The Thirsty Monk

Barry Bialik has been waiting a long time to hoist the glass he’ll raise tonight. At 4 p.m. today, he opened the Thirsty Monk, a new pub specializing in Belgian beers, that he’s been contemplating since the idea struck him in 1994.

Asked what will distinguish the joint from Asheville’s ever-growing number of drinkeries, Bialik says: “The neatest thing is just the beers. It’s beers that are not really available on draft anywhere else, and there are not many bars you can go to and get a bottle selection like this anywhere in the country.”

Fourteen Belgian beers are available on tap, with a whopping 140 varieties in bottles. For those looking for an education in Belgian brews, sample flights are available. The Thirsty Monk will also feature light food, including baguettes sandwiches, crepes and Belgian chocolates.

The pub opens every day at 4 p.m. — with the exception of Tuesdays, when the establishment will be closed for a weekly breather.

The Thirstly Monk is located at 50 Commerce St., in the space occupied most recently by Hookah Joe’s. Call 254-5470 for more information.

— Jon Elliston, managing editor

About Jon Elliston
Former Mountain Xpress managing editor Jon Elliston is the senior editor at WNC magazine.

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23 thoughts on “The Thirsty Monk

  1. Looking forward to it. May be all of my “Beer is good for you” commenters should meet there, and we can hash it out over a Belgian!

  2. Nam Vet

    Geez, another bar. Very redundant. Sometimes I long for the old days when Asheville had just a few bars and all you could order was 3.2 domestic beer and cheap wine. I’d much rather have a microbrew at Asheville Pizza and Brewing Co on Merrimon. It is the friendliest place in town and their beer is very good.

  3. Monk Rocks

    This place is spectacular! I went last night and enjoyed several flights of the draught beers. It has the feel of a secluded, prohibition-style pub with comfortable seating, appropriate lighting and a beautiful bar. It’s my new fav. spot.
    Give it a try Nam Vet!

  4. Gordon Smith

    I went to the Thirsty Monk last night after Drinking Liberally. The place is for beer-lovers to love beer. No darts, TVs, or any distractions from the ridiculously amazing selection they’ve got on tap and in bottles.

    I’m a fan!

  5. Nam Vet

    Gordon, I am not surprised that the “drinking liberally” crowd would love to bar hop, since one of your patron saints, Ted Kennedy, is such a drunk himself. Just don’t give any women a ride home after a night out, OK? I’m sure none of you local liberals have the money and lawyers to get out of the mess Teddy got himself into when he left that young lady to drown in Mass all those years ago. :)

  6. Gordon Smith

    Nam Vet,

    You’re a friendly one, aren’t you?

    My “patron saints” include Howard Dean, Russ Feingold, and Robert Zimmerman.

    You ought to come out to Drinking Liberally one night to dispel your assumptions and have a little fun.

  7. Nam Vet

    I poked in jest Gordon, in jest, mi amigo. But really, Howard “screeeeeech!” Dean? :) My feeling is that the “Drinking Liberally” group is wrapped up in personal attacks on republican politicians, rather than their policies. I find that sort of thing, on the left or right, rather boring. If I am wrong, tell me and I just may come. I unwittingly sat in on a Latte Republican discussion last summer and found they talked ideas and not personalities. 75% of my friends are liberal democrat, and the lion’s share of them talk personality rather than point of view when it comes to politics. I guess its a liberal thing. “Republicans just are not nice people”, that sort of thing. “George Bush is a nazi”. You know.

    But I say this, anyone who likes beer can’t be all bad! Be it Belgian or local microbrew, let’s raise a pint glass to beer!

  8. “How is that relevant to the discussion?”

    A staffer at the Xpress told me about the new Nam Vet filter coming out soon. His posts will be blocked if one of the following words are in the text: remember, old days, transplant, locals, Mass, New York and liberal.


  9. Nam Vet

    LOL, good one Marc. Yes, we must conform to the new population in journalism now-a-days in Asheville. The old days are over for us locals as the transplants from New York and Mass take over to save Asheville with a new liberalism. Save us from the very traditions that have kept Asheville as a desireable place to move to from an over-taxed, socialist, immoral yankeeland starting point. God help us all if the young Turks from up north turn us into what they left behind. :)

    Back to thread, beer is good no matter where you hale from and no matter who you are! Let’s raise a glass of Belgian beer to the brotherhood of beer drinkers come near or far! Hear hear!

  10. Rob Close

    yeah, like no conservative has ever been an alcoholic. gosh you really bring these conversations to a new low, nv. stupid.

    on the other hand, my roomies are saying they loved this place. i’m wondering if the location will kill its business over time though…

  11. Spoken like a true Neanderthal-con. Change the subject and then blame the others in the conversation.


    It doesnt seem to be working…

  12. Nam Vet

    Hum, I do not see how sammule’s posts here are relevant to the subject at hand. Sammule, cool off. You are full of anger and intolerance. Typical that when some people cannot summon the intellect to debate ideas that they sink into personal attack. And get a sense of humor will you? This post is about Belgian beer and the new bar. You must at least tip your beret to the thread subject. Otherwise you are just sniping.

