The Wharf Rat
Taps: 40 / Bottles: 25
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: Y
Ratings: 30 | Reviews: 22 | Display Reviews Only:
3.76/5 rDev -7.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | $
Wharf Rat is your definitive "waterfront tavern," even if it is more than a few blocks from the water - although it's a short stumble up the street from John Stevens (see my review) and a 5 minute walk/stumble from the beloved Max's (see my review).
It has a dark interior, low lighting with plenty of wood; upon entering, is a very small bar area on the right opposite a few rickety but well-worn tables. Off to the side is a poolroom. There is another larger bar/dining area in the back. Throw in some muted TVs (always nice) and some interesting music, then you are ready for a pleasant quaffing experience.
The Rat offers a veddy fine selection (16 taps) of Oliver's British ales and some good lagers, including several casks of the former. They range from Manchester Cream Ale (think Boddington's), a smooth pour stout, a bitter and an Old English Ale (think Old Peculiar) all served in room temperature in a bloody imperial pint glass. And ... if this isn't enough, the prices are very reasonable. During my recent visit, a pint of their Merry Ale went for $4.00.
Note: the Men's Room is literally at the end of the front bar.Certainly convenient. The Wharf Rat must be included in your Fells Point pubcrawl.
12-21-2007 20:34:55 | More by jjboesen
4.34/5 rDev +6.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | $
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.
12-17-2007 23:49:08 | More by slander
4.13/5 rDev +1.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$
It had been a few years since I last visited the Wharf Rat. I confess I tend to take it for granted, even though I've always liked Oliver brewing beers. However, it's just down the street from Max's, where new and exciting beers are brought on line every week. The wharf rat, on the other hand, always has on the same old reliable, good (if not always particularly exciting), sizeable selection of traditional English style ales.
The Wharf Rat has the look of an old English pub, with lots of well weathered wood everywhere you look. The place is actually pretty sizeable, with a couple of different bar service areas. There are also plenty of tables and plenty of stools for bellying up to the bar.
By and large I find the quality of the beer and food to be pretty good. The beers are solid, with an emphasis on session and low alcohol beers. There are some higher gravity beers as well, but most of the beers brewed on the premises are below 6% in abv. Last time I was there they also had on an English Cider and the Hoegarten white for good measure.
I can't really comment on the service, except to say it was fine the day I was there. The place was not very full at the time and I was the only one sitting at the bar most of the time I was there. The bar tender was pleasant enough, though I didn't get the impression she was particularly knowledgable or interested in good beer. Still, no complaints about the service. It was fine.
The selection of beers made by Oliver Brewing is quite impressive. I think they typically have around 15 beers on tap, rotating in 2 or 3 seasonals on a regular basis. They also usually have at least 3 cask conditioned beers available. Frankly, considering that they are committed to brewing only English style ales, I find the selection on hand to be quite impressive.
The food here is fine. I got the wings last time I was there and they were pretty good. Have to try what looked to be some excellent soup and chicken ceaser salad next time I'm there.
Prices here are pretty reasonable. I think pints normally go for $4, though the evening I was there it was still happy hour, when one could get three 10 oz. glasses of ale for $4. Food prices also seem to be moderate.
All in all, a very good place. It won't be another couple of years before my next visit.
08-17-2007 19:47:37 | More by John_M
4/5 rDev -1.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5 | $$
We stopped in here on our Baltimore pub-crawl and I was a bit caught off guard by the cluttered yet comforting beer decorations. Mostly it was the coasters on the blue painted steel beams in the low ceiling, but what really got me going was the laminated lattice tables with either bottle caps or foreign coins in the open spaces. This, although trivial, it was a nice touch. The brick walls too were loaded with fun pictures, paintings and masks and the windows had wooden shutters on the inside.
The beer selection consisted of the Oliver brews and a load of taps, but we were there for something local so Oliver it was. The brews were all solid although I seem to have neglected to write down which ones I liked other than the one I reviewed.
Service wasnt really there for our table so we went to the bar to help our selves.
We did get some appetizers consisting of some run of the mill muscles and some bland fries. Nothing amazing, but it did the job.
I rather liked this place with its groovy vibe (augmented by some folky-trippy-definitely not sung in English music) and great beer selection. When I find my self back in town, Ill stop by.
07-14-2007 20:33:04 | More by DarkerTheBetter
4.13/5 rDev +1.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5 | $
The Wharf Rat rocks. Though many of our lady friends might be a bit taken back with its dive bar characteristics, it is definitely worthy of you checking out. Have no idea how many taps there are, maybe 50? They have a wide range of their beers, from the year round offerings (Blackfrier Stout, Biere de Garde, ESB, IPA, etc) and whatever seasonal may be in store (your hot monkey love and vanilla ice). A few "guest taps" are available. These are usually Bass, Shiner, and Guinness. Never seen AB on tap at this place, never.
Oliver's beers are 3 for 4 in ten ounce glasses every day until 7. (There are many fond memories from when ANY beer on tap followed the 3-4-3 happy hour rules). I hazily remember it being extended on Thursdays to all night. The jukebox contains a nice eclectic mix that gels with the place. Monday or Tuesday is quiz night, but that always makes me feel inferior. The employees, who whole-heartedly sample as well as serve, are friendly and attentive. Growlers are $12, refills $9.
