Downtown Roseville has many excellent restaurants, bars and pubs, but in all of my pub crawling, and eating adventures, I haven't seen anything in town like Monk's Cellar, as it's a unique restaurant... or is it a pub or is it a sports bar? Monk's Cellar mixes the lines between a restaurant, a pub, and a sports bar, but it does it with class, and features some of the best upscale pub fare to be found in Roseville.
As with all restaurant reviews I publish, I have no affiliation with the restaurant reviewed, and there is no monetary gain on my part, as I am simply a person who likes to eat, and I love to write-up, and publish my dining experiences.
Photo: It's a little after 3:00 in the afternoon, Thursday, March 16, 2023, and I've arrived at The Monk's Cellar, located in downtown Roseville, CA, to enjoy "Happy Hour!"
Over the last 20 years, the City of Roseville has transformed downtown Vernon Street from a shabby "has-been" to a vibrant dining and shopping destination, which offers a wide array of dining, small stores, a community college, a "town square," apartments and condos, and much more. Vernon Street is a great place to explore, shop, "people watch" and enjoy dine dining...
Photo: As you enter the restaurant, you'll be greeted and seated by a friendly staff member. Since it was "Happy Hour" and the special menu is served at the bar, I simply seated myself at the bar.
You'll note the well-equipped bar and the micro brewery, where delicious in-house-made beer is brewed in downtown Roseville. The decor is very "pub like" with brick walls, dark wood, and many high tables.
The dining room becomes more "restaurant" than "pub" past the bar, as the long, narrow dining room offers table and booth seating. No matter where you site, the seating is comfortable and the atmosphere is friendly.
Photo: The Monk's Cellar features an attractive patio in front of the restaurant, which looks out to Vernon Street, and offers comfortable outdoor dining and great "people watching." As per state law, there is a fence between the patio and the sidewalk, so diners can enjoy alcohol on the patio. During chilly weather, there are several large propane heaters to make the dining comfortable.
Photo: From the main dining room and the bar, you can look through glass window and see where some of the beer you're enjoying is brewed. The Monk's Cellar features a fine micro brewery, where amazing beer, including "Vernon Street Lager" is brewed.
Photo: Weekly specials are posted on a board at the bar. "Manhattan Clam Chowder" sounded delightful, but I was here to enjoy the cuisine of "Happy Hour," which is offered three days a week.
Photo: The in-house beer menu is posted on a board near the bar. Yes, from your bar stool, you can look through the window and see where your refreshing beer is brewed. I went at the "top" of the "House Biere" menu and went with "Vernon Street Lager," as there nothing that I love more than a fine pilsner beer.
Photo: The massive bar offers a wide assortment of mixed drinks and is stocked with a wide array of just about anything you can imagine, which it comes to whiskey, rum, vodka and other spirits. Beer and wine are on tap. The "Happy Hour" menu is served at the bar.
Photo: My friendly host and bartender, Kevin, pours my pint of "Vernon Street Lager," made in-house, and one of the many beers on tap. In addition to tending the bar, Kevin greeted and seated customers, took orders, and seemed to do just about everything.
The gentleman seated near to me at the bar seemed to be more interested in his smartphone than his beer...
Photo: The "Bar Area Happy Hour Menu" is listed separately, and offers a very limited food menu, along with discounts on draft beer, wine and assorted cocktails. "Happy Hour" at The Monk's Cellar happens every Wednesday through Friday afternoon from 2:00 to 5:00 PM.
Photo: Meet Jake, my amazing friendly host, who delivered my order to me with a friendly smile. Sorry about the photo quality, as the lighting was dim, and I didn't want to resort to using flash, as it annoys other restaurant patrons.
Photo: I'm a happy guy, as I'm ready to enjoy three "Monk's Sliders," a "Small Duck Fries" and for desert, an in-house-brewed "Vernon Street Lager." From my barstool, I could look across the pub into the micro brewery, where the beer is brewed... how nice is that?
"Vernon Street Lager" is a pilsner lager beer, and at only 4.4% alcohol, it's very mild, and it won't make you tipsy after you've enjoyed a pint. The beer has a robust European taste to it, which reminded me of the fine beer that's brewed on the "other" side of the Atlantic ocean. I definitely enjoyed my pint of "Vernon Street Lager."