    What I like best about Belgian beer is that a lot of it is high alcohol content. One pint is enough for a buzz without frequent trips to the restroom (do people actually ‘rest’ in there? lol).

  13. “Marc,

    It doesnt seem to be working… ”

    I know! Maybe he’s misspelling the words.

    And at least he’s got a sense of humor :)


  14. Gordon Smith

    “My feeling is that the “Drinking Liberally” group is wrapped up in personal attacks on republican politicians, rather than their policies.”

    This says more about the faulty assumptions you have about liberals than it does about anything we do at Drinking Liberally. It works like this (at Drinking Liberally and in the rest of the world) – If you’re respectful, others will be respectful. If you can agree to disagree rather than arguing things to death, then you can get along with anyone.

  15. Thirsty Monk

    We’re thinking of bringing a TV in only one night a year- election night. Maybe an old black and white one with rabbit ears. So far we couldn’t be happier with our fellow Asheville beer lovers who have come to share a beer at our haunt. A hearty THANK YOU. We’ve tried to create a downtown establishment like no other- a true European pub with few distractions from stimulating conversations over the finest brews. Cheers. -Barry

  16. Nam Vet

    Gordon, actually I was invited to join Drinking Liberally by one of your regulars. She was a nice enough lady, but full of smiling put downs of President Bush and his administration (as if a sweet voice and a smile somehow made it OK to make personal attacks on republicans). THAT is the basis of my impressions of what a Drinking Liberally session is about. Add this to my ongoing experiences with my own liberal friends, and it is clear that more times than not, a group of liberals drinking beer will often veer into personal attacks on those politicians that disagree with them. It appears to be a common liberal trait. Like I said, that is not my cup of tea…or glass of beer in this case. :)

  17. Gordon Smith

    Put downs of the Bush administration? That sounds like par for the course for the majority of Americans, not just liberals. I don’t know what you consider a “personal attack”, but we talk a lot of policy and politics. DL is about bringing political discourse into our public spaces in a way that makes it fun. Even if you disagree with your fellow revelers, you can take comfort in the free exercise of democracy.

    Anyway, come if you like.

  18. Nam Vet

    No Gordon, the majority of Americans do not call President Bush names. That is personal attack. Some of the names I’ve heard him called by some of my liberal friends: stupid, nazi, fascist, liar, cheat, just to mention a few.

    What is fair game is POLICY. The Iraq War. The Afghan War. Foreign policy, domestic policy, tax cuts, etc. Now I will discuss these issues with anyone who will debate them with some sense of dispassionate decorum. I find some people go straight to emotion and bumper sticker statements. I’d like to avoid that.

    Besides, I am not liberal. I am not conservative. I am independent-libertarian. I take some of the best from both sides. I am for personal freedom, low taxes, only as much government is as necessary. The principles this country was founded on. Thomas Jefferson was well spoken when he said: “the government that governs least,governs best.”

  19. Gordon Smith

    1. To keep this comment on topic, let me say this: The Thirsty Monk has the best beer selection I’ve ever seen.

    2. Well Bush certainly isn’t terribly bright, he does lie a lot, and there are plenty who would rightly argue he cheated in 2000. The other charges aren’t so much personal attacks as they are unnecessary and counterproductive hyperbole.

    3. I’ve found more and more people running away from the conservative/Republican labels. I’ll accept your appellation, but I find it funny.

  20. Nam Vet

    LOL, see what I mean Gordon? Like it or not, the 2000 election was legal. If there had been and funny stuff you know the democrat party and the New York Times would’ve uncovered it. Gore won the popular vote, but lost in the Electoral College. Hence he lost the election. Personally, I would’ve rather had Gore be the winner. But what good does it do to cry over *spilt beer at the new Belgian beer bar*? (gotta stay on topic :) ).

    Bush does not lie any more than any other politican does. If you want to talk prevaricator, Bill Clinton takes the cake. In fact,he was convicted of perjury and permanently disbarred from arguing cases before the US Supreme Court. As a result of that conviction, he also was barred from practicing law in his home state of Arkansas.

    Bush is stupid? He sure has beat the democrats the last 7.5 years. If he is dumb, what does that make the democrats? :)

    Now, let’s talk ISSUES, not personalities. Over a beer at the new Belgian bar. Let’s drain a 9% alcohol pint of Belgian beer and celebrate our strength in diversity: left, right, middle, we’re all Americans first, party members second!

  21. nam

    I checked out The Thirsty Monk last week. The beer was delicious and the servers were really friendly – I hope it sticks around. My only minor complaint is the white wall behind the far end of the bar. Please, please, please, paint it dark or panel it, do something to it. It has the feel of a serial killer’s basement.

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