The Wharf Rat
Taps: 40 / Bottles: 25
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: Y
Ratings: 30 | Reviews: 22 | Display Reviews Only:
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
3.79/5 rDev -6.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | $
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.
10-26-2010 21:22:08 | More by DoubleSimcoe
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
4.13/5 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
3.5/5 rDev -14%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | $$
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.
08-07-2009 20:12:40 | More by morebeergood
3.79/5 rDev -6.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | $$
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.
02-18-2011 01:45:39 | More by akorsak
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
3.59/5 rDev -11.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3 | $$$
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.
06-08-2009 22:51:22 | More by mltobin
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
The Wharf Rat in Baltimore, MD
91 out of 100 based on 30 ratings.