Thirsty Monk - Downtown
Taps: 35 / Bottles: 196
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: Y
Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 76 | Reviews: 66 | Show All Ratings:
4.03/5 rDev -7.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | $$
The Thirsty Monk is another fine beer destination in Asheville, with a pretty interesting location. It's located on two floors, with the top floor facing Patton Avenue, and the lower floor fronting on Commerce St. The downstairs focus is on Belgian and Belgian style beers, and this day they had around 10 beers on tap. Upstairs are all domestic micros, which this day included some Oskar Blues (gubna was on tap) and a number of Terrapin beers (among other things). So the tap list is pretty good, but what really sets TM apart from other places is their excellent bottle selection. I saw a very nice selectin of Bruery beers, as well some grand cru bon chien.
Atmosphere is likewise kind of interesting. The smallish downstairs bar is kind of dark and almost brooding, suggesting a much more serious beer consuming ambiance for those sampling Belgian stuff. Upstairs was much more light and airy, with a much more energetic vibe I thought. Either way, both locations were a good place to hang out and enjoy a beer.
Prices were about what you'd expect. I got a 10 ounce glass of Gouden Carolus blue, which went for $7. Didn't try the food on this particular day, though have been told it's pretty decent.
Service here was the only real problem I encountered on this day. I gather business had been very strong over the Memorial Day weekend, with the downstairs bartender stating that they had blown through 8 kegs the preceding Saturday. As a result, he indicated they didn't have a current tap list. While that's understandable, telling a customer there is no tap list and then wandering away really doesn't cut it. When he gave that line to me, I asked if he could tell me what was available. For some reason that seemed to annoy him. He did run through the selections, but it was quick and perfunctory, and I could tell he wasn't into it.
Whatever. The attitdue of the bartender notwithstanding, this is clearly another very solid beer destination in Asheville. Definitely a good place to come if you want to "get your Belgiain on."
05-31-2010 13:40:19 | More by johnmichaelsen
5/5 rDev +14.9%
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
4.65/5 rDev +6.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | $$$
I visited this place about a year ago (or less?)when it first opened and just revisited last week.
I like the setting of the bar although the atmosphere is a bit lacking. Basically a Rathskellar. Rests under a building and below ground level. Plenty of stone and brick typical of an underground dwelling.
Service was awesome. One of the bartenders was the owner and the other was a friend I think. They knew their shit. I am not a huge fan of Belgians but these guys are and are extremely willing to help and recommend. I was looking for something super sour so they recommended a very sour beer (cant remember what it was; gueze maybe?). They rinsed out the Belgian glasses with a little fountain that I assume is typical of bars in Belgium. It was sweet whatever it was.
Selection was amazing as well. Again, I dont know what all Belgians are out there but they had three coolers full of them so I assume most styles and/or brands available are represented.
I liked the place. A little pricey but a good Belgian beer experience. Everytime I am in Asheville I will visit this place.
10-21-2008 21:31:32 | More by SaCkErZ9
4.5/5 rDev +3.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$$
Surprisingly have not reviewed this joint, after many memorable (sans memory) nights spent in the basement here.
As many have indicated before, two levels, with the basement slanting towards Belgium and almost always more appealing from an atmosphere and selection standpoint.
Great bottle selection and selection of belgian and import taps are definitely wisely selected. There is no question this is the best 'beer bar' in Asheville. Unfortunately, it's not always the most Asheville-centric but you can get that at Barleys, if you can bear that place.
The vibe is great too - basement is sprawling with lots of room to sit, stand and fade into darkness
10-17-2013 23:34:58 | More by dirtylou
4.16/5 rDev -4.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | $$$
I stopped in with my wife while visiting Asheville. The Thirsty Monk offers two different settings with two different lineups of beer.
The downstairs bar is focused on Belgians with 14 on tap (mostly true Belgians with some US brewed Belgians as well). I had a Maredsous 10 and an Urthel Hop It. It has a comfortable feel with a long bar, quite a few tables and a couch or two. The white painted stone walls and dim, candle like lighting make it a very comfortable environment.
The upstairs bar is focused more on local beers but they also have others from throughout the US. I had a Highland Black Mountain Bitter. It's a bit more of a "homey" environment; as if you're drinking in an older home. They have a nice retired tap head collection on the ceiling.
The service is good and the crowd is buzzing on both floors. Asheville has some great beer bars but the Thirsty Monk might just be the best.
