I’m going to continue the Belgian beer theme I started last week (with the Delirium Café). If you can’t afford a trip to Brussels, don’t worry. Let’s “hop” back across the pond to the home of the cheese steak, Rocky Balboa, and Brotherly Love. Monk’s Café touts itself as the soul of Belgium in the heart of Philadelphia. As with other BBL entries, Monk’s Café is more dive than corporate fancy-schmancy chain. If you don’t like crowds, long waits and sporadic service — don’t go. But if you want to “drink like a monk” and taste some truly phenomenal beers, well… this is the place for you.
Opened in 1997, this particular café and beer emporium is Belgium reincarnated. It exudes an Old World charm that you can sense from the moment you see the entrance. A warm, comfortable back room embraces you as you read through the beer menu, affectionately referred to as the “Beer Bible.” Feel free to ask questions about any of the 18+ beers on tap, or the over 200 artisanal beers available. The wait staff is bound to know the answer. And if they don’t… they’ll ask Tom. Owner Tom Peters is so passionate about what he’s doing that he travels to Belgium several times a year to immerse himself in the culture. He brings back that knowledge and somehow amalgamates it into this cultishly popular beer bar. Zagat rated it as “One of Area’s Best” several years running, while locals voted it “Best of Philly” innumerable times.
Hungry? Monk’s has you covered there too. From their famous Belgian pommes frites (fries with a bourbon-mayonnaise dipping sauce) to rabbit, Trappist burgers (which perfectly compliments one of the finest selections of Trappist ales outside of Brussels) to mussels soaked in beer and garlic — Belgium’s national dish, you can’t go wrong. So the next time you’re visiting Rocky’s statue (the fictional fighter, not the cartoon flying squirrel), be sure to swing by Monk’s. They’ll not only quench your thirst, but they’ll even show you some brotherly love.