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Thirsty Monk - Downtown
Taps: 35 / Bottles: 196
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: Y
$$ - reasonable
[ Bar, Eatery ]
92 Patton Ave
phone: (828) 254-5470
(Place added by: thirstymonk on 05-03-2008)
Ratings & Reviews
| Reviews: 65 | Show All Ratings:
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | $$
I stopped in here yesterday for two reasons. One I had never been in here, and two, they had Pauls day off on tap, nuff said. I walk in downstairs and the place looks like a cave, awesome, only complaint the door sticks! Lots of bottles lining the walls and a very friendly staff that directed me upstairs. I walk up into a very nicely sunlit cafe with taps in front of me. A dozen or so people littering the inside. A five dollar pint of pauls was amazing and the bartender had no issue in chatting me up, Overall this is a fantastic place. Seriously one of the best beer bars I have ever been to. Looks alone are killer here. I cannot wait until my next trip
04-23-2009 00:30:17 |
More by mikesgroove
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | $$
I cannot say enough about this fine establishment. As stated in other reviews, the downs stairs bar serves strictly beligians, while the upstairs serves american craft beers. You can take your beer from either bar to the other floor with no problems, so everyone can get what they want.
Downstairs they have over 140 belgians, but I only went down there for the bathroom. The atmosphere is much better downstairs, but I was trying flights off of the 16 taps upstairs. The bar tender told me that they don't carry anything longer than one keg. After they blow something, they pretty much change it out for something new. They had Dogfish Santo Palo, Founders Pale, Wedge Dopplebock, A couple Rogue brews, Hop Wallop, Mojo Risin, Lagunitas Pale, Brooklyn Black Chocolate, and a few more I can't recall now. It doesn't matter now though, cause it will be different when you go. So go now.
02-24-2009 03:42:31 |
More by jraycee
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | $$
This place was absolutely amazing! I went here with my friend on our "beer quest" to Asheville a few days ago. It was well worth the time and adventure it took to find. We ended up walking waaay out of the way to find another place, then just gave up and decided to go on here since the other place was not that important (to our trip). It still took a while to find.
They have two floors like others have stated with the bottom having all the Belgians and the top everything else.
I absolutely loved the down stairs! This is where we came in and it looks like the basement of a monastery. I would have been happy staying here for the rest of the night. It was very cozy and I just brought anything I got upstairs down.
Some great Belgians on tap and in bottles (maybe 15-20 taps, ~100 bottles), all served in the proper (in most cases branded) glass. I had some kind of Belgian style Scottish ale, and bought a bottle of Rochefort 10, which was definitely the best Belgian I have ever had!
They had Anchor Old Fog Horn on tap upstairs, but unfortunately I got the very last ounce out of the keg, so instead I had what my friend wanted which was a Dog Fish Head Chicory Stout.
I will definitely be going back!
02-15-2009 15:11:16 |
More by hitokiri
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | $$$
I stopped in with my wife while visiting Asheville. The Thirsty Monk offers two different settings with two different lineups of beer.
The downstairs bar is focused on Belgians with 14 on tap (mostly true Belgians with some US brewed Belgians as well). I had a Maredsous 10 and an Urthel Hop It. It has a comfortable feel with a long bar, quite a few tables and a couch or two. The white painted stone walls and dim, candle like lighting make it a very comfortable environment.
The upstairs bar is focused more on local beers but they also have others from throughout the US. I had a Highland Black Mountain Bitter. It's a bit more of a "homey" environment; as if you're drinking in an older home. They have a nice retired tap head collection on the ceiling.
The service is good and the crowd is buzzing on both floors. Asheville has some great beer bars but the Thirsty Monk might just be the best.
02-09-2009 09:34:59 |
More by GJ40
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
*New review 01/05/09*
My original review is below. It is based solely on the upstairs bar. On my second trip, I spent some time at the Belgian bar downstairs.
The atmosphere at the Belgian bar is significantly better than it is upstairs. It is like they actually put some effort into decor and made something with a comfortable atmosphere. This is still not as impressive as the Belgian bar at the Brickstore, but it is quite cozy.
The beer quality is as good down here as it is upstairs. The pours are reasonable and the beers are served in appropriate glassware, even if it isn't always brewery specific.
Service is still good. Knowledgeable bartender. While they were out of a couple of selections, he told us ahead of time so that we didn't have to keep going back to the menu.
