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The Wharf Rat

Not Rated.
The Wharf RatThe Wharf Rat
BA SCORE
92
outstanding

34 Ratings
Ratings: 34
Reviews: 23
rAvg: 4.09
pDev: 9.05%
Taps: 40
Bottles: 25
Cask: Y
Beer-to-Go: Y
[ Bar, Eatery ]

801 S Ann St
Baltimore, Maryland, 21231-3404
United States
phone: (410) 276-9034

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: BeerAdvocate)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 34 | Reviews: 23 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by slander:
Photo of slander
4.34/5  rDev +6.1%

Ain't ever been down here and I want to see Baltimore and more, but we can't do everything, or so I've been told. No matter, we've got some daylight to burn yet, twilight, moonlight, too, lots of it best I can tell and no end in sight 'til we say so. Handsome Ed's done this show once or twice before and knows a place this way not far up some. Just when I get settled in we're up and on the go again...

I kind of feel like what you pick up on the approach is a decent tell of what's to come. Brick walls, dark slat wood ceiling over green painted rafters decorated with boat oars and lined with coasters, bar towels, and strung Xmas lighting. Ceiling fans, lamps and lanterns, shuttered windows, beaten wide plank floors. A straight wood bar seating 9 sits off to the right side, with an open kitchen & oven down on the end. 2 towers of 7 each on the bar at different points and tiered booze over mirrored backing on the barback. A single flatscreen views above in the corner, and an English tele booth and a brewery schwag display case up front, one to each side of door. Some 8 tables riddled throughout the main room.

To the rear, a narrower room with another bar seating 8, mirrored barback unit, tiered booze, and ceramic mug club clubs above, on corner shelving and down below. 4 small square tables lie adjacent here. The area is lined with figurine heads, each with it's own deadly sin.
In the far back there, a small room with brick floorings, the walls painted red below high panel wood walls covered and trim lined with ship models, urns, steins and mugs, period pieces, maps and paintings, below a high high ceiling with an arched window. Tight, but large enough for a fireplace, a single red felt pool table, and a pair of tables.

14 house beers, 2 house casks and 5 guest taps (Hoegaarden, Bass, Leinenkugel Sunset Wheat, Yuengling, Woodchuck Coder). Attempting to hit a sampler, they threw me a curve. Their samplers are 3 mugs for $4. Not a bad deal but I'd have to drink, rinse and repeat to take in everything I'd want, so we all just mixed and matched instead and got a good view of things. The Oliver Blackfriar Stout was roasty and chocolatey malty; the Bishop's Breakfast, an oatmeal stout, was also nicely chocolatey and had some great licorice about it; the Oliver Pagan Porter was smooth, dry and a bit to the licorice as well; the Oliver Blonde Ale had a good hoppiness to it; the 3 Lions Ale, a strong English Ale came in the highest of the lot at 7.5%, and was nicely malty; the Vanilla Ice, a seasonal wheat beer made with vanilla beans, was light and sweet; and the Old Habit Ale, an English Brown was probably the weakest of the beers we sampled. The Oliver Blackfriar Stout and Bishop's Breakfast were my favorites. They also had a dark mild, golden wheat, summer light, pale ale, Irish red, amber, and cream ale. Some of the beers were similar but different, but there was a good range nonetheless, for what you can do with English style beers. The 2 casks, an ESB and the Best Bitter, were both off due to pressure problems but I won't slight 'em for that.

Also some 20 bottles; a single domestic micro (Sierra Nevada Pale Ale), some decent imports (Chimay, Liefman's Kriek, Old Peculier), the rest blah imports, macros, maltos and N/A's, but you're not here to drink them anyway. And, yep, they fill growlers, too.

Service was good. Once the "Who's the bigger hippy" banter started flying, bartender John offered up "He (Phil) is the shortest hairiest hippy I've ever seen" (and right he is). Good house. The unique décor lends to the place being strangely comfortable. What most curious Englishy pubbiness.

slander, Dec 17, 2007
More User Reviews:
Photo of PorterThwarter
5/5  rDev +22.2%

Get the delicious pizza and start ordering threefers. So many British style beers, plus four casks.

