This is the 2012 Seattle Beer News list of the Top 10 Beer Spots in Seattle. Many great bars, pubs, and breweries won’t make this list; that doesn’t mean they aren’t outstanding places. Check out the previous post for #9.
#8 Beer Spot in Seattle: Stumbling Monk
The Monk isn’t fancy. It’s not stocked with 400 different bottles of beer. I don’t think it has more than 10 taps of beer. They don’t have food. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard music in there. Yet, it manages to be one of my favorite places to grab a pint in the city. The Monk started out as a bottle shop years ago, but it has been a pub since at least 2004 (you can still get any bottles to-go I believe). It’s open from 6pm to 2am every day and draws a solid crowd of mostly local, neighborhood types looking for a couple of drinks; you don’t hear many beer geeks discussing the intimate details of their beers here.
The Beer: The concentration is definitely on Belgian-style beers, and they do a great job of having a mix of staples while rotating some interesting taps and bringing in special bottles. They stock many well-known beers from Belgium, as well as American-brewed Belgian styles. On a recent visit, the selection was a little less robust than it used to be, but there was still plenty to offer. On Thursdays, they tap a cask of something local, often something hoppy from Elysian. You can sometimes find rare and vintage beers in here, such as gems from Cascade, Russian River, and many Belgian breweries. It is also one of the few places in town where I’ve seen beer from Ice Harbor Brewing, located in Kennewick, WA.
In addition to a great selection, the Monk also has some of the most reasonable prices for beer in town. Their offerings are priced about $1 less than what you would pay somewhere else. They always have a few bargain local selections priced around $3/bottle, and most domestic crafts are around $4.00/pint. Belgian drafts can run up to around $4.50 to $7, but that isn’t bad at all comparatively.
The Food: Other than some chips you can buy from the bar, you are on your own. They have no kitchen, but they allow you to bring in carry-out from local restaurants; I’ve rarely seen people do that, though.
The Atmosphere: The fact that it is unpretentious and chilled is one of my favorite things about this place. The cozy, dimly lit booths are befitting for a quiet beer with your woman, and they have a few tables that are suitable for small groups. It’s the perfect place to relax with a beer and a book after work when it is nice and quiet, or you can belly up to the bar and hang around till close. Seats can be hard to come by starting as early as 7pm on weekends, but you can usually grab a seat during the week. They have a wide selection of board games to keep you busy, including Sorry!, Battleship, Trivial Pursuit and chess.
Overall: The Monk is the type of place you can just keep going back to. Their beer selection doesn’t vary that widely in short periods of time, but it really doesn’t matter….they’ve got enough great beers to keep you busy for months. Hell, it’s a great place to just kick back and drink an Orval. The Stumbling Monk is one of those bars that makes Seattle such a kick-ass beer town. I’ve never been anywhere quite like it.
1635 E Olive Way
Seattle, WA 98102