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Thirsty Monk - Downtown
Taps: 35 / Bottles: 196
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: Y
$$ - reasonable
[ Bar, Eatery ]
92 Patton Ave
phone: (828) 254-5470
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Reviews by MarcatGSB:
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5 | $$
Much, much hype over Thirsty Monk. Coming from the Great Lakes region, and having the opportunity to frequent places like HopCat, Local Option, the Hop Leaf, etc, I was expecting alot. Thirsty Monk gets better rankings than most of those places, but falls very, very short of any of the above options.
Like stated, the bar is broken down into really two separate bars...The upstairs bar has all American Craft beer, with I'd say half NC local's and half quality craft from various places in the US. The two nights I spent at the bar, I noticed they sold alot of Bells. They had Double Cream Stout, and Christmas Ale on, and both were selling very well, just an observation. They have about 20 bottles for the upstairs bar.
The downstairs bar focuses on Belgian and Belgian Style ales, and a huge bottle selection. The layout is not normal, but it actually works well. If you want a bottle from the bottle list downstairs, you walk down there, and order it from the downstairs bartender. Why not make the customer do the work? It keeps your staff behind the bar where they can service the customer, and saves on time, which ultimately lowers over head, and keeps beer prices low.
The food was rather lack luster again. Nothing special, maybe slightly above average pub food.
It's a great stop, no doubt about it. It does not however, match the level of Beer Geekdom like the great stops in the Midwest...
12-26-2012 19:17:24 |
More by MarcatGSB
More User Reviews:
District of Columbia
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 3 | selection: 4.75 | $$
We had a great time at the Thirsty Monk while in Asheville. We got these a bit late on a Friday night, and waited a few minutes to be able to sit downstairs. No big deal, though. We made our way there and sampled a pretty good range of beers.
The Belgian beer menu was excellent, from our point of view. We saw some old standards that we've had in many places, and also saw a few we knew of but hadn't tried, and then a few we'd never heard of. We had a range of the New Belgium Lips of Faith offerings, as well as a few other beers.
Our only complaint was with the staff. It wasn't overly crowded but we found every staff member we encountered to be curt and mostly unfriendly. This was odd, because I usually get along pretty well with bar staff. But whatever, maybe it was a hard night. It won't stop us from coming back next time we're around.
06-10-2013 16:26:49 |
More by Beerstorian
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.75 | food: 3.75 | $$
Vibe: The Thirsty Monk is really two separate but connected bars. The upstairs bar serves American-style craft beers while the downstairs bar serves Belgian-style craft beers. Each level has a different feel - the upstairs more resembles a typical bar (except that the kitchen is out in the open in the back) while the downstairs feels more like you are in a cellar with subdued lighting. If it's hot outside, the downstairs bar is also about ten degrees cooler. There's no waiters or waitresses so you everyone orders at the bar. Note that there are no TVs in the bar so don't come here if you are looking for something other than beer (or food).
Quality: Beers were served at the proper temperature in the right types of glassware.
Service: Although there are no wait staff other than the bartenders, I found service to always be rather quick. If you ordered food, they gave you a number to put on your table and then one of the cooks came over to deliver it to you.
Selection: Both levels had a great selection of beers on tap with about 17 on the upper level and 15 on the lower level. I saw some people having flights on the upper level but both levels offer half or full pours so it is easy to sample a variety of different beers while you are here without turning into a "Drunk Monk"
Food: The food selections weren't anything fancy, but seemed like good pub fare. I tried the pulled pork tacos and beef brisket tacos.
Value: Overall, I thought this was an excellent bar and is the "go-to" place for beers in Asheville.
05-28-2013 13:53:04 |
More by metter98
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 2.5 | $$
We stopped here on a Thursday evening for the first time. As noted in other reviews, this place its really two bars; one upstairs by the kitchen with craft American beers and the one downstairs is the Belgian bar with mostly Belgian beers. As it happened, they were having a Chimay event that evening that was just wrapping up. It was busy when we arrived, but soon calmed down.
A - The upstairs is almost frighteningly bright. More like a cafeteria than a pub. The downstairs bar is much nicer and warmer feeling. We started downstairs and had a beer there. Then we went upstairs and had a couple more with some food.