02-09-2009 09:34:59 | More by GJ40
4.28/5 rDev -1.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$
One of our must stop places on our first swing through Asheville, the Monk did not disappoint. There are two levels, segregated by the type of beer they offer. Bottom floor offers Belgian and Belgian-style beers, American crafts are upstairs. We settled in on the Belgian level. Fortunately it was a slow night (the town was dead due to the chance of snow flurries) so our bartender was kind enough to grab me a draft from upstairs.
Killer tap lists up and down, with a terrific bottle list as well. Not a weak draft in either lineup. Gouden Carolus, Delirium, DeDolle were some of the highlights downstairs, all served in appropriate glassware. From upstairs I got the New Belgium Ranger since NB is not distributed at home.
Nice vibe downstairs with a long straight bar and a couple of austere wooden tables and benches. Great atmosphere except for the bar's insistence on playing the Sirius Margaritaville channel. Service was attentive and pleasant.
We had a tasty cheese plate, decent sliders and a not so great pizza.
02-15-2010 19:08:00 | More by sholland119
4.14/5 rDev -4.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$$
Two stops: once upstairs and once downstairs.
Atmosphere: The upstairs is brighter, with an open patio area up front. The bar is long but it lacks in width. A few tables dot the upstairs as well; a small kitchen is in back. Downstairs, either through the back entrance or down the steps, is cozier and more cloistered - darker without the bright lights. Tables at the bottom of the steps lead to a vintage beer cellar under lock and key, another long bar and finally the restrooms. Upstairs we sat at the bar; downstairs at a table.
Quality: The two bars have different tap lists, doubling the fun. The menu is small but enough to keep you going. The staff was friendly. All in all, I liked the joint.
Service: We had the same bartender at both bars (visited on different days). We purposefully chose off-peak times to visit.
Selection: Saturday was Ommegang day, so we also got to try Art of Darkness. Friday was the release of Imperial Biscotti - we missed it that day but caught the remnants the following. Man that beer is big (and should not have been served in a pint glass). I think that the downstairs list was better, featuring some semi-local beers like Catawba's saison. I also tried Kopsstootje here.
Food: A limited menu. On the bright side, the food truck food court, just a block away, just opened - worth a quick jaunt for some ElKimchi dumplings.
05-29-2012 20:29:07 | More by akorsak
4.14/5 rDev -4.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | $$
wandered in on an icy late December night to find the place mostly empty
the Thirsty Monk offers two different themes for the indecisive amongst us - downstairs you'll find the white stone-walled, cozy Belgian bar, while the more spacious upstairs features various micros from across the United States and tons of brewery paraphernalia, the big empty space and piecemeal decor felt pretty awkward, and the attempt at creating a Belgian bar downstairs felt somewhat lacking
upstairs selection: Asheville is local beer and seeking out and trying as many as possible should be the primary goal of any visitor to the city, and that's where TM falls short - the one local option was fresh out, with the other 15 taps quality but available almost anywhere...several He'Brews, Sierra, Smutty, Boulder, Rogue, Bell's, Stone etc.
downstairs selection: 14 Belgian taps with a few pretty tame - Chimay, Stella - but a solid 6 winter seasonals, I took the "beerfest" option and for $6 was served three small pours of three seasonals of my choice - a nice way to try a few but definitely not much of a value
the gent working the bar upstairs was extremely friendly and knowledgeable, the fellow downstairs not nearly as nice but on top of his beer just as well
a decent place but I'll likely never return unless the local scene receives heavier representation or some rarities show up on the menu
12-25-2009 04:38:49 | More by blackie
4.4/5 rDev +1.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4 | $$
Have visited TM multiple times during my visits to Asheville.Seems like every time we are in town The Monk has something special going! This time around was BrewGrass eve and they had, a first east of the Mississippi cask of New Belgium, a keg of Founder's Canadian Breakfast Stout, Ballast Point Sculpin and Duck-Rabbit Brown ale barrel aged in Raylin Cabernet Sauvignon. NICE!
This place is great, a quality Belgian bar downstairs and a quality American craft bar upstairs. Wow...this place has it all.
Service has always been solid despite the place usually being crowded and busy!
This is not a place to come and eat a meal....but if you get the munchies they offer a nice line of snacks---darn good pomme frites, and an excellent cheese plate.
If you are visiting Asheville and are looking for a one stop shop beer bar look no further than The Monk. Without question my favorite watering hole in a city filled with good watering holes!
09-29-2009 11:40:02 | More by Deuane
4.6/5 rDev +5.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
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
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Thirsty Monk - Downtown in Asheville, NC
96 out of 100 based on 76 user ratings.