Blue Monk

Blue MonkBlue Monk
Blue MonkBlue Monk
Bar, Eatery

727 Elmwood Ave
Buffalo, New York, 14222-1638
United States

// CLOSED //

View: Place Reviews
Reviews: 47 | Ratings: 83 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of SpoiledInVT
SpoiledInVT from Vermont

3.51/5  rDev -19.9%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 3.5

If you're looking for a pretentious beer bar, with snobby and self-centered staff, this is your place! A truly impressive tap list is marred by the poor attitude of the staff, coupled with overrated food and your quintessential beer-snob clientele. After having two beers and a poor rendition of "duck fries", all while in a crowded and stale-smelling space, I happily paid my bill and got out. Pass.

Mar 26, 2016
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HoppyBastard1 from Pennsylvania

4.7/5  rDev +7.3%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

Great food, nice beer selection, awesome staff and great layout. Only knock would be parking. If you are in the Buffalo area, the Blue Monk is a must.

Jan 22, 2016
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UrbanCaveman from Illinois

4.53/5  rDev +3.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Tucked away in a quaint part of Buffalo, on a street of storefronts adjacent to blocks and blocks of residences, the Blue Monk is a good spot to stop in for a beer. It was not terribly crowded, even on a Saturday night, with what crowd was present seeming less boisterous and more conversational. Service was quite prompt, and seemed to know a little bit about beer. The tap list was top notch in both variety and quality, well curated. I'd definitely stop in again, were I to find myself in Buffalo for any reason.

Dec 16, 2015
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Goldorak from Canada

4.03/5  rDev -8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

After years of procrastination, I finally kicked myself hard enough in the ass to make the trek to Buffalo. The primary objective of me and my buddies’ visit was Football-related, but Beer was obviously high on the agenda as well. Our hotel was in the outskirts near the university campus, so it made sense to visit the two recommended bars in Elmwood village. We started off here at Blue Monk.
Good lively ambiance on a Saturday evening, the downstairs section was filled up, with no room to belly up at the bar, but a few spots in the standing section by the garage windows. Patrons ranged from mid-20 to 40-somethings out for some fun. We were told by the host that there was a 45 minute wait for a table. No problem, looking at the Beers listed on the chalkboards list I knew I was going to spend some quality time here. Surprise, we barely got our first round half-way done when our table was ready up on the mezzanine.
The décor was mainly Belgian inspired trinkets all over the walls, from old maps to pictures of Belgian royalty, and of course plenty of Beer advertisements, new and old. If they were going for the classic Belgian bar feel, I’d say they nailed it, with the right amount of worn parts to give it a homey feel, but maintained well enough to not give a dive bar vibe. I liked that the bathroom stall was pieced together with parts of old doors.
We weren’t famished and only ordered a few appetizers, which clearly ticked off our assigned waitress. She warmed up a bit after we kept ordering rounds, but overall didn’t add much positive to the experience. She couldn’t answer any of my Beer-related questions, but was quick to fill our water glasses and bring our order, so it deserves a passable grade I suppose.
The apps we got were pretty good, we went for Calamari and fries. The ketchup with truffle oil was a fascinating mix; I’m definitely going to add that to my repertoire next time I invite guests over. The rest of the menu and the neighboring tables’ plates looked fine, but we had a huge lunch so we kept it light.
The Beer list had variety, with local brews and micros from all over the US, and some good to great imports from all over, be it Québec (Dieu du Ciel and Unibroue), the UK, Belgium and Germany. Two cask ales were served gravity-style on the bar. From Dogfish Head to Firestone Walker, Weisenstephaner to St-Bernardus 12, from entry-level lagers to funky bretty brews, they seem to cover pretty much every angle here. Awesome! If I really was fishing for something to criticize, it would be that the tap lineup was a bit high ABV-heavy. So not much of a complaint! Prices were a bit on onerous, but the beers were top shelf and tasted fresh.
Overall, I can see why this place tops the list in Buffalo. Next time I’m in town I’ll be back for sure.

Dec 08, 2015
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Wingalls from New York

4.69/5  rDev +7.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 3.75 | selection: 5 | food: 5

Awesome spot. It gets slammed so service can be a tad slow, but it's not because the staff isn't trying their hardest. Amazing food to go with amazing beer. Expect to spend ~$17 for a great burger and a beer.

