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Thirsty Monk - Downtown
Taps: 35 / Bottles: 196
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: Y
$$ - reasonable
[ Bar, Eatery ]
92 Patton Ave
phone: (828) 254-5470
(Place added by: thirstymonk on 05-03-2008)
Ratings & Reviews
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| Reviews: 66 | Show All Ratings:
vibe: 2 | quality: 4.25 | service: 1.75 | selection: 3.75 | food: 1.5 | $$
Visited on a Wednesday night. It was a Dogfish head "take over" tap night. Ordered their version of brown ale. It was very drinkable for a 12% ABV. Next I inquired about their brown ale bottle selection. I was told they had none. So I took the bartenders recommendation...a French Road Brewery Wee Heavy-er Scotch Style Ale. It was good, I had a couple more.
Had heard great things about this place. I was disappointed. Although it was not overly hot outside, either they have no AC or it was on the fritz. The place seemed dirty. I did not visit the bar downstairs.
Quite crowded for a Wen. I was there around 7:00. Many were intoxicated.
Ordered the "not quite Philly Cheese Steak". No idea what the meat/cheese selection was but I could not finish the sandwich and I eat anything! The potato salad was very good.
I was in town on business and when I asked the bartender to split my check between beer and food, she looked at me like a had two heads. Evidently this was an unreasonable request!
Won't be back!
07-25-2013 20:43:26 |
More by mwar
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: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 3 | $
This place is ok.
The physical atmosphere is really quite nice, especially downstairs where there are large sofas and a dimly lit cave-like bar featuring a good selection of Belgian beers. The vibe though, is not as appealing. Upstairs, there can be a large population of douchebags in the bar at times who like to think they know their shit. Normally I wouldn't blame this on the bar but in this case the Thirsty Monk tends to facilitate this type of drinker. Many of the bartenders are this type of person and so droves of like-minded friends take to the bar and get pampered while other customers wait with empty glasses for their chance to be grunted at in response to their order.
The selection is usually pretty good, and they focus on out-of- state breweries more than anywhere else in Asheville while still keeping the worthwhile locals in rotation as well. The upstairs bar has many good choices but the Belgian bar downstairs is where the selection is above and beyond. The service downstairs, I should add, is NEVER like it is upstairs. Downstairs they are serious about beer and what it tastes like as opposed to how rebellious they are serving you cans of Dales without a glass to pour it into. (FYI check the freshness info on bottles..I was served a can of Gordon that was more than 18 months old once)
I don't eat at the Monk. They changed the menu a while back and it's not very appealing anymore. It used to be great, but now it's one of those menu's that I've looked at dozens of times and nothing ever sounds like something I want. The Bentons ham sandwich is pretty good but I don't get it anymore because it just isn't worth the price. And, I don't really want a ham sandwich with most of the beers I drink.
The prices at the Monk are great for beer. Not quite worth it for the food that they serve, however. Food-wise, it isn't that the plates cost a lot, it's just that the stuff isn't worth the 8 or 10 bucks they want for it, and I'm not cheap when it comes to food. The beer prices though, are great and they pour full pints of many things that most places would be pouring 10oz of, like Sexual Choc, Smutty Imperials, 10-fidy etc. and also offer half-pours of all of it, which I love. I'll be nice and rate value taking no consideration of the food since I don't go there for food.
Overall I really wish the whole place was of the same quality as the downstairs bar, but I still like it and go regularly.
04-23-2011 15:31:00 |
More by commis
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3 | selection: 3.75 | $$
Visited November 2013
We went to the thirsty monk around lunchtime on a Friday afternoon. We went downstairs first, which was dead. I liked the vibe downstairs, though it's not to be confused with some of the premier Belgian bars in the country. We ordered a beer and enjoyed it with some pretzels - the pretzels were ok, but the mustard could double as paint thinner it was so abrasive. Downstairs beer selection was pretty good, varied in style. I didn't really like that we couldn't order beers from upstairs, so we schlepped back upstairs.
The upstairs bar was disappointing to me. The tap list wasn't very interesting, and few locals were represented. The bar was generic too. Really glad I knew about downstairs, because we might have left had we gone upstairs first. Service in both bars was ok, nothing good or bad. I think I'd rate the two bars at least a point different if they were listed separately.
Thirsty monk is ok - I think it also suffers from being a bit older in a town full of great bars. I'd go back, but with lower expectations
12-12-2013 01:20:40 |
More by jophish17
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 2.5 | $$
We stopped here on a Thursday evening for the first time. As noted in other reviews, this place its really two bars; one upstairs by the kitchen with craft American beers and the one downstairs is the Belgian bar with mostly Belgian beers. As it happened, they were having a Chimay event that evening that was just wrapping up. It was busy when we arrived, but soon calmed down.
A - The upstairs is almost frighteningly bright. More like a cafeteria than a pub. The downstairs bar is much nicer and warmer feeling. We started downstairs and had a beer there. Then we went upstairs and had a couple more with some food.
