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“Lots of good beer!”
Review of Monk's Cafe

Monk's Cafe
Ranked #7 of 250 Nightlife in Philadelphia
Attraction details
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Level 6 Contributor
104 reviews
38 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 82 helpful votes
“Lots of good beer!”
Reviewed April 20, 2013

This place had a huge selection of both Belgian and Belgian-styled beers on tap. They also had a few that were brewed in Germany and the Netherlands. We tried four to five different kinds - and all were delicious. The bartender wasn't overly friendly but he was efficient and knowledgeable. The food was good - the chicken fingers were delicious, especially the batter. The frites were just okay - I love all french fries but I was expecting more. Also, we went around lunch time on a Saturday. There were open seats at the bar when we got there, but when we left around 3pm, it was very crowded.

Visited April 2013
Thank Margaret2222
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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52 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
Saint Cloud, Minnesota
Level 3 Contributor
18 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Great, unique bar - worth a visit!”
Reviewed April 14, 2013

Monk's Cafe has a great atmosphere, knowledgeable staff, an extensive beer list, and tasty food. If you want to enjoy new beers rarely found in the USA, enjoy a good meal, and relax...this is the place for you! Come early for a good spot!

Visited April 2013
Thank polar556
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
The Woods, MA
Level 3 Contributor
19 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Great Bar with Great Atmosphere”
Reviewed April 8, 2013

The place was wall to wall patrons and two to three deep at the bar. The bartender was a magician remembering everyone's drink orders and with a huge amount of beers and other libations on the menu - that's no easy feat.

We stayed for dinner but in retrospect should have eaten first unless you like eating at 9:45pm. A wee too late for me.

Visited April 2013
Thank Marineko
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Langhorne, PA
Level 5 Contributor
82 reviews
27 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 164 helpful votes
“We go for the mussels”
Reviewed April 8, 2013

I'm not a huge fan of Belgian beer-- if you are, then you'll want to go here for that alone -- but we love to visit for the mussels. They are always a good size, properly cleaned (no pebbles of sand), properly cooked (tender, not chewy or falling apart), and flavorful. You have a choice of 8 different broth preparations. I haven't had one yet that I haven't liked, but our favorites are the Provence (leeks, garlic, bell pepper, mushrooms and more in a light cream broth) and my new favorite, the Ghent (caramelized leeks, garlic, blue cheese and bacon). Before you're done, use every bit of the roll to dunk chunks of bread in the broth and soak up the yummy goodness.

Every bit the equal of the mussels are the fries that come with them. They're cut thin like shoestrings, but shorter, and taste great all alone -- but the highlight is the dipping sauce, which will have you scraping the bottom of the dish for every last bit. The sauce is actually mayo-based, infused with bourbon -- but has enough kick that you'd think it was mustard-based. Just trust me that the taste is better than it may sound.

And there's actually plenty more to choose from: they make a great burger (choice of toppings, but I recommend the eponymous Monk's burger, with caramelized leeks and blue cheese -- yum!), ad have some really good salads (the duck salad is our favorite). The problem is that we don't get here often, and the mussels & fries are the reason we come, so the other food options often lose out! On our latest visit, we shared a duck salad for appetizer, and then shared two pots of mussels, for a thoroughly enjoyable meal.

Do read the comments about how crowded this place gets. We were able to time this visit for an early dinner at 5 pm on Sunday, when there were empty tables and we could be seated immediately. We used to come at prime dinner times, but found the longs waits (and lack of adequate space to stand while waiting) less-than-optimal, so now we just come when we can time it for off-prime time visits.

And going back to the beer, the servers are very knowledgeable, and will help you find a beer you like. I find many of the Belgian beers too sweet, and I asked for something neither too hoppy nor too sweet, and got a very nice malty St. Bernardus that I enjoyed.

Visited April 2013
Thank Eric J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Charleston, South Carolina
Level 6 Contributor
1,095 reviews
603 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 567 helpful votes
“A beer-lover's heaven”
Reviewed March 1, 2013

Since I first went to Monk's, I have been to many other beer-centered establishments. But to my mind, they set the standard. For variety, they are just great. Their food isn't bad either. I've heard people gripe about the front room being better than the back room or vice versa, but have enjoyed myself sitting in both areas.

If you enjoy beer and want to increase your knowledge, or explore beer of a certain style or from a certain part of the world, Monk's is a great place to do it. Or you can just get a glass of their house ale, made for Monk's in Belgium. A real first-class Belgian red sour ale.

The one thing I am not into are their stringy frites. I much prefer the Belgian-style meatier frites. But my wife disagrees - she likes them better skinnier. Ah well, as my old German professor used to say, variety is the spice of life!

Visited April 2012
Thank Charming_Karl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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