Feb 17, 2015
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madnismo from Florida

4/5  rDev -8.7%

Im giving the bar and beer selection a 4 ONLY. The food and sous chef suck balls! She cant cook, the fish was under cooked. the burger wasnt even cooked, i ordered medium rare it wasnt even rare..she argued about it to me...and over cooked the mac & cheese. she really sucks...If you are looking for a beer, great place though!

Sep 17, 2014
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jwjon1 from Pennsylvania

3.02/5  rDev -31.1%
vibe: 3 | quality: 2 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.75

In Buffalo on business, and as per usual, sought out a highly rated bar for after work beers.

Walked in and was immediately hit in the face with the stench of stale beer. Not a great first impression, though it did take me back to my college days. Grabbed a seat at the bar and studied the tap list, being immediately greeted by a bar tender who was very nice and patient. The tap list was decent, with a large number of Belgian beers (no surprise). What was surprising was the lack of locals. One Community IPA, and a Southern Tier on nitro. Nothing on the list really screamed must try, or even, can't find this most places, so went with the Community.

My second impression was even more of a disappointment than my first: my pint tasted like the line hadn't been cleaned for some time. I can't tell you the last time I had a pour from dirty lines, but the rancid taste is unmistakable.

I had planned on enjoying a few beers and eating dinner here, but I was so turned off with the apparent lack of hygiene of the place that I went elsewhere after one beer.

Given the great reviews of the place, I'll assume I just caught them at a bad time. I was definitely unimpressed.

Jul 01, 2014
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GreesyFizeek from New York

4.51/5  rDev +3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 5 | food: 4

The best beer bar in Western New York. Nestled right in the heart of Elmwood Village.

Everybody knows about Blue Monk, so it gets a bit crowded. With good reason- the beer selection is outstanding. It's sort of got a Belgian beer bistro feel to it, and there's always some good Belgians on tap, as well as occasion 3F and Cantillon bottles, but the selection is so much more than that. They carry great local microbrewery Community Beer Works all the time, have some great Southern Tier, Ithaca, and Ellicotville local brews, has other great US craft breweries of every kind and location, and then a ton of other international beers from countries most beer bars don't even touch. I've had a smoked imperial stout from Iceland (Lava) a big, beefy porter from Finland (Sinebrychoff) a tasty IPA from Sweden (Dugges High Five!) and an earthy Italian saison (Nuova Mattina). Lots of Evil Twin on tap most of the time as well. One of the most varied and inventive tap lists I've ever seen. Incredible that this place exists in Buffalo!

The food is good, but typically expensive. They have all of the usual Belgian beer bar food suspects- pommes frites, mussels, etc, etc. Only had food there once and I enjoyed it.

The beer is expensive, but understandably so. Some of the kegs had to have been hard to acquire. Their bottle list is very pricey, but I've never dabbled with it. Pricey is somewhat ok if you can order Cantillon, though, so there's that.

Must stop. Go now!

Jan 24, 2014
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EdFlynn from New York

4.81/5  rDev +9.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 5

Best Belgian / Gastropub in Northeast!!!! Tried Monks Café in Philly and others In NYC but Blue Monk is better for atmosphere, location, menu and outdoor/café experience. Much better service/attitude than Monk's Café (not rude and cute waitresses) and food is aligned with beer. Blue Monk is part of Buffalo dynasty for restaurants with Coles, Brennans and Liberty Hound.

Oct 14, 2013
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rhubyrhod from Missouri

4.61/5  rDev +5.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 5 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.25

We stopped through Buffalo on a long driving trip from St. Louis to Nantucket, and I wasn't too excited about our options given the first few exits we tried. Then I hit up the always-reliable beeradvocate review section. Man, were me my wife and I super pumped about finding this place. FIrst off, it's set in a very nice part of Buffalo, sort of older established nice homes, very well maintained with a bohemian of vibe about the area. Very cool, lots of little shops, young and old people walking around, etc. Reminded me of a neighborhood you might find in Chicago.

Anyway, this place rules. Very laid back with an open-air front, a few covered tables outside, seating on the ground floor and some upstairs.