Photo: From the "Bar Area Happy Hour Menu," I went with three "Monk's Sliders," along with a "Small Duck Fat Fries." The sliders and the fries made for delicious "pub grub" and the in-house-brewed "Vernon Street Lager" beer was delicious, and Roseville-local. The "Vernon Street Lager" added extra enjoyment to this fine meal!
Photo: The "Bar Area Happy Hour Menu," describes "Monk's Sliders" as, "Wagyu beef patty, pickled red onions, gruyere cheese, arugula, garlic aioli and Russian dressing." During "Happy Hour," these little burgers are available for $5.00 each or 3 for $12.00. Gee... ordering three of them seemed like the right thing to do!
It's interesting to note that "Monk's Sliders" are a miniature version of the signature burger on the restaurant's menu, "The Monk's Burger." Differing from the "regular" menu, during "Happy Hour," the sliders are sold a-la-carte.
Like it's big brother, "Monk's Sliders" starts out with a choice, perfectly seasoned Wagyu beef patty, grilled perfectly, just the way you order it. The beef patty is small - you're enjoying a slider, not a burger - but the patty is delicious and perfect in every way. It's wrapped around a fresh, house-made organic brioche bun, which was simply amazing. I noted the meat-to-bun ratio was perfect, even in "miniature..." Both the meat and the bun were dressed with garlic aioli and Russian dressing, to add a delicious, somewhat exotic taste to each slider.
Vegetable garnishes included pickled red onion, and arugula to add a "green touch." Have you ever heard of arugula on a burger? You'll find arugula to be a cross between cabbage and kale, resembling fresh spinach in looks, with a spicy, slightly peppery taste. It certainly added a "new dimension" to the sliders.
I truly believe the gruyere cheese set "Monk's Sliders" apart from any other burger or slider that I've enjoyed. The cheese added a sweet and slightly salty taste, and made for a very delicious and "unique" flavor to these delicious sliders.
"Monk's Sliders" are simply delicious! They're not your average "pub slider," as they're custom-made from fresh, superior ingredients, and skillfully cooked by the talented kitchen staff. Such a great way to enjoy happy hour!
Photo: The 'Happy Hour" menu offers a "Small Duck Fat Fries," which came with a small cup of garlic aioli, and made for a perfect side dish for my order of "Monk's Sliders."
The fries were cut from hand to a medium size, sprinkled with seasoned salt, and deep fried in duck fat to a perfect golden brown, to give them a very crisp, somewhat "nutty" taste. After being taken out of the deep fryer, the fries were sprinkled with dried parsley flakes to add extra taste, along with a pretty presentation. Delicious!
A small cup of mayonnaise, infused with garlic aioli - a Mediterrean delight - was included for dipping, and made a perfect dip to compliment the "Duck Fat Fries."
Between the order of three "Monk's Sliders," the "Duck Fat Fries," and the pint of "Vernon Street Lager" beer... today's "Happy Hour" meal was simply amazing! The food was delicious, the beer was "pilsner amazing" and the staff treated me like family.
"Happy Hour" at Monk's Cellar, located in downtown Roseville, CA, will bring a smile to your face, and truly make you happy...
Let's go back to early Saturday afternoon, April 16, 2016, when I enjoyed my first visit to the then-newly opened Monk's Cellar...
Photo: It's early Saturday afternoon, April 16, 2016, and I hiked to downtown Roseville to enjoy a burger and a beer or two at Monk's Cellar, as of this writing, one of the newest "pubs" in Roseville. It's a balmy early afternoon in mid-April, and the patio is full, as it's a wonderful afternoon to enjoy patio dining at Monk's Cellar.
Photo: With the temperature in the mid-70's, it's a beautiful afternoon to enjoy lunch on the patio. Monk's Cellar offers several tables outside, where patrons can enjoy patio dining, and enjoy "people watching" on Vernon Street, which is the "main drag" in Roseville. Monk's Cellar is located on the west side of the street, so by early afternoon, the patio is completely shaded, which makes dining comfortable, especially during Roseville's hot summer months.
Photo: As you enter the restaurant, through the rounded, wooden door - a trademark of the restaurant - you're greeted to the full-service bar, and many high, barista-style tables. The micro brewery is out of sight, at the left of the photo. The front third of the restaurant could be descried as, "pub," "sports bar," or "brewery..." but the adjoining two-thirds is restaurant. As can be seen in the photo, the restaurant is very long, and quite narrow.