Q - The beer quality is good. Lots of fresh things and some on tap that you rarely see.
S - The service we had wasn't bad. But the over dressed bartender in the basement really felt he was something. Very out of place for Asheville. If I want attitude I'll go to a big city someplace.
S - When you factor in both bars the selection its pretty awesome. They also have a large bottle selection.
F - There is food and a fairly large menu. We got some "tacos" and some lamb sliders. As my companion said, it was all like bad food truck food. There is food if you're hungry, but I can't recommend it.
Overall, I'd give this place about a C. There are some really dumb things that could be easily fixed. Like the unfriendliness of the entire upstairs. You can only order beer from the bar where you're sitting. The food sounds good but totally fails in execution. I will give them props for overall selection.
10-04-2012 14:40:01 |
More by jfindley
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5 | $$
My Girlfriend (now Fiancé) and I visited Asheville back in July of 2011 for her Birthday. it was our first time together. We considered going on a paid bar crawl but decided against it because we consider ourselves BEER EXPERTS, and it wasn’t worth the price they were asking, so we made our own Bar Crawl adventure. It was our goal to have a Beer in every Bar. Which we accomplished I think!!! Now, as we walked along the streets of beautiful downtown Ashville we noticed the Thirsty Monk from across the street, we decided to cross over and check it out, to our surprise it was not open yet. (I don’t remember what time it was because we were well lit at this point) As we got closer I remember telling her that this place looks crappy and I was glad it was closed. The appearance from the outside looked run down and old, with what seemed like a small doorway leading into a place I wouldn’t visit. So onward we walked, It wasn’t until about four hours later we happened to walk past the Thirsty Monk Again which was now open so we decided to try it out, so against my better judgment we walked inside.
First impression... WTF. (Sorry Thirsty Monk)
The bar was well lit and very long, the bar on the left and one row of tables along the wall on the right. What to our wondering eyes did we see at the first table.... A young couple with a baby in a car carrier on top of the table (that’s my WTF) we walked quickly passed them only to notice two other babies at two other tables. (WTF X2 again)
We decided to stay anyway and sat at the way end of the bar away from the small children. We were handed a menu of all these great beers and to my Fiancé’s surprise they had her favorite Belgium Beer KWAK. We ordered it promptly. The bar tender said if we wanted that beer we had to go downstairs. (we had no idea there was a downstairs in the Thirsty Monk)
We walked down these old creaky wooden steps that looked like they belonged in a dungeon. To our surprise the downstairs bar was the Highlight of our visit... First off no kids, secondly the atmosphere was so F...ING amazing. Dark, Quiet, friendly people, and staff. The downstairs bar should be its own entity, and not be associated with the upstairs bar.
So Many Beers to choose from we decided on the KWAK to start. Served in the correct flute with wooden holder and ICE COLD. WOW!!! The Bartender was this amazing bearded guy who took interest in all of our questions about all the different beers and my beard that I had just started to grow. We stayed here for quite a few hours and had lots of laughs with the bearded man. Bartender of the Year should go to this guy. Hopefully we will see him again as we are going back next week.
All in All... DO NOT MISS VISITING THE THIRSTY MONK. ITS IS A BLAST!!!
Atmosphere... We gave a 4.5 because of the 3 babies in the upstairs bar.
Quality... Great selections of Beer
Service... Outstanding. Thank you Bearded One
Selection... Disney World of Beers
Food... We had 2 pretzels. and they were great.
Prices... We don’t care about... Great beer is worth the price.
09-13-2012 18:47:42 |
More by MattN373
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | $$
The wife and I were in Asheville a couple weeks ago and decided to check out BeerAdvocate to see where we should visit and Thirsty Monk was a place I knew we needed to try out. Their selection was excellent and the fact that they had a separate Belgian room downstairs was really cool. I was able to try Surly's CynicAle on tap which was a real treat (they were selling it for charity donations since it's technically illegal to sell in North Carolina). All in all I'd say it was a great trip. My only complaint is that the female bartender we had wasn't the friendliest. She wasn't terrible, but she didn't seem to be in any mood to chat.
06-27-2012 20:48:58 |
More by adam42381
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$$
Two stops: once upstairs and once downstairs.