PorterThwarter, Saturday at 01:13 AM
Photo of baybum
3.75/5  rDev -8.3%

baybum, Nov 17, 2014
Photo of MaximumYuks
4/5  rDev -2.2%

MaximumYuks, Aug 31, 2014
Photo of Ccsimon5
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%

Ccsimon5, Aug 12, 2014
Photo of ProV1392
3.75/5  rDev -8.3%

ProV1392, Jul 25, 2014
Photo of DrBier
3.75/5  rDev -8.3%

DrBier, Jul 20, 2014
Photo of AWB3
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%

AWB3, Jul 06, 2014
Photo of fulcrum
4.16/5  rDev +1.7%

Anyplace in the US that has four active beer engines is outstanding for me. The Wharf Rat had a delicious English IPA (which had a nice American hop kick), a quaffable red and pale, and a winter warmer that was spot-on--no lame spices, just the right mix of malt and hop. I enjoyed these four cask ales so much I didn't bother with the food--which if it looked better I might have. Not that it looked bad, and not that the staff didn't work very hard on the pizzas I saw made, but it just didn't look worth the distraction from the great beer. The service was outstanding as well, which we all know can make or break a place. Sean made sure I had plenty of water to "stay hydrated", was well-informed, and made the place feel warm and welcoming.

fulcrum, Feb 15, 2014
Photo of HarryPotHead
3.75/5  rDev -8.3%

HarryPotHead, Feb 08, 2014
Photo of Metalmaniac915
4.75/5  rDev +16.1%

Metalmaniac915, Jan 10, 2014
Photo of snowghetto
3.75/5  rDev -8.3%

snowghetto, Dec 01, 2013
Photo of BillRoth
3.75/5  rDev -8.3%

BillRoth, Nov 11, 2013
Photo of AngusOg
4/5  rDev -2.2%

AngusOg, Oct 09, 2013
Photo of mdwalsh
4.29/5  rDev +4.9%

Wow, what a wonderful place. Very few bars feel so cozy right off the bat. This is the bar I would want to build in my basement. In fact, I plan on ripping off the plans for the bottle cap table. The selection wasn't diverse, but the quality was great, Best of all was the five taps on the 100+ year old hand pump cask system. Even getting my ass absolutely handed to me in pool didn't dim the glory. Great bar, great story, great beer. I would go back to Baltimore just for this place. I did order mussels which came cold, but upon pointing this out to the bar, he discovered the cooker was broken, took the food back and offered to replace it no charge, but our group was headed out so I will say I didn't try anything.

mdwalsh, Apr 11, 2012
Photo of sfk20
4.75/5  rDev +16.1%

Ok, maybe I'm biased as a Baltimore native. But after living in England, I think this place is the absolute closest American equivalent to an actual English pub. Atmosphere is outstanding, not flashy, but worn in and comfortable with plenty of old knick nacks hanging on the walls. I think only one or two small tv's (I hate sports bars with a tv on every wall). As far as the beer is concerned, they've got mainly Oliver's and High Seas varieties, which, to me, are some of the best English style ales in the U.S. Understand that this place is intended to be an English style pub, and it's dead on in that respect, it isn't a beer distributor. Like any actual pub, they've got one or two main breweries available and then a few more common beers. As far as the food is concerned, its typical pub grub; burgers, fries, pizza, etc. Their crab dip is awesome and i'd guess the same for any of their seafood. Some people complained about not being served by a waiter at their table. Once again, most, if not all, English pubs ask that you order your drinks and food from the bar. All in all, this pace is as British as it gets in Baltimore, or anywhere else in the U.S. for that matter, and if that's not your scene, go somewhere else.

sfk20, Mar 21, 2012
Photo of akorsak
3.79/5  rDev -7.3%

Tomorrow: Max's Belgian Beer Festival. Tonight: Dinner at Brewer's Art followed by a pint at the Wharf Rat. For all the days spent at the old Wharf Rat (now Pratt Street Ale House), I'd never been here.

Atmosphere: An old English pub, Americanized. The obligatory red phone booth is to the right on entrance. Two bars abut seating, more seating upstairs and a pool room to boot. Kinda reminds me of the Pratt St. Wharf Rat back in the day.

Quality: Good beer, varied selection. No table service; clean heads. I really enjoyed sipping through my pint here.

Service: Order drinks and food at the bar. As per my guidelines, that warrants a 3.0. Bar staff was friendly though, so...

