about 10-25 bucks for dinner and you probably won't be able to find a beer under $7. Nonetheless, come here with some time, and money, and you won't be disappointed. Overall, La Trappe is a fun place to grab some tasty belgians and good food.
Visited during AGU on the night of the Squid Ink debut.
Great vibe and decor. Not sure what the upstairs is about (overflow), but the downstairs is very cozy and has a great Belgian beer-bar atmosphere. We had a large party so got to sample a large variety of food and brews - all were great. Really enjoyed the seafood and the sauces that come with the fries. Great selection of drafts, leaning heavily on Belgian imports. Would like to see more quality domestic draft choices, but that is my bias.
Service was friendly and knowledgeable; a bit slow, but it was super busy. Great if you can wind down and hang out - plan ahead so your glass isn't empty long.
This was a must stop on our trip to San Fran. We were a bit apprehensive since it was a Saturday night but our fears were squashed instantly upon walking through the door. The place was near empty. Now I had heard the downstairs level was "the" place to be. So of course we made a bee line for the stairs. Surprise! That's where everybody was. Packed wall to wall. Back upstairs we grabbed a table and ordered food and drinks. The beer menu was like a dream come true. Sours sours and more sours. I ordered an amazing beef stew for my meal. Then there was the service. Our server was fantastic. He was covering tables downstairs and everything upstairs as well and still made sure we were never without a beer. After finishing dinner and several bottles we made our way downstairs to soak in that atmosphere. Very glad we did. The vibe down there was great. What an awesome place to eat and drink.
I've been to La Trappe a few times in the past for a drink as I enjoy the atmosphere. Downstairs in the brick and wood lined basement bar area is the best experience, dimly lit and intimate. Main drawback is that is where everyone else wants to be as well so it is almost always full and crowded so try to grab a seat early. The other drawback is that the service downstairs is also not the best there are times where no one stops by to offer to take your order.
Beer selection is excellent, with 19 taps with mainly Belgian offerings you won't see in some other bars, and some choice beers from US and Germany. There is also the leather bound beer menu/book with the extensive bottle list, but the pricing is very unreasonable for opening bottles there so stick to the tap list.
Finally had dinner at La Trappe with some friends recently as well. The fries are excellent, soft and creamy on the inside with a very crisp exterior, and come with a choice of two dipping sauces from a list of 10 options (the wasabi mayo and the roasted garlic were my favorite). The moules frites were very good, perfectly cooked mussels in a flavorful broth. The beef stew was deeply flavored but the meat was slightly over cooked.
Price for the food was decent, but the beer prices can be a little pricey, but worth it for a nice drinking and dining experience in case you want to experience a bar similar to ones you might find in Belgium.
When I first walked in I noticed a large open kitchen with some servers standing around and a few tables with no one eating. Then I spotted the staircase and heard a bit of crowd in the basement. So I headed down and saw a cool little area, plenty of brick loads of tables, and a very tiny bar. Very laid back and comfortable.
I took the last bar stool and was handed a large book from the bartender. This beer list covers a large quantity of belgian beers that you can't find in other areas of San Francisco (based on my 8 days here). There were over 10 beers on draft, mostly belgians like Val Dieu, Affligem, and LaChouffe, but some others from Victory, Ommegang, and Sierra Nevada's Life and Limb 2. There is no liquor served here which was a problem for my friend that didn't drink beer. The beers I had were super fresh but expensive which I didn't mind for the one time visit.
I did not have an opportunity to eat any food, but what I saw coming out looked very good. The service was prompt and extremely knowledgable which made the experience better. I could see this place getting very crowded on the weekends, but mid-week it was not too crowded.
Luckily a cable car stop is right outside the building, allowing me to jump on to get back to my hotel on the other side of the city.