The selection is somewhat better down here that it is upstairs. They don't have a huge variety of taps, but they do have some of the more special beers that they lacked at the upstairs bar last time I visited.
The atmosphere at the Thirsty Monk is a bit lacking in my opinion. While they are clearly a beer bar and haven't done anything as unpleasant as making it a hybrid like a beer-sports bar, they haven't put much effort into making the place cozy. There is a bar, some stools, and a walk in cooler with taps on the outside of it. The decorations consisted of christmas lights and some old tap handles above the bar. It pretty much looks like they installed the minimum of fixtures that they needed to pass the health inspection and left it at that.
The weak attempt at decor aside, what really matters is the beer, and they did much better in that category. They had about fifteen taps upstairs with a good selection of American microbrews upstairs and a similar selection of Belgian beers on tap downstairs.
Service was good. The bartender was friendly and seemed pretty knowlegeable and enthusiastic about the beer.
We didn't have time to check out the lower level, but the taps upstairs were used well. They had a nice selection of local and well known national brews that was pretty well in line with what is available in the area. The lines seemed clean, but the beer was served in the bar's logo shaker pints or flute-like glasses for 1/2 pours. I would have preferred brewery glasses or stemware if they were going to use their own glass.
A nice place overall, though it did not live up to some of the glowing reviews that I had read on BA. While the atmosphere is hardly a deal breaker for me, it did strike me as distinctly half-assed. The beer selection was good, but nothing special. I was disappointed that they didn't have any of the truly rare, specialty draught beers that make great beer bars stand out.
12-22-2008 05:14:03 |
More by nickfl
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | $$
We went to the thirsty monk on a Friday night upon the recommendation of a beer enthusiast that we happened to meet on the street in down town Asheville, and I'm glad we did.
There is an upstairs section that serves mostly American micros, and a downstairs section that serves mostly Belgians. We went downstairs and got a couple of the Belgians.
The place was almost entirely empty (including myself, three friends, and the bartender, there were maybe 8 people downstairs, and just a bartender upstairs). The bartender was knowledgeable and made recommendations for us. Since there was almost nobody in the bar, everybody got to talking and it was a friendly environment.
Although their selection wasn't huge, everything that was on the list was very good quality, including a Belgian IPA (a style that I had never heard of before).
All in all, the Thirsty Monk is a good place to hang if you are looking for Belgians, or if you are in the mood for a *quiet* evening in down town Asheville.
12-21-2008 19:35:14 |
More by morgan23
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 1 | selection: 4 | food: 2 | $$$$
Overall, a C-
What upsets me most is not that the service was totally lacking in welcoming spirit, but that after paying exorbitant prices for common Belgian bottled beers, they refused to give us a taste of anything on tap.
I had traveled from Denver to Ashville on the advice of a beer enthusiast from England who was staying in the Ashville area. 1700 miles later I found myself inside the Thirsty Monk on a very quiet Friday evening. The many taps and stocked coolers of Belgian ales was exciting. We pulled up to the bar and stood there looking longingly at the manager and two bartenders as they went about their business of ringing things up on the register, tidying up the bar, and asking those already sitting at the bar if they needed refills. It was painfully obvious we were not being noticed. My English friend borrowed a tap menu from someone sitting at the bar and we looked it over. All of us had questions, but when the manager/bartender arrived she seemed in no state to answer questions. What she did do was correct us with her incorrect pronunciations for the names of some of the beers. (Side note: I may spend every year in Benelux tasting the beers from the abbeys and breweries but I'm not about to be a stickler on pronunciation. I mention it here because the points against the Thirsty Monk were rapidly adding up and we had not yet received our first drink.)
Add to the smug and unfriendly service the exorbitant cost of their overchilled beers (more than double what I would pay from a local retailer and served way too cold) and you have a recipe for disaster.
But If you think this is why I had a horrible time at the Monk, then hold on. Remember that I drove 1700 miles to drink here. I purchased two rounds (6 beers) for the three of us and had the total up to somewhere in the area of $53. I returned to the bar to order two bottled doubles and asked for a taster of the Three Philosophers Triple Chocolate they have on tap.
"We don't do that," said the manager.
"We don't give tastes anymore."
I asked again and again no.
Feeling dejected I returned to my table in and told them we were not allowed to taste anything on tap. My English friend's jaw about hit the table. I then went up to the second bartender and asked again, very nicely, for the slightest taste of the Three Philosophers, letting her know I was leery of the chocolate following my last ale.