The major focus on the beers is towards belgians, light and dark, many saisons and pilsners, a few porters, stouts and browns, and 5-6 IPAs, and just as many IIPAs. Overall a great beer selection, something for everyone. We sat at the bar, and the two women behind the counter were very friendly, knowledgeable about the beers, offered plenty of samples, and just made the vibe that much more enjoyable.

The food is also outstanding. There's is a slight bend to European-style pub food, 4 types of mussels (the red curry ones were excellent), frites, a few(!) duck confit options, amazing duck poutine, dude next to us had a burger that looked phenomenal, and the rest of the menu seemed pretty solid.

Overal, A+, we would absolutely go back. If you are in the area or just driving through, I would make a concerted effort to stop by and grab a seat at the bar, grab a pint and order anything on the menu.

Jun 27, 2013
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sliverX from S. Georgia & S. Sandwich Isls.

4.29/5  rDev -2.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.25

Likely the best tap list in the city for imports and especially sours.
Very limited menu but I have never been disappointed in my orders. Slight issues with my gluten free partners meal once but was remedied with a round on the server. We waited almost an hour for food that was then made with gluten rich toppings she specified to not be on the salad and the kitchen tried to get away by just "scrapping" them off. She said she won't go back but I'm not against it.

Mixed experiences with servers knowing their beers and being clueless to beer but if you're here you should have a clue what you're looking at anyway.

Gets a bit packed and way too hip on weekends. Have witnessed many a crushed dream of some bro all shored up looking for sloots and ordering a Bud Light ...
This is not a cheap date kind of place, is a small "room" and can be busy but the taplist makes you ignore all of that.

Jun 09, 2013
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Gmanofleisure from New York

4.98/5  rDev +13.7%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

I've lived in Buffalo for a while, and Blue Monk has been one of the most welcome additions to the area in a long time. I guess it starts with the beer - so you can expect 30 high quality on tap in addition to an outstanding bottle list. Selection is a nice balance of American craft along with Belgians and others.

Service is outstanding. With just one exception, the bartenders are friendly, fun, quick, and totally happy about sharing their beer knowledge with the customers. The rest of the staff is also super! Barbacks, wait staff, and management is the best our area has.

Being vegan, I can't comment on too much of the food, but can vouch for the vegan frites, which are the best. My family likes the mussels and duck reubens.

We like attending the almost weekly tasting events- always introducing a new beer to the area or focusing on a certain style. Now that its warm, the beer garden out back enhances the space. Definitely ranks high among beer pubs I've been to anywhere.

May 15, 2013
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Spiderbeerman from New York

4.69/5  rDev +7.1%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.25 | selection: 5 | food: 4.75

This is a great stop for all of you beer connoisseurs. It was a crowded happy vibe that permeates the place. The wait staff is helpful and fun and the food is fabulous. This a great place to hang out after work or later in the night. In the Elmwood Village it is convenient to other bars and restaurants, but once you're here you might as well stay.

May 11, 2013
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Michael_D from New York

4.23/5  rDev -3.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.75

I really like this place. Can usually score a few beers here that you won't be able to anywhere else. (served normally in tulips or snifters, depending on the beer).

It's a little pricey to get dinner and some beers, but with the quality of food and the selection of beers, it's ok.

It gets really packed on Friday and Saturdays, but the rest of the week is reasonable. Service is hit or miss, but as stated before, the beer and food make up for it.

Jan 31, 2013
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vonnegut21 from New York

4.58/5  rDev +4.6%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.75 | food: 5

Let me start by saying my biggest issue with Blue Monk is that I live 5 hours away. Seriously, if I was a local, I would be here multiple times a week.

The atmosphere is great. The bar is an excellent mix of beer geeks, young professionals, hipsters and families. The bar is always high energy and the back picnic area is a nice place to relax.

The quality is second to none in Buffalo. The selection is great. There are 30-35 taps, mostly Belgian, some extremely tough to find in Upstate NY. There are a handful of non-Belgian offerings, mostly local which are also excellent (Pumking is a staple in the late summer/fall).

The food is also very excellent. Easily the best food I've had in Buffalo. The frites fried in rendered duck fat are incredible. Even staples such as mac and cheese are given excellent treatment at Blue Monk.

If you're from anywhere near the area, make it a point to stop here. The best bar/restaurant in Buffalo, bar none.

