The Wharf Rat

BA SCORE
90
outstanding

38 Ratings
The Wharf RatThe Wharf Rat
PLACE INFO

Type: Bar, Eatery, Beer-to-go

801 S Ann St
Baltimore, Maryland, 21231-3404
United States

(410) 276-9034 | map
thewharfrat.com

Notes:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate

PLACE STATS
Score:
90
Ratings:
38
Reviews:
25
Avg:
4.07
pDev:
7.13%
 
 
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Ratings: 38 |  Reviews: 25
Photo of SundeyPSU
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?

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Photo of n0rmann
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.

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Photo of sfk20
4.75/5  rDev +16.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | food: 5

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.

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Photo of Metalmaniac915
4.75/5  rDev +16.7%

Photo of JerryP
4.58/5  rDev +12.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Nice cross section of beers. Not a huge selection but good choices overall. Had an appetizer (crab cakes in Md of course) and they were tasty. Three half pint for $8 special which was great.

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Photo of Terp96
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.

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Photo of slander
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.

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Photo of mdwalsh
4.29/5  rDev +5.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5

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.

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Photo of Baltimore_Adam
4.28/5  rDev +5.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3

Great neighborhood old style public house, especially tremendous atmosphere when it's cold outside owing to the fireplace in the back, and the very cozy feel of the place. Selection of beers is always wide ranging despite not having the most taps you can find in the neighborhood. Want a lighter non-conglomerate beer or a 9% porter? They have those and everything in between. Limited and mediocre menu keeps it from 4+ scores across the scale, but who goes to the Rat to eat, anyway?

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Photo of Ccsimon5
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of AWB3
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of PorterThwarter
4.24/5  rDev +4.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3

Get the delicious pizza (it might be the only truly good food there) and start ordering threefers.

So many British style beers, plus four casks. Casks!

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Photo of Budlum
4.19/5  rDev +2.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.75 | food: 4

Photo of sideshowrob
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.

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Photo of MaximumYuks
4.18/5  rDev +2.7%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Photo of esv
4.18/5  rDev +2.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 2.5

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.

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Photo of fulcrum
4.16/5  rDev +2.2%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 5 | selection: 3.75 | food: 2.75

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.

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Photo of Umbra
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 it’s 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 to—way back in the day—use 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.

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Photo of John_M
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.

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Photo of dedrinker
4.08/5  rDev +0.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

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.

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Photo of DarkerTheBetter
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 wasn’t 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, I’ll stop by.

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Photo of AngusOg
4/5  rDev -1.7%

Photo of seanchai
3.99/5  rDev -2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.75

Photo of claytri
3.95/5  rDev -2.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

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.

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Photo of jgasparine
3.9/5  rDev -4.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

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.

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The Wharf Rat in Baltimore, MD
4.07 out of 5 based on 38 ratings.
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