Selection: I counted at least 8 Oliver's offerings, including two on hand pump along with 15 or so additional brews. Hop Devil and Loose Cannon joined Oliver's Best Bitter and ESB on the handpump. I had the aforementioned Best Bitter, ksak went with the Oliver's Scottish Ale (on CO2).

Food: Food is prepared by your bartender right in front of you. I perused the menu but didn't partake, so I'll pass on a rating.

akorsak, Feb 18, 2011
Photo of DoubleSimcoe
3.79/5  rDev -7.3%

The Wharf Rat is a very cool sailor's bar in the "wateriest" area of Fells Point. Lots of character!

Pretty good but not great service in a very slow/dead early afternoon. He was a little busy chatting away with some bar folks, but fine.

Selection is pretty good but not great. Lots of Oliver beers (anybody know the straight story on this?), all of them English-style. Too British for my taste!

Nothing outstanding, no crazy American craft brews. Mostly lagers and smooth ales. Five cask ales, though, including Victory Storm King, which was too hot for my taste.

They had a focus on Oktoberfest beers, and also Guinness, Hoegaarden, Stella, Yuengling, Stella... this is quality beer for the masses! :-) Not the best selection, but acceptable.

Nice deals on pricing, though. I had the "try 3 beers for $5", and the pourings are huge! Full mugs of any beer. On Fridays, three casks for five dollars.

Didn't try food, looked very basic, the bartender cooks it all... how good could that be?

I had Heavy Seas Prosit, Victory Storm King cask and Paulaner Oktoberfest just because bartender recommended it, even though I know I'm not a big fan of it.

I wouldn't come back here, considering the amazing Max's is a block or two away, but it sure is worth coming at least once for the atmosphere and the British-style ales.

DoubleSimcoe, Oct 26, 2010
Photo of esv
4.18/5  rDev +2.2%

Atmosphere is great. Everything is well-worn and comfortable. Bar up front and in back. I thought it was going to be cheesy but it isn't at all. Very charming. Pool table in the back room.

Everything looked clean. The bar was what it promised.

Everyone was friendly. It's the type of place where you order at the bar and they'll bring it out.

8 taps on the back bar plus another 5 on cask. I can't remember the exact # of taps up front. Maybe 10? A lot of Oliver beers, which is the local brewery now owned by Pratt Street Brewing Co., I think. Wharf Rat previously owned Oliver's (or something like that). The selection was good though. North Coast, Victory, Troegs, DFH were all there.

The prices were cheap compared to VA. $5 got you a sampler comprised of 3 10oz beers, anything you wanted. Everything was $5.00 - $5.50 for an imperial pint.

It's a block from the harbor and there are lots of cool shops, restaurants, cafe's within walking distance.

If you are in Baltimore, you should visit.

esv, Aug 10, 2010
Photo of morebeergood
3.5/5  rDev -14.4%

Stop number six, day two, of our Baltimore pub crawl. Wow, when you walk in, it's pretty unique. Looks like a sailor's bar from 1785. Very dark and dusty. Loads of junk adorning the walls. Normally, I would think that this place is a dump, but I can tell that this is the look they are going for, and it works. I would have given service an average rating, but I am going above average because a nice woman employee took the time to tell me the history of the Wharf Rat and the Pratt St Ale House. Plenty of Oliver beers on tap, including two different ones that I didn't see yesterday at Pratt. I went with the Anniversary Bitter and my wife had the Vanilla Ice. Both tasty and different. This was the last stop on our tour, and I am glad that we had a chance to stop by a place with so much history.

morebeergood, Aug 07, 2009
Photo of jgasparine
3.9/5  rDev -4.6%

This place looks like a sailor's shanty. You walk inside, and you feel like you should be handed a wooden mug full of frothy grog by a one-eyed peg-legged pirate. The atmosphere would only be better if it were more filled with beer geeks.

The only beer you'll really find here is Oliver's; a solid line beers, but I've just never been head-over-heels for an Oliver's beer. So while you have a good range of beer styles represented... and a bunch that you may have never sampled before... I just don't think the beer is something to write home about.

