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March 26, 2009

The review: Pratt Street Ale House

I'm sure I'm going to get ribbed for my semi-kind review of the Pratt Street Ale House, which recently replaced the Wharf Rat. Here's an excerpt:

The renovations turned the charming Wharf Rat into the streamlined Pratt Street Ale House. Plenty of character was lost in the process, but I think the Ale House will appeal to a much wider audience....

I already got an e-mail from one reader, who said:

You were kind in your review – the place could be in an airport in Des Moines, Iowa and no one would know the difference. At least the beers are still available – but the hand pumps were gone when I stopped in.

Also in today's paper is a centerpiece on the comedy troupe Second City and a Meet the Band on The Dialogue.

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 10:14 AM | | Comments (4)
Categories: Bars & Clubs


Fond memories, Sam. I used to have an ofice in Pipers Alley on Wells in Chicago (the building where -both- Second city troupes are located (Second City and Second City, Etc.)

Both troupes are very funny. We used to hit up a show every week or two.

The Rams Head event should be fun. Thanks for the info.

Regarding the PSAH, I understand the new hand pump system will be in place soon and Steve is still brewing high quality, traditional English Ales that are almost impossible to find anywhere else in this region. (Red Brick being the only other) In order to make the new place have a reliable year-round revenue stream, I think the new owners are creating a different concept. Change is hard but because of its location they will start to do more "events" and are also working out a parking deal, which was/is a big problem. I still find lots of charm there in my Imperial Pint Glass!

GF and I stopped in last weekend to check it out. Blah is my response.

It's a sterile room that reminds me of a bar that someone would build inside their kitchen circa 1998. The TVs are a plus....if you are a sports bar now, which I suppose it the general angle of the new place. Nothing on the walls, I didn't recognize any of the staff (I suppose they hired a completely new staff), and they were playing this horrendous sirius pop-music station in the background.

Beers are (natch) still great and worth the visit alone, but it did take a definite hit in the character department.

Following up the comments about cask conditioned ale at The Pratt St. Alehouse ... cask conditioned ale will remain a major feature of our beer portfolio. We have 3 brand new beer engines shipped (at great expense) from the UK. Because these beer engines are counter mounts, which involves cutting out sections of the bar to fit them, it's not an easy process so there have been a few delays due to technical issues. However, I anticipate that the beer engines will be in place within a week or so. We will continue to serve our Best Bitter and ESB along with a Brewer's Choice (look out for an Oak aged Three Lions, Vanilla Porter etc.)
Cheers, Steve

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

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