First Impressions

Monk’s Café. Monk’s Café. Monk’s Café. That’s pretty much the place that everyone independently told us we just “had to” visit on our recent trip to review the best coffee roasters and craft breweries in Philadelphia.

While Monk’s is neither a roaster nor a brewery, the fact that so many voices cried out for us to review them left us with the inkling that there might indeed be some great vibes (and hopefully food and drinks!) here.

So what exactly are they? The closest description might be “a dive bar”. But that really doesn’t do their nuanced vibe justice. Monk’s seems to be as much restaurant as hipster hangout — all crammed into a surprisingly small space. The wall art is unique, the colors and lighting “monk-esque”, and the vibe all around jovial.

Indeed. The calls for us to visit were well-founded. But what about the food and drink? As this is essential a “bar” rather than a brewery, we’ll focus on both the eats and the drinks.

But What About the Beer/Food?

Monk’s offers a shocking array of beers from around the world. They literally have hundreds of bottled beers: featuring mainly those from Belgium, but also plenty from local breweries, the larger United States, and other countries such as Canada, Germany, and even Japan.

No doubt you’ll find a brew here for you. But where to start, and where to go? And what to pair with their awesome food menu?

Jackie’s Favorite Brew/Bite

For a less experienced beer drinker, the eclectic options can almost feel somewhat overwhelming. How to know what to choose? Easy: ask your sure-to-be-knowledgeable wait-staff! As such, I went with the “Blaugies/Hill Farmstead La Vermontoise”.

Not sure what that means, but, well, it was definitely unique! This is certainly not your average bar, and these are certainly not your average beers!

In terms of food, the house salad was surprisingly “next-level”. While many places drown their greens in average dressing, Monk’s was not just high quality but well-balanced. Simple, delicious, and “A” grade taste!

Joe’s Favorite Brew/Bite

Of course I tried several beer here, but my favorite might be, of course, the the classic, “Pliny the Elder”. While I’ve had Pliny in bottles, Monk’s is the only place I’ve found it on tap.

Smooth as always, and perfectly hopped, you’ll be much closer to tasting the true essence of Pliny on tap here than you may, for example, from a dusty beverage barn bottle. 10/10 recommend!

There’s so much to say about the amazing food here. The burger was great, but what really won me over were simply the “Pommes Frites”. As someone who’s not a fan of dipping sauces, I would’ve bought theirs in bulk! Definitely come here with an appetite!

Listen to our Full Thoughts (and Grade)!

So are there actually monks here? Did we find an “A” grade bathroom? Crack a beverage of your own and join us on our podcast to hear our full review (and grade)! Click below to listen or search “A Grade” wherever you listen to podcasts!

Joe & Jackie

Joe & Jackie

A professor and a grade school teacher taste, review, and grade America’s best coffee roasters, breweries, and more. New episodes every Monday at 9am EST. Now available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and more!
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