Photo: I'm at the rear of the restaurant, looking towards the bar, and the entrance. As I mentioned in the previous photo, the back "two-thirds" of Monk's Cellar is all restaurant, and the front "third" is all bar and pub. Such a great mixture!
Photo: When you look at the beer side of the menu, you'll see two categories of beer: House Biere and Guest Biere. The "house" varieties are all made at Monk Cellar's micro brewery, which is visible through a glass window, from the front of the restaurant.
Photo: I HAD to sample a "House" and a "Guest" biere... is "biere" Belgium for beer? Monk's Cellar's web site promotes the fact that they serve beer and cuisine in the style of Belgium monks, but I really didn't get around to asking the friendly staff. Andrea, who was my super-friendly bartendress, and hostess, smiles as she brings a glass of "guest-brewed" beer... "Kwak" to me.
Photo: From the "Guest Biere" beer side of the menu, I ordered a "Kwak," and I was dazzled, amazed and surprised at the presentation. In over 50 years of drinking beer, I've never had a beer arrive like this, complete with a you-can't-believe-the-glass to a custom-made stand to hole it. My friendly bartendress, Andrea, told me all of the "guest" beers, including the "Kwak," are imported from Europe.
The menu describes the beer as, "Full bodied, Belgium specialty ale, amber in color, with tempting foam and slightly sweet, seductive malt character. Rich and satisfying." At 8.4% alcohol, it definitely had character, and it was delicious! I've never had a beer like this one...
Photo: The kitchen isn't exactly "open," but there is a window where you can look into the kitchen, and watch the kitchen staff hard at work, on this beautiful Saturday afternoon.
Photo: Meet Mr. Josh Flores, who was so impressed by my "Kwak," that he ordered one for himself, and toasted me as I took his photo. Josh is a great guy, an die-hard Oakland Raider football fan, and a connoisseur of Reuben sandwiches, which he's enjoying today. Josh and I enjoyed a fine conversation about Oakland Raider football, food, beer, and Reuben sandwiches. His favorite sandwich is a Reuben, and he told me that he's even stopped dating women that didn't share his passion for Reuben sandwiches. This gentleman knows his sandwiches!
Photo: I "crawled" all over the food section of the menu, but in the end, I settled on "The Monk's Burger," which is the signature item on the "Entrees" section of the menu. Friendly Meagan, delivers my burger, with a smile.
Photo: Thanks Meagan, for snapping my photo, as I sit at the bar, with my burger, and a glass of "Kwak" ale.
Photo: "The Monk's Burger" is the signature burger on the menu, and can be ordered with either duck fries, or salad. Yes, the "duck" fries are cooked in duck lard, so how could I resist? The menu describes "The Monk's Burger," as "House-beef patty, arugula, pickled onion, gruyere, garlic and aioli and Russian dressing served on a house-made, organic brioche bun. Duck fries or salad." You can add an extra meat patty, or bacon, if you choose. I didn't choose, as I just wanted to enjoy the burger, stock, as the menu offered.
At $12.00, the burger and fries weren't cheap, but they were worth the price, as the food was delicious. The meat was cooked perfectly, and this burger was amazing, and it tasted like no other burger that I've had. Was it the arugula, gruyere or the aioli? I'm not sure, but it was amazing! Ditto for the "duck" fries... I didn't ask what the dipping sauce was all about - Russian dressing? - but I dipped my fries into it and enjoyed.
I really wanted to try a beer from the in-house brewed beers, so I ordered a "Single Malt Scotch Ale." The menu describes it as, "Strong Scotch ale, with notes of honey. Light caramel and peat smokiness." At 9.5% alcohol, it packed a punch, but I didn't notice the booze until I walked out of the restaurant. Good thing that I never drive after drinking a beer or two, especially a beer as strong as this one. Definitely, and excellent beer, made in-house, at Monk's Cellar's micro brewery, in downtown Roseville.
The cuisine at Monk's Cellar can be best described as "upscale pub cuisine," or maybe just "delicious?" The food is delicious, the staff is super-friendly, and the atmosphere is very friendly, and it's the sort of place where you could spend the whole afternoon, or evening. If you're looking for great micro beer, and a great burger in historic, old-town Roseville, spend some time at Monk's Cellar. You'll love it!
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