Atmosphere: The upstairs is brighter, with an open patio area up front. The bar is long but it lacks in width. A few tables dot the upstairs as well; a small kitchen is in back. Downstairs, either through the back entrance or down the steps, is cozier and more cloistered - darker without the bright lights. Tables at the bottom of the steps lead to a vintage beer cellar under lock and key, another long bar and finally the restrooms. Upstairs we sat at the bar; downstairs at a table.
Quality: The two bars have different tap lists, doubling the fun. The menu is small but enough to keep you going. The staff was friendly. All in all, I liked the joint.
Service: We had the same bartender at both bars (visited on different days). We purposefully chose off-peak times to visit.
Selection: Saturday was Ommegang day, so we also got to try Art of Darkness. Friday was the release of Imperial Biscotti - we missed it that day but caught the remnants the following. Man that beer is big (and should not have been served in a pint glass). I think that the downstairs list was better, featuring some semi-local beers like Catawba's saison. I also tried Kopsstootje here.
Food: A limited menu. On the bright side, the food truck food court, just a block away, just opened - worth a quick jaunt for some ElKimchi dumplings.
05-29-2012 20:29:07 |
More by akorsak
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | $$
A- Obviously a place you want to come and drink in when you are in asheville. Big bar upstairs and down. The open front patio thingy is a great place to knock down a couple when the weather is nice. Perfect for people watching, and asheville has plenty to discuss. Don't be surprised if a man in a nun outfit ends up joining you for a bit, it's party of a comedy troupe that goes around the city on a bus and The Thirsty Monk is a stop on their tour.
S- Never had a problem that I could complain about.
S2- Come on, a dedicated belgian bar and tons of bottles with appropriate glassware? Definitely a five.
F- Never ate there. Although they do use Lusty Monk mustard which I couldn't recommend higher. Pick some up, trust me.
V- Reasonable for asheville.
02-10-2012 18:46:19 |
More by JdoubleA
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | $$
First word that can come to mind, Impressive! While not sure how this place worked, I parked right next to the Hearn Cycling/Rental store and came into the basement first. The walkway coming down (handicap accessible) was lined with Rare bottles the staff must have enjoyed over time. The "basement" bar was dimly lit and was decorated appropriately (belgian & international beer logo signs, "old style" bar stools, all wooden and bricked basement, and much more). After enjoying a Surly Bird Wild Ale and ringing up a BFM beer to-go, I found my way up the stairs to the Upstairs (American Bar). Upstairs, it was bright and overly lit even and had the kitchen visible to everyone. A New Belgium bicycle hung, American Brewery logos were everywhere, and next to my table was every brewmaster/founder of each Brewery they sold here. I enjoyed one beer here and took one to-go. So much to chose from, I will have to be back again!
Both locations (downstairs and upstairs) served their beers in appropriate glassware and knew how to keep the right size of head on the beer with each pour. Very friendly servers and were quick with service and available to answer any questions!
Their selection was Outstanding! Reminding me of the iTap House in St. Louis/Chesterfield, MO, it was tough to pick brews to enjoy both at the Thirsty Monk and to-go. I decided to enjoy the beer they had on-tap and then take two local brews to go in both can and bottle.
The pricing was a bit high on each serving but their vibe and environment quickly made me forget about my tab cost. I would suggest coming here multiple times and will be coming back. Next time, I may visit the South location since I didn't have time this trip.
01-17-2012 23:37:24 |
More by DCon
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4 | $$
An unpretentious beer bar partly hidden in downtown Asheville, and happily within staggering distance of a reasonably priced hotel. The purple exterior scarcely reveals what lies within. When you walk in, it looks like a typical neighborhood bar, beer advertisements for decor, a bit run-down. However, the laid-back appearance merely adds to the appeal. Their selection is absolutely amazing, including lots of brewskis I have never seen before. Do try some of the local brews! I haven’t tried any food yet, so my personal jury hasn’t assembled for that. However, their service is very good, alert and quick, friendly and welcoming. If you plan to stay in Asheville for any appreciable length of time, this is a must!
12-29-2011 02:55:04 |
More by Cyberkedi
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Thirsty Monk - Downtown in Asheville, NC