Q - The beer quality is good. Lots of fresh things and some on tap that you rarely see.
S - The service we had wasn't bad. But the over dressed bartender in the basement really felt he was something. Very out of place for Asheville. If I want attitude I'll go to a big city someplace.
S - When you factor in both bars the selection its pretty awesome. They also have a large bottle selection.
F - There is food and a fairly large menu. We got some "tacos" and some lamb sliders. As my companion said, it was all like bad food truck food. There is food if you're hungry, but I can't recommend it.
Overall, I'd give this place about a C. There are some really dumb things that could be easily fixed. Like the unfriendliness of the entire upstairs. You can only order beer from the bar where you're sitting. The food sounds good but totally fails in execution. I will give them props for overall selection.
10-04-2012 14:40:01 |
More by jfindley
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5 | $$$
After reading the reviews here, and finding myself in Asheville for a night, I wanted to check this place out. I enjoyed the place well enough, I don't think it would make it my regular pub though. I think it may be a bit too laid back for me. We walked in to the upstairs bar and spent all of our time there. The service was good, just at a slower pace than I was used to. The crowd was full of young, hip people; my wife and I got a table to ourselves, played cribbage and stole a nearby wireless connection.
There were lots of good beers, just not much local to NC. Everything offered was of top quality though. I really liked the promo the run every Wednesday; one beer on draft comes witha free pint glass. After I finished my Coney Island Lager, the bartender brought me over a clean glass, which was very nice of him. I was prepared to stuff my dirty glass with napkins so I didn't get beer all over the inside of my bag.
Taking the recommendations of other reviews, we left before dinner, although we got a plate of pretzel bites. It was ok, but the mustards were too spicy for me and I expected more bites for the price I paid.
I would return here again, most likely in the afternoon. I don't think I would enjoy it as much if it were really crowded in here.
08-20-2009 13:33:13 |
More by ToasterChef
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | $$
When you work in a tavern within 100 miles of Asheville you are frequently going to hear about the Thirsty Monk. Since we were in Asheville for Brewgrass Weekend, we made the Monk our second stop on Friday afternoon as we explored the downtown beer scene. It is really hard to rate this location following the six topics above since there are really two very different pubs in one building at the Thirsty Monk.
Upstairs is a very casual, no particular theme, tap bar with a good selection of microbrews from Atlanta's Sweetwater, Athen's Terrapin as well as Rogue and other well respected breweries. No local NC beers which may be a deliberate decision since other tap bars in Asheville specialize in the local beers. However, if you drink at any decent tap bar in Greenville or Clemson,SC you won't find anything really special in the upstairs Thirsty Monk. Service was good.
Downstairs is a dark sort of wood and plaster basement designed to look like a bit of an old monastery or at least to make you think that it looks like an old drinking establishment. Excellent belgium beer selection with several US beers that represent the belgium style well. We had the Belgium/Terrapin collaboration beer and it was excellent. Opus, the bartender had a great personality and was very knowledgeable about the beers both on daught and in bottles. If you have never visited the upstairs at the Brick Store in Atlanta, the downstairs at the Thirsty Monk will be at the top of your list of American Belgium tap bars. However, The Brick Store beats the Monk for atmosphere in a big way and is a bit better in the diversity of beers available.
09-27-2010 21:32:06 |
More by Kenyon
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5 | $$
Narrowish 2 floor bar. Nice craft beer bar atmopshere. Upstairs domestic, downstairs imported beers, plenty of draft and even more bottles in both locations.
While the selections is quite impressive, during my visit I had a hard time picking something I wanted because everything there I could get locally in a store. The local selection was also no where as nice as Barley's Taproom & Pizzeria.
Service was also typical for a busy bar, know what you want or move out of the way.
The food was a little to barish for my liking. So, I passed but my mother had something which she seemed to enjoy.
Overall while a nice place and a place I would gladly go to locally if I was a resident, I didn't need to stop here and could have easily skipped it.
10-11-2013 14:48:40 |
More by claspada
vibe: 3 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$$
The wife and sought out the Thirsty Monk after reading about it in BA. Well I sought it out and my wife humored me. It was early afternoon when we arrived and there were two other people in the bar. Still it took several minutes to get service. My wife ordered a Lindeman's Pech and I ordered a Kwak. They had the appropriate glass ware as would be expected from a Belgian Bar. We also order food a platter of Cheese and Sausage. The food was good however the order came out wrong. The order was made right very quickly. We enjoyed the bar but the décor was average, nothing that truly stood out. Beer selection was good. The only thing we had issue with would be the service. The bartender seemed to prefer working on the menus to waiting on customers. When one customer said she did not "catch his name" he said "that's because I did not throw it". He never gave his name and remained rude the entire time. When I asked to purchase a Thirsty Monk glass I was told he did not have any and that I wanted one I had to go upstairs to the other bar and get one.
I short good stop for a few beers but the service can be hit or miss.
09-26-2010 07:11:25 |
More by kwdavis
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | $$
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
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Thirsty Monk - Downtown in Asheville, NC
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