One bar that has been on the forefront of Philly beer culture for over 25 years is Monk’s Cafe. The exterior might be purposefully nondescript, but this place commands serious attention in other ways. The bar, nestled in the center of the city near Market and S Broad Street, has dubbed itself “The Soul of Belgium in the Heart of Philadelphia.” While I think it’s sometimes kind of silly to put too much stock in internet lists, Monk’s has been listed as one of the best beer spots in the world for good reason.
No matter what kind of beer you’re into, Monk’s will satisfy your thirst (just please, don’t ask for a Miller Lite). While the bar specializes in Belgian brews, their “Beer Bible” contains over 200 beers, neatly sorted by the geographic region they’re brewed in. Many of the beers are very rare and will be challenging to find anywhere else on the East Coast.
Upon first glance, the “Bible” admittedly may be a little overwhelming. Fret not children, the staff are all truly passionate about beer and are insanely knowledgable. The bartenders will act as your sherpas on your quest for beer enlightenment. In the mood for a Belgian sour with a high ABV? They’ll know just the one.
In addition to having a bible’s worth of beer, the bar also has an award-winning selection of food. Naturally, many of the items on the menu are prepared with a wide selection of beers. From fried frog leg confit to seitan cheese steaks, Monk’s has a menu to please a variety of different palates, all at a reasonable price.
- The bar is small! The front bar has very limited seating and even with the additional back bar area, the place still fills up quickly. Try to get there early to avoid long wait times.
- Do not take the “Spanish Flies” lightly! When the menu says they are incredibly hot, they mean it.
- If still available, do try The Lost Abbey “Madonna and Child.” Best beer we’ve ever tasted.
- Monk’s is within walking distance of Milkboy, World Cafe Live, and the First Unitarian Church. Nothing better than a post-show beer.
To check out the Beer Bible and food menu: http://www.monkscafe.com/
264 S 16th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102
For more on Philadelphia beer culture: http://phillylovesbeer.org/
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