Again: "Sorry, we can't give tasters. That's our new policy."
"Please," I said. "I just want to know if it's what I'd like to drink next and I've driven a long way to be here tonight."
She just stared at me like she didn't have the time for this or me. "Then kindly give me back my credit card, total us out, and we won't spend another cent in here," I told her coolly. And without so much as a blink of apology she did just that and we left.
This is the famous Thirsty Monk!?! What a stupid experience and a classless place. Never, in all my years of visiting bars and breweries around the world, have I experienced such cheap behavior....and at a place tauted as the best of the best in the Paris of the South.
We returned to the monk over christmas. They were totally dead downstairs. There were seven of us together who were ready to have 2 or more beers per each. I told the bartender that 5 of us were drinking bottled beers and the other two, the two who were paying, were drinking beers on tap and wanted the ability to taste the beers before we drink. He said no problem. We sat down and made ourselves as comfortable as possible in that somewhat cold environment. When I asked to test a specific beer on tap he suddenly became confused.
We don't do that he said. I was so confused. Why? I asked him. Because we feel it's not right to the beer. He then went on telling me they feel it impossible to understand the complexity of a flavor etc. etc. When I told him that sounded like a bunch of B.S. he told me they do it because they're trying to save money. When I mentioned that if they didn't offer the two of us the ability to make up our own minds about the beer first that we would leave he simply shrugged and all seven of us filed across the street.
12-01-2008 15:29:22 |
More by Amsterdam
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
A fantastic bar in Asheville. One of my favorite places in the South, right up there with the Brick Store in Decatur/Atlanta.
We made this our first stop early on a Saturday night while visiting downtown Asheville. We walked in the front door, and the bartender explained to us about the upstairs/downstairs beer situation. Lots of great stuff available both on tap and in bottles. Great to see a good mix of locals, Belgians, and American micros. Clearly a focus on beer. You can't even get any other type of drink or food. Despite this, my two non-beer-drinking friends liked the place a lot, and had fun trying a few the bartender recommended for them. Proper glassware used on everything, even the Belgians. My one complaint is that I wish all beers were available on each floor.
Music upstairs was a 90s grunge/rock/alt mix. Downstairs was annoying elevator smooth jazz. Both floors are fairly comfortable, somewhat plain, very usable spaces. Some random monk/trappist type stuff sits on shelves. An old black and white movie was being projected on the wall upstairs. Decent mix of people, mostly late 20s/early 30 somethings.
The bartender upstairs was extremely friendly and helpful, and we chatted with him quite a bit.
This should be your first stop if you're in the state.
11-18-2008 00:50:10 |
More by shivtim
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
A pretty cool place that I finally took the opportunity to check out. The upstairs had a big screen with the election day results and people were watching that. Narrow and long both up and downstairs. I remember when the downstairs was a record store called Almost Blue back in the day, then Hookah Joe's, and maybe something else in between or after. The downstairs had a better vibe in my book. Glasses were all appropriate according to style and the selection both up and down were solid, especially considering that they're somewhat limited. Good service and knowledgeable people when it comes to their beer. I wish I were there tonight, though, as Pisgah is having a tasting with a new beer. Stumblin Hobo or something along those lines...sounded interesting to say the least.
11-05-2008 20:45:44 |
More by ncvbc
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | $$$
I visited this place about a year ago (or less?)when it first opened and just revisited last week.
I like the setting of the bar although the atmosphere is a bit lacking. Basically a Rathskellar. Rests under a building and below ground level. Plenty of stone and brick typical of an underground dwelling.
Service was awesome. One of the bartenders was the owner and the other was a friend I think. They knew their shit. I am not a huge fan of Belgians but these guys are and are extremely willing to help and recommend. I was looking for something super sour so they recommended a very sour beer (cant remember what it was; gueze maybe?). They rinsed out the Belgian glasses with a little fountain that I assume is typical of bars in Belgium. It was sweet whatever it was.
Selection was amazing as well. Again, I dont know what all Belgians are out there but they had three coolers full of them so I assume most styles and/or brands available are represented.
I liked the place. A little pricey but a good Belgian beer experience. Everytime I am in Asheville I will visit this place.
10-21-2008 21:31:32 |
More by SaCkErZ9
Thirsty Monk - Downtown in Asheville, NC
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