Discovering a dive bar by the side of the road is one of life’s great pleasures on any road trip and Virginia Beach’s Monk’s Café gives off exactly that vibe, a small red building along a sparsely developed stretch of road in Pungo well south of Virginia Beach’s downtown core. A classic diner dive bar signage combination hangs above the door, a white sign inscribed with the name of the Virginia Beach dive bar paired with a soda advertisement. Red shingles line the building, matching the green trim along the exterior and atop the roof. A precise opening date is difficult to pin down but there’s some suggestion that Monk’s Place has operated since the 1940s in some capacity.
A small outdoor patio ringed by a yellow fence offers a bit of exterior seating but the dive bar vibe can best be found inside among the dollar bills that line much of the space. Framed photos, artist renderings of Monk’s Place through the years and beer signs, naturally, can be found interspersed among the dollar bills and corrugated metal that make up much of the decoration and trim inside. Notable among dive bars is the orderly arrangement of stapled dollar bills, a measured distribution among straight lines rather than the usual dive bar chaos.
The food here fits the location, a selection of affordable burgers making up the majority of a menu that also includes unique offerings like fried gizzards and livers. Monk’s Place is a paper or Styrofoam plate kind of spot that happens to serve up some of the best burgers in the area. Be warned that Monk’s Place is cash only in grand dive bar fashion with an ATM on site.