THE COURIER/Photos by Salvatore Licata

Ridgewood just got a little more Belgian.

The Monk bar, located at 68-67 Fresh Pond Rd., opened on Dec. 6, and owner Joe Figliolia is looking to expand the tastes of customers who may not be familiar with the uncommon names and styles of beers and ales they serve.

“Ever since I tried my first Belgian beer, I fell in love,” said Figliolia. “They aren’t the types you chug. It’s more like a fine wine you sip and enjoy.”

The bar had eight varieties on tap and over 25 types of bottled beers. Figliolia and co-owner Dan Berkery handpicked each beer themselves based on which brand they think tastes best for whichever style it is representing.

Moreover, The Monk has designated each of their eight taps to a different style of beer. Berkery said the names on the taps will change from time to time but that he wants his patrons to have a chance to always have their favorite style of beer on draft.

“Sometimes you walk into a regular bar and they have three of four of the same style of beer on tap,” said Berkery. “We wanted to make sure we had a mix here so everyone can enjoy their beer freshly tapped.”

Figliolia and Berkery chose to go with strictly Belgian types of beer because they feel it is the best type out there. They said the Trappist monks were known for making the best beer and that each is made with natural yeast, not cultivated, and Belgium-grown hops.

They’ve only been open for about two weeks now, but are already impressed with the knowledge of beers many of their customers have.

“A lot of people really know what they’re talking about over here,” said Figliolia. “I tell customers about beers and some of them teach me a thing or two.”

Figliolia lived in Ridgewood in the 1980s, and he and Berkery were childhood friends. He reminisced on the solid neighborhood Ridgewood was when he was growing up there and said it has only gotten better since. He talked about how the new, younger crowd coming in, mixed with the older generation, makes the neighborhood diverse and welcoming.

He wants his bar to have the same feel. There is no TV, just background music so that people who come in can have conversations and get to know one another.

the monk1

the monk2

“I want this bar to be a welcoming place for all who come in,” Figliolia said. “People can try new beers and have some fun while doing so.”

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