The Blue Monk has been nicely decorated to resemble a Belgian brown cafe. It has yellow ochre walls and some tin plates and posters advertising (mainly) Belgian beers. The downstairs area is more like a traditional bar whilst the back room, on a mezzanine floor, is mainly for eating. The food is several notches above the norm and the beer list is terrific. There’s an emphasis on Belgian beers (not so much of interest to us Europeans) but there were a few more local beers on tap too. Apparently Mike goes out of his way to track down interesting beers and it shows. It’s a super place.
(Last visited 5 November 2012).
bytemesis (774) Sunnyvale, California | December 10, 2012| Updated November 19, 2013
This place is the real deal. Bar atmosphere, with two levels, tables and standard bar seating. Pretty good food. Pretty helpful and friendly staff. And then the taplist. Beers from all over NY, the USA and the world, including a ton I had not tried before. Prices are reasonable, and they do four-beer flights, but they choose the beers, not you, which is a bit of a bummer. Didnt even get a chance to look at the bottle list, but I spied some interesting selections in the coolers. All in all a great place that is worth the hype.
Sammy (659) Toronto, Ontario | December 5, 2010| Updated August 18, 2014
The Blue Monk s a convenient place for locals, a tiny bit harder to get to for Canadian visitors. It is to me a small version of Monk’s in Phildalephia, perhaps better because of a dedicated menu and better lighting, but certainly smaller in all respects. A must go place for people moving up the beer sophistication curve from the area, and a few really good bottles. I like the draft selection on a good day at Cole’s better, but maybe I am on a dry day. a younger crowd, but also a more noticeable pretentious pre-Yuppie crowd. I had a hard-to-get Jolly Pumpkin wild ale, and there was no other beer I hadn’t tried. As Mike told me today, he needs twice to three times the room as Buffalo is eating up the place in terms of demand. It took a while to get a beer, the bottle was served way too cold. Bottom line: a place to watch for potential.
For anyone planning a visit, I hear this place will be closing soon - apparently due to an issue with the lease rather than business failure, so may well resurface (possibly with a different name) elsewhere in Buffalo. A comfortable and welcoming bar. For a visiting European, the emphasis on Belgian beers was not really what I was looking for - and that’s reflected in my score - but it was certainly a well curated selection. One local beer on tap to provide some variation. Staff were friendly and clued up. Didn’t eat. To be honest, I preferred the nearby Coles (under the same ownership) primarily because the beer choice was better for me but I certainly enjoyed my visit here. Best wished to Mike for his future ventures.
Great looking spot in the Elmwood Village area of Buffalo. Bright, high-ceilinged interior with a large open bar space up front and a similarly-sized raised dining area toward the back of the restaurant. Menu focuses on charcuterie, sandwiches and mussels with a few other things as well. Absolutely killer duck-fat cooked french fries. The outsides were perfectly crispy and the insides were soft and creamy. I had a duck-confit rueben that was awesome and my wife and my sister enjoyed their mussels as well. Our server was friendly and knowledgeable and the patio seating is a nice bonus. Add in 30 great taps and you’ve got a top notch spot that would be tough to beat for a casual lunch while in Buffalo. The fact that Coles is a short 10 minute walk up the street is an added bonus. I don’t see a whole lot to complain about here.
Visit 1: Bartowel bus trip. Saturday afternoon it would not have been that busy otherwise, but dumping 50 people in there at once overwhelmed the waitstaff who were quite friendly, and doing their best to keep up. Tried a couple of new to me drafts, an old favorite, and an awesome bottle of Ithaca Brute. Burger was pretty solid, the duck frites are better than the just okay house made chips, though most of the entrees are big enough that you won’t necessarily need the extra bulk of the frites. Grilled cheese was good but if you are averse to blue cheese like me you may want to ask them to go easy on it. Poutine was pretty tasty, I’d personally prefer it without the creamy sauce but it is pretty good as it is. Downstairs table was bloody cold with the side door opening frequently.
Visit 2: Busy Saturday night we had to wait 45 minutes to an hour for a table at prime dinner time, but grabbed a corner downstairs an enjoyed a couple of lovely pints while we waited. Waitress was fantastic, and knew her beer quite well. (I believe one of the girls referred to her as "adorable"...) My braised short rib sandwich with au jus on the side was a revelation. WOW! Unbelievably tender meat. Delicious. Blue Balls were pretty good. Highly enjoyable dinner.
Overall I really like the place. I like the décor which balances a bit of eclectic kitsch with a bit of class, and succeeds imho. Staff is friendly. Service is a bit slow when there is a crowd (not surprising) but is well within tolerances. The environment is warm, even if the temperature is not. Highly recommended. It gets crowded but that’s because people realize its a pretty nice place.
solidfunk (317) Washington D.C., Washington DC | October 22, 2012| Updated May 24, 2013
Wow! Great place in a desolate city. Went here for my birthday and was amazed at the tap list of 32 - nearly half Belgian - that apparently rotates all the time. Good bottle list with a couple of cheap finds even. The ambiance was super busy - this after the cab driver tried to tell me not to go there because it was small. Big props for the Fela Kuti music. Food was also amazing. Had some pork to die for, and a great burger between me and the lady. Top notch place that makes it worth going to Buffalo for.
Very nice pleasant place on "main beer avenue of Elmwood". Service was prompt , food was solid. When not busy quiet nice ambinet feel. Clean , fresh and relaxing. Great tap list with Belgian bend to it....nice to see good beer events ir Mikkeler line up...
UDBeernut (264) Between JAX and SGJ, Florida | July 2, 2012| Updated December 1, 2012
I can see why this rates so high. Cool space with padio seating and small bar. I bet it fills up at peak times. Beer selection was excellent and trended toward belgian styles but you could find most beer cultures represented. I enjoyed some lovely beer from stillwater. Food was excellent. My wife got a mussel bowl, i got the ultimate grilled cheese. Both were excellent. Marinated olives too. Excellent. Service was attentive except for the 10 minutes waiting for the hostess to seat us in a virtually empty resturant. Overall enjoyable and certainly seems like the best thing in town.
cratez (256) Toronto, Ontario | April 19, 2011| Updated February 10, 2014
A world class beer bar in Elmwood Village.
The place was packed when we first came here on a Saturday night, but we still managed to snag a two-person table and received excellent, attentive service from a bubbly young lady with black hair.
Had the Charcuterie Plate and Stuffed Quail special for dinner, both dishes were phenomenal.
Over two nights I sampled Goose Island Sofie, Great Divide Titan IPA, Beer Here Dark Hops, Mikkeller Green Gold, Stone IPA and Ruination. Almost 35 draughts and maybe 75 bottles with a major emphasis on Belgian offerings. Many of the bottled imports that we have access to in Canada - like St. Bernardus Abt 12 and Maredsous 8 - are on tap here.
All of the staff are friendly, helpful, and readily able to describe any beer on the menu. The Sunday night bartender was particularly chatty, which we appreciated.
Although Blue Monk is a beer geek haven, you could easily bring your non-beer-drinking friends here, as the bar has an approachable party atmosphere on weekends, and my girlfriend had no problem finding good wines and cocktails.
Just an all-around great spot - for dinner and conversation (upstairs), a beer tasting, or getting cut at the bar. I will be returning many more times in the future.