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Disappointment of the week with Tris39 on the Pub Forum

Rat Race Ale House, Hartlepool Central, Hartlepool

Pub added by Paul Brett
Hartlepool Railway Station
Station Approach
TS24 7ED

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Reviews (Current Rating Average: 9 of 10) Add Review see review guidelines

Gill Smith left this review about Rat Race Ale House

Visited on 19 July and enjoyed Tapped Oat Stout and Allendale Anvil IPA. Went baack later in the week and enjoyed Northern Monkey Sheephouse and Redwillow Feckless. Good place for conversation with locals lucky enough to have this microbar.

On 7th August 2019 - rating: 9
[User has posted 1296 recommendations about 1186 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

custodian 42 left this review about Rat Race Ale House

One small room with four real ales and two ciders clearly marked on the wall, together with what is to come next. No bar - you give your order to the landlord who brings you out your ale. Opens out to the platform at the back. Decent place.

On 13th August 2017 - rating: 7
[User has posted 1474 recommendations about 1472 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Real Ale Ray left this review about Rat Race Ale House

Step off the train and enter this micro through the blue station door into a small ale drinkers den, run by an eccentric beer aficionado, who will put you out if you misbehave or even a mention of the word lager and you will get a red card. Mrs Ale was in his good books straight away as she donated a few quid to the his favourite donkey charity. We also met the original owner of Dr Phil's micropub in Middlesbrough, Dr Phil, playing cards with his pals and he requested that we visit his daughter's new micropub up the road, Hops and Cheese. Beer wise we went for the Kelham Island Pale Rider and Windswept Aurora.

On 30th July 2017 - rating: 9
[User has posted 2906 recommendations about 2906 pubs]

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Aqualung . left this review about Rat Race Ale House

Going back to 2009 the Rat Race is the second micropub to have opened after the Butcher's Arms in Herne village. It's the only one of eight visited in this neck of the woods that could be described as a true micropub with no music, TV, keg beers or as far as I could see spirits. It's set in the Hartlepool Station buildings in a room that has at various times been a waiting room, a cab office and a newsagent.
On my early Wednesday afternoon visit there were about half a dozen or so in who by the sound of it were all CAMRA members. There was plenty of banter going on including from the Landlord who told me that after the start of the 2017/2018 football season he was going to do discount for card carrying members of the Accrington Stanley supporters club.
The four beers on were Northallerton Snowstorm, Vibrant Forest Flying Saucer & Black Forest Porter and Rudgate Stars and Stripes. I went for the Stars and Stripes (£3.20) and Black Forest Porter (£3.10) both of which were in excellent condition. If you like micropubs then this is a must visit but check the opening times.

On 13th February 2017 - rating: 9
[User has posted 2144 recommendations about 2139 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Will Larter left this review about Rat Race Ale House

I called in here both before the match and while waiting for my train, which to be honest is more of a reflection on the paucity of good real ale pubs in Hartlepool than the excellence of this one. An odd place, with no bar and not much room when Luton Town real ale fans are around, but a good friendly atmosphere and excellent beer.

There's no bar, so it's either sit and look thirsty or hang around near the door of the tap room. Beers are listed on the wall: I had Fat Brewer Black and Blue porter, which was very yummy. They have to close the door when a train comes in, apparently a condition of the licence, and you're not allowed to take glasses out. Plastic cups are available, but not for decanting undrunk pints; they're only available if you've also bought a carry-out container. I like the opening times notice on the door, done railway timetable style, with the bar always opening at two minutes past the hour, rather than on the dot.

On 7th October 2015 - rating: 8
[User has posted 2432 recommendations about 2296 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Gill Smith left this review about Rat Race Ale House

Back in Hartlepool for Tall Ships so had to call here again. Brill place with great ale choice. Enjoyed beers from Marble, Tryst and Blue Monkey, the best variety of breweries in one pub so far this visit. Its great that theres still no lager, only real ale and ciders, and another sign says carry outs available and they will supply a plastic cup so you can enjoy the ale on your train journey as it has an entrance to the platform of the railway station.
The above was in August 2010, and I am pleased to say it is still as good as ever on my visit a couple of days ago. The main change we noticed was that it was open, even though Hartlepool were playing a home game - it used to close match days. Both the Mithril Grace and the Mordue Killwitch 51 were in great condition.

On 16th September 2013 - rating: 9
[User has posted 1296 recommendations about 1186 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

James Joines left this review about Rat Race Ale House

Small but mighty ale house. Good choice with 4 beers on offer along with 2 ciders all from the cask.
Bottled beers also available.
A pleasant place to while away a few hours with great banter.
If in the area and you want great beer with no machines and no music just banter this is for you.
Note no lager just beer.

On 23rd March 2013 - rating: 10
[User has posted 841 recommendations about 835 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Pub SignMan left this review about Rat Race Ale House

Situated in the former newsagents at Hartlepool train station, this is a self-styled ‘micro-pub’, promoting real ale and the art of conversation. The small single room layout has enough space for five tables with some pew and low stool seating. To maximize space, the staff take your order from your table and dispense the beers directly from the barrel, with no need for a servery. The room has a bare concrete floor which made the place feel a bit chilly rather than cosy, on an admittedly freezing winter’s evening. The walls have been covered with a large pump clip collection and some interesting bits of brewerania including enamel beer adverts, mugs, taps and posters, as well as the inevitable bits of railway memorabilia which include paintings, signs and a small station clock. There is also a small selection of books for swapping or just thumbing through. I’m not convinced that this qualifies as the smallest pub in England, as the Nutshell in Bury St Edmunds felt a lot smaller, although I understand that the latter now has a first floor seating area which may disqualify it. This place is, however, one of the pioneers of the micro-pub concept which seems to be gaining in popularity in these times of austerity.
Four ales are listed on a board to the left of the main entrance (you can also enter from Platform 1) and on my visit they were Colchester No 1 and Metropolis, Consett Stout (£2.70) and Yeovil Posh IPA. These were supplemented by a cider and perry, both from Broadoak. The board also listed various snacks whilst small cards on each table detailed a range of ten or so bottled Belgian beers. I gave the Stout a try and it was a really good pint that went down very easily after my epic journey here through the snow from London. The pub keeps unusual opening hours, so you should consult the website before planning a visit, although it does now open on match days.
This is certainly an interesting pub, in which it’s easy to strike up conversation with friendly locals whilst enjoying a well kept pint. Although my proposed crawl around Hartlepool was curtailed by my travel delays, I still suspect that this is by some distance the best place in town for the real ale drinker.

On 1st February 2013 - rating: 8
[User has posted 2347 recommendations about 2347 pubs]

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Gill Smith left this review about Rat Race Ale House

I had been looking forward to calling at this new ale house, and was not disappointed yesterday when 4 of us called in. Superb real ales and NO LAGER. Shame it has to shut on match days but it is so small that it would not cater for a football crowd, Enjoyed Barngates Tag Lag and Hop Back Fuggles. Conversation with others in the room is great as it is so small you feel everyone is in a front room of a house. Brilliant.

On 27th February 2010 - rating: 8
[User has posted 1296 recommendations about 1186 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Paul Brett left this review about Rat Race Ale House

A great little place, apparentely this place is England's smallest pub and another great selling point is the sign on the doors stating 'NO LAGER'
Funny opening hours though, but will have to go back to Hartlepool, just to visit this place again

On 25th February 2010 - rating: 10
[User has posted 65 recommendations about 64 pubs]