There is no established kitchen at the Fells Point bar, the former being modified to allow for the pool room. They have finally gotten their wits back and brought back the pool table. They were smart enough to figure out that the new one should be fixed; there were several years of pool played without paying a dime.
Behind the bar, the bartenders quickly fashion anything that can be microwaved or deep-fried. Stick to the usual bar grub (chicken fingers and nachos). Then again, if the beer is so good, who really cares about the food, anyway? The food is better at the Camden Yards location. However, what you gain in food quality, you lose in the grubby atmosphere and odd balls that only a Fells Point bar can give you. They now use real pizza dough to make the pizzas. They used toway back in the dayuse the crappy shells. The newer ones are very tasty.
The bathroom is all kinds of beat up. But they may be fixing the joint up, so who knows what will happen. On cold, snowy days, we'll be in the back, attempting to get the table next to the fat fireplace.
02-09-2007 19:38:55 | More by Umbra
4.8/5 rDev +17.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | $
Serves the same beers as their Camden Yards location, so the beer is still phenomenal.
The thing I liked about the Fell's Point location was how quiet it was. It had more of a neighborhood bar feel than the other Wharf's Rat.
The bartender was talkative, friendly and had a nice, long coversation about beer, which I love to do at any time.
The music in the background was eclectic, with Frank Sinatra followed by Led Zeppelin. There's also a pool table in the background.
The Wharf's Rat is also located around the corner from a closed police station, which was used in the filming of my favorite show, "Homicide.'' I know that has nothing to do with beer, but I found it extremely cool.
09-27-2006 17:45:43 | More by n0rmann
3.88/5 rDev -4.7%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | $
Stopped in during a late afternoon with my wife. Very old looking bar, with only about 7 bar stools. Many empty tables and a closed back bar. Bathrooms were very psychodelic with multi-colored spray paint to deter graffitti, but it really didn't. Food was served from microwave or kitchen heaters as there was no official kitchen here. A phone booth sits by the front door just like the parent place in the Inner Harbor. For a Friday afternoon, I was surprised there were only 3 other people there.
There were plenty of Oliver's beers on tap, and we went during the 3 for $4 happy hour which meant 3 mugs (about 8 - 10 oz) of Olivers beers for $4. For us that was quite cheap to sample several brews. The beers were of good quality and the ESB I had was on the hand pump. Beers covered everything from cream ales to stouts. The bartender was friendly and made some personal recommendations for beers to have.
Worth a stop if you like Oliver's beers and are bumbling around Fells Point, but personally the wife and I prefer the Inner Harbor location.
02-19-2006 20:45:46 | More by Gavage
4.36/5 rDev +7.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $
This is one of my favorites. In the British lower class style, you almost feel as if you are on the docks in Jolly old England.
The beer selection is top notch and very English. They don't disguise it either.
The Wharf Rat in Fells point even has an open fireplace that roars on cold nights while you sip their Merry Old Ale or their Pagan Porter. Their 3 for $4 deal is a great way to sample their fine beers.
True English fare on the menu as well as the standard pub grub. However, I don't go here for the food. The beer and atmosphere is second to none.
12-02-2005 22:21:03 | More by Terp96
4.83/5 rDev +18.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5 | $
This is a great pub. The beer is in fantastic. Hands down, I have not found a brewer that makes so many different styles of ale that are consistently this good across all styles. The Oliver line of beer is insane. They have a GREAT Irish Red, ESB, Cream Ale, Blonde, Porter, Iron Man Pale Ale, and list goes on. The food is typical pub food, which means it is perfect for drinking ale. The fish and chips are good. The Crab Dip is INCREDIBLE, and they make a great pizza. The atmosphere is a real time water front pub. The help is sometimes a bit less than friendly, but all the women servers are very nice. Either way, when you are there for their 3 beers for $4 deal (daily 10:30am to 7pm and all day & night on Thursdays) who cares how nice the staff is to you?
07-14-2005 19:56:29 | More by SundeyPSU
4.18/5 rDev +2.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3
Great place to grab pint down in Fells Point, a bit off the beaten path perhaps, but well worth a visit. This place has obviously been around for a while, I'd guess the building is from the early 1800's, lots of rough woodwork, huge fireplaces, staircases to nowhere, and various nautical brickabrack. Very cozy.
I'm not sure if this place used to be Olivers brewpub, but all the beer is now brewed a few miles away at Warf Rat's "cheers" styled restaurant/pub on the main tourist trap strip at the inner harbor.
The beer selection is great! Lot's of interesting english-style brews on tap. They usually even seem to have some cask-conditioned stuff on the hand-pumps. A very good thing indeed.
Food is standard bar-fare, descent when sober, ever better with additional pints. Waitstaff/Barstaff are friendly and attentive.
06-19-2004 15:21:24 | More by sideshowrob
The Wharf Rat in Baltimore, MD
91 out of 100 based on 30 ratings.