The service is good, the atmosphere is good, and the beer is good. This makes for a good place to go with a group of friends.

jgasparine, Jul 28, 2009
Photo of mltobin
3.59/5  rDev -12.2%

The Wharf Rat is located on South Ann St. in the Fell`s Point section of Baltimore. When I was there, they had 10 or so regular draught lines and 2 cask offerings. Half of these beers were from Oliver`s Brewing, which I believe used to owned by the owner of this establishment, but was sold off some time ago. Guinness, Bud Light, Hoegaarden, and others were also on tap. They also have small bottle list. The room is dark with a lot of bric-a-brac on the walls and graffiti covering the bathroom walls. A relaxed and unpretentious environment that serves up a good selection of Olivers and a small selection of guest beers. If you have never had an Oliver`s before, I would stop by The Wharf Rat.

mltobin, Jun 08, 2009
Photo of claytri
3.95/5  rDev -3.4%

I have to say upfront this is one of my favorite places in Baltimore.

Now the atmosphere is not for everyone, it is a very old building and the age shows. To me that's great, and I love looking at all the beer and nautical bric brac that lines the rafters and covers much of the ceiling. This is not some modern restaurant that serves beer, this is a very old bar that serves food.

The beer is excellent and always very fresh as it they brew their own. The food is of high quality but limited selection.

The staff is always great, and work hard to keep you served even when the bar is packed.

The beer selection is great if you want their beer. They have 9 to 12 on tap at all times, including their ESB and Bitter on cask. If you want something else they have a decent, but moderate selection of other's beer on tap and in bottle.

Now on to food. The menu is somewhat limited, because they have a basically pizza oven and a deepfryer behind the bar. So, it's amazing the way they use these to produce the menu they have. Everything is good to eat, and I would suggest the Fish and Chips which is the best I've found in Baltimore.

I've found the food and beer prices to be slightly less than comparable fare elsewhere in Baltimore.

I would highly recommend stopping by the Wharf Rat. You can get a decent meal and some very good beer, and save a few dollars. Their Oliver beers are usually English styles, and done with great care. One of my favorite beer experiences is sitting at their bar and enjoying a nice cool Oliver's Best Bitter. If you get there early in the evening they also offer 3 12 oz's draws for $5.00 dollars which is a great value. My personal recommendation is their Oliver's Pagan Porter, a wonderfully smooth and sweet porter that always delights.

claytri, Apr 19, 2009
Photo of joe1510
3.86/5  rDev -5.6%

I stopped in here with BA Dyan on a recent trip to Baltimore. The Wharf Rat is a dive bar and runs with it. Multicolored Christmas lights decorate the ceiling beams while the tables are old and grimy. A pool table in the back gives you another pastime while being in the bar. People seem to really enjoy both carving and drawing on anything in the place. The minimal crowd the night I was there (Wednesday night) was of the hipster variety but it was a quiet night.

It was tough to get a very good reading on the service considering all I did was walk to the bar and place an order but it seemed standard enough. Two cask ales were pouring the night I stopped in, a bitter and ESB, the bitter was excellent and the ESB was a strong example of the style as well. The pints ran right around $5 which is acceptable in my opinion. I had a pretty good time during my short visit to The Wharf Rat and wouldn't hesitate to stop by again in the future hoping to catch more of that wonderful bitter on cask. Good choice on the quick stop Dyan!

This place specializes in English beer so keep that in mind on your visit.

joe1510, Apr 07, 2009
Photo of dedrinker
4.08/5  rDev -0.2%

Inexpensive as in "I drink in the Washington D.C. area." Very cozy, lots of wood - old wood - floor, bar, tables, chairs, walls, ceiling; rustic, but real. The patrons are real too, as in regular, normal people. What's normal? Here's what's not normal: most of the sorry fakes that drink in the D.C. area. The beer was great - real English beer all the way; none of this "British Style" nonsense spewed out by most east coast breweries as a code word for bland, but real, authentic English tasting beer. Close your eyes - it's Fuller's, it's Young's (before the sellout). Standard but solid pub grub mostly cooked from scratch right behind the bar. The service was somewhat indifferent to my existence, but I never felt like I was being dissed either. You wanna beer and you speak up and ask for one like an adult and they'll get it for you. Good value for my money. I'd gladly drive an extra hour just to not drink in D.C.

dedrinker, Dec 10, 2008
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The Wharf Rat in Baltimore, MD
92 out of 100 based on 34 ratings.