May 18, 2012
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gabedivision from New York

4.73/5  rDev +8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

A Belgian themed beer garden located in the heart of the Elmwood village, tons of beer on tap, some are always there (delrium, maudite and such) others change quite often. Excellent bottle selection, all types of sours and bitters and trappest beers. All beers are served in appropriate glassware, bartenders and servers are knowledgeable about most of the beers. The food is excellent, very bistro. It is definitely pricy but it is also impossible in Buffalo to find 80% of these beers. Great bar great food, almost impossible to not be elbow to elbow in there however, the bar area is small and always packed.

Mar 31, 2012
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sdj5 from New York

5/5  rDev +14.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

This place is truly wonderful. They have only the best and rarest beers on tap for your enjoyment. They feature Belgian offerings, but are surely not limited to one style. The last time I was there I had Evil Twin Yin Imperial Stout from Denmark and my friend had Delerium Tremens. I want to get there to try Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier! They have a ton of taps and they change all the time. Worth the time, worth the money. It can become very crowded because it is such a popular destination on Elmwood.

Mar 03, 2012
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korguy123 from Canada

4.75/5  rDev +8.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Visited Leap Day with my fiancee for dinner.

It was fairly quiet and we were greeted not only by the bartender but our friendly hostess. We were seated immediately and our server was over in seconds with waters and a friendly hello.

The draught and bottle menu is quite extensive and unfortunately the Stillwater Two Gypsies I wanted was out of stock. My second choice was a kriek that was served in a champagne bucket. The server was a little taken aback when I wanted only one glass (my fiancee can't drink alcohol)

I ordered the Thelonious Burger (medium) with chips and it was fantastic. My fiancee ordered the Poutine and we both agreed it was a tad dry but she enjoyed it anyways.

The atmosphere was comfortable and we actually found parking right in front of the building.

Will definitely be returning.

Mar 01, 2012
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mendonjoebeer from North Carolina

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

Went for lunch with my wife on a friday at 1:00. I was afraid it would be too crowded, but not so. We we seated right away and service was prompt. The food was very good. We had shrimp bisque,their frites,a grilled cheese & a blt.

The draft selection provided many good choices. My wife had a Blanche de Chambly and I had a Bear Republic Mach 10. Both 12oz servings in proper glasses. Unfortunately, they were out of my next 2 choices on the list- Vitus & Van Honsebrouck Kasteel Rouge, but there were many other choices to keep me happy. I finished with a nice German Heffe that I cannot recall the name of. The online draft list is very up to date.

They had a sign out front stating they would be having a fresh cask of Flower Power at 5:00, but we could not stay that long- bummer.

We will return fore sure

Feb 17, 2012
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buffaloipa from New York

4.63/5  rDev +5.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

I feel very fortunate to both live and work cose to this jewel of a tavern. The atmosphere is very nice, though space is limited on busy nights. Great selection of not only Belgians but also many American, European and Canadian craft breweries as well. There are some rarities available here that we just can't find elsewhere in WNY. A nice element IMO is that there is only one television and it stays off unless there is a Sabres or Bills game on. Refreshing to be able to talk to folke in a bar in Buffalo for a change.

The staff behind the bar know their stuff and are always happy to talk beer and provide a sample to taste before dropping $8 on a brew. (Prices are high but worth it IMO)

My last visit I had an Evil Twin Yin RIS (Denmark) to start and then a Weyerbacher Quad (US) with my order of mussels. Both beers were outstanding (and very strong :0 )

The food that I have ordered in the past includes the Duck Frites (fantastic) the Mussels (also delicious) and an Elk Burger (not as fond of that one but how many chances to order Elk do I get?).

I definitely recommend this place to anyone in Buffalo or visiting. It's a great addition to the Elmwood Strip's variety of restaurants, bars and shops and a beer lover's heaven.

Edit: Changed my atmosphere to a 5 as I was thinking of the former occupant of this spot, Merlin's. Perhaps the diviest of dive bars. An amazing reuse of the spot.

Jan 28, 2012
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atomeyes from Canada

4.88/5  rDev +11.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

We were in Buffalo to go to a Sabres game and, when killing time, we decided to go for a pint or 2 at Blue Monk. The name rang a bell after I'd quickly read the Buffalo board ages ago. I said to my wife "let's go inside and see if they have anything worthwhile on tap."

