It feels a little repetitive to mention that we live in a city filled with amazing barbecue restaurants. While we may not have sandy beaches or snow-capped mountains, any given day can bring the smell of grilling meats wafting across the landscape. When we are looking for southern BBQ in Kansas City, we have a few nice options. One that has gained quite the reputation for food and fun is Char Bar, located at 4050 Pennsylvania in Westport. Sporting a retro feel, this “meat-ateria” has found a way to give off a major backyard barbecue vibe.

There was a lot of activity during our visit to Char Bar.

A Flurry of Activity

Dropping by on a rainy Saturday left us filling only half fulfilled. While the southern eats are always front and center, there is more than dining to be found at Char Bar. In fact, on a warm spring day, it wouldn’t be unusual to see quite a crowd gathered at their urban playground. Laying out along the front side of the restaurant is a huge beer garden that includes picnic tables, firepits, and games. Whether you are in the mood to challenge a friend to a round of bocce ball, cornhole, or ping-pong, you can find it all here. We are more of the “take it all in” crowd, so we just enjoy the sport of people watching.

We felt years younger when we saw the backyard barbecue vibe.

Toss in a Handful of Retro

While rain may have excluded our outdoor activities, it wasn’t about to dampen our dining experience. This southern-inspired smokehouse has got quite the laundry list of dishes to choose from. While not quite the chef-inspired plates we found in a Quebec City smokehouse, there are some plates that go beyond what we normally find in a KC barbecue joint. We tried to not let them distract us, as our mission on this day was to sample a nice variety of meaty options. Looking around at the retro décor, we started to piece together the finer details. Metal lunch trays reminded us of our school days in the cafeteria. This place was slowly transporting us back in time with its backyard barbecue vibe.

I loved my tray of meat choices and the backyard barbecue vibe we found at Char Bar.

Bring on the ‘Cue

All of this time travel had worked up our appetites, so it was time to get down to business. We decide that the best way to make the most of our visit was to divide and conquer. While there is an assortment of interesting options, I was here for the Smoked Meat. Skipping over all of the other sections of the menu, I landed on the Signature Trays portion. Now I just needed to determine which cuts I wanted to explore. In the end, it was The Holy Trinity that grabbed my attention. With three ribs, some burnt ends, and slices of black Angus brisket, I was in for some delectable dining. The addition of a bowl of Coleslaw, a slice of toast, and some pickles helped add a little extra flavor variety. As soon as they set the tray down, I knew that we were in for some smoky goodness.

The Pickled Pig sandwich had all of the flavors of North Carolina barbecue.

Backyard Barbecue Vibe

Crystal chose a plate from the Smokehouse Sandwiches portion of the menu. While she teetered between a couple of choices, she ultimately landed on the Pickled Pig. She’s been on a pulled pork craze, of late, so this came as no surprise to me. Char Bar serves this sammie up with some North Carolina flair by piling a nice serving of creamy slaw right on top of the meat. For a little twist, they use pork butt, instead of shoulder, which some feel brings more meaty flavor to the plate. She added in a helping of their Sweet Potato Fries, which I had to get a picture of quickly before they began disappearing. With the backyard barbecue vibe in high gear, we devoured the dishes laid out before us. Too soon, we found ourselves staring at the emptiness left behind and looking forward to our next visit to Char Bar.

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