The Pickled Monk eschews the tried-and-tired typical Downtown bar formula in favor of putting the customer in charge of the libations.
Located on the corner Harbor and Commonwealth, Fullerton’s newest addition brought the concept of a pour your own beer [PYOB] gastropub to the downtown area, melding remnants of the familiar with a liberating progressive twist.
The pub features a rotating tap list that customers can dispense at their own pleasure, a model similar to that used in frozen yogurt shops. The amount poured is tracked via an assigned beer card that is connected to a customer tab.
The beer list varied but with an emphasis on the local and craft. The taps also pour wine and as a titular connection to the pub’s name there’s impressive variety of brewed Belgian beers including the abbey style St. Bernardus Tripel.
Even though they serve their own beer, customers are still waited on by a staff of “ambassadors” who guide their experience throughout their stay. Food running, water, and bussing service is still taken care of by the staff, leaving just the fun part of pouring and drinking to the customer.
“People have responded very well to pouring their own beer” said Chelsea Coltman, General Manager of the Pickled Monk. “The Pickled Monk was definitely designed with a younger customer in mind, but the other side of Fullerton is that you have a very established crowd who were born and raised here, and they respond well, too.”
“This place is cool. I really dig the ambience and the PYOB are interesting” said Zameer Bata, a Fullerton resident.
The Fullerton Local also noted that he thought the Pickled Monk was a great addition to the downtown scene and offered something new. He particularly enjoyed the fact they had wine on tap and not just beer.
The food is comfy and familiar with a focus on crafted pub food and shareable plates. Printed on newspaper, the menu guides customers through four parts: Communal, Principal, Greens and Sins.
The Communal portion of the menu features shareable appetizers with Crisp Portobello fries, white BBQ sauce and a weekly chef driven poutine being the main standouts. The Principal section comprises of substantial entrees with classics such as Fish and Chips and fried chicken served with beignets.
In true gastropub fashion the Greens section only includes three salads, but they are eclectic and not just an after thought. The cheekily named Keen-Wah Salad is absolutely packed with kale, sweet potato, charred broccoli, pickled shallot, pine nuts, apples, dried cherries and goat cheese.
The menu is capped off with dessert, with an option to indulge in a float made with either craft root beer or to craft peanut butter stout.
Recently, the Pickled Monk has changed their hours and introduced a new happy hour from 3-6 p.m, Monday-Friday, featuring 50% off their PYOB drafts. In conjunction with happy hour, the pub offers daily deals, a prime example being “Tequila Thursdays” which provides 50% in house tequilas.
“Just because we are a self-serve place, doesn’t mean service stops” said Coltman.