I forgot that we weren't in Toronto anymore; never mind "worthwhile"! The tap selection was amazing. 30 taps available an I could have easily had 20 of them. The choices range from area-ish microbrews to Belgian must-haves to Belgian hard-to-gets.

I have no qualms paying $8 for a larger tulip glass of a nice Belgian beer. They're hard to get. We're not talking about Monday Nite Molson Canadian $1 Pints. So while its on the expensive side, I expect to pay for quality and selection.

The staff: our bartender was incredibly nice, as was the other gent with the beard who was working behind the bar. Its always great to be able to saddle up to the bar, drink great beer and talk beer with the staff.

I'm hoping that I've converted my wife to being a hockey fan. It gives me a good excuse to do a road trip to Buffalo for another Blue Monk visit!

Jan 08, 2012
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dogfishandi from New York

4.65/5  rDev +6.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

finally visited the blue monk for the first time the other day and needless to say i was quite impressed. kind of a small layout, but a very nice atomosphere. a nice bar area that seats maybe 20, up a few stairs and there is maybe 10 or so tables to eat at. a small balcony area that sits maybe 5-6 with a bar top overlooking the bar and direct view to the one and only tv in the house is the best spot IMO. a nice beer garden out back for the summer months. lots of nostalgic old brewery signs, mostly belgian, and a nice collection of rare (empty) bottles along the top over the bar.

i believe 30 or so taps that are full of mostly harder to find belgians, as well as some american and europian beers. they always seem to have something impressive on tap that isnt available locally. a decent selection of funky beer. a very impressive bottle list, but those can get very pricey. everthing is served in appropriate glassware.

all the bartenders and staff that i encountered seemed very knowledgable and were eager to talk to a fellow beer nerd. did not have to wait long to order a drink despite a full house on a friday night.

i did not try the food yet, but everyone i know that has, has had nothing but good things to say about it. more than one person has recommended to me the duck frites fried in duck fat and served with selection of super tasty sauces.

everything here is a bit pricey, but they put out a very quality product and its worth every penny. always pretty packed on the weekend, youll prolly wait a while to get a seat to eat, but its an easy wait considering all the great beer and the wonderful atmosphere. the night i visited they had a small ithaca tap takeover which included flower power and cascazilla on cask and brute on tap. unfortuantly they were out of the cascazilla, but the brute was a real treat. i look forward to many more visits and im very eager to sit down to a nice meal here. highly recommended, the best beer bar in buffalo.

Jan 04, 2012
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HopNelius from New York

4.68/5  rDev +6.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

The Blue Monk! One of the reasons that I moved to the neighborhood I did was proximity to this jewell of Buffalo. Great beer selection, a rotating 30 taps with a list of them on a huge chalkboard adjacent to the bar, list's prices and ABV as well which is nice because that's what I want to know and a lot of bars don't put it out there. Belgium themed place, tons of Belgium beers but also a nice variety of American Craft breweries. the selecdtion is always roatating. Mellow scene. Food is fantastic. They have French/Belgium fare a true gastropub menu. The Duck Fat Frites are amazing and accompany that with dipping sauses such as bacon mayonaise. They also have very good mussells that are cooked in various beers.

Jan 03, 2012
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ng85 from California

4.63/5  rDev +5.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Love loooove LOVE the Blue Monk on Elmwood, totally our fav place. The beir garten in the back brings back a lil nostilla from when we lived in sunny! tap selection is totally impressive, always start with a Tremens when we get there, then move onto another menu item. Duck fries are a hit as well. Wifey and i have frequented this brew joint ince it has opened and love it, they also serve the beer in its proper glass. I rate the Blue Monk Buffalo, NY an A+ even though my brother in law hates it....bc hes a budwiser

Dec 26, 2011
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OneWildRover from New York

4.4/5  rDev +0.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 5

This is a wonderful place to have delicious food, with an unbelievable beer selection. I've been here a few times now to eat, and the food is amazing. The only downfall is that it's kind of small. In the winter months, the place fills up. Aside from that, they always have unique specials, and regular dishes on the menu. The staff there is very friendly, and helpful. The beer selection is the best in Buffalo. Although the beer is a bit on the pricier side, it's worth it. I'd definitely recommend this to anyone looking to have a good brew, and delicious food.

Dec 15, 2011
Blue Monk in Buffalo, NY
Place rating: 4.38 out of 5 with 83 ratings