When I visited Bar B Q on 6th avenue and 20th street for the first time about a year ago, I wrote a review on city search that was shortly rejected for being too offensive and unbecoming - I felt the whole operation, from the food to the service were abominable and let loose as such in my review (my ire was raised because it had recently won some “best of” distinction and after my initial experience, I felt I needed to set the public straight on what was obviously some kind of padded survey). I guess what really irked me was the gap between the potential and execution and especially the service and the food quality (I had a brisket sandwich). I was also treated rudely by the bartender/waiter when asking for pickles on a my sandwich – what I thought was a reasonable request. If it were my restaurant and a customer wanted pickles, I wouldn’t be above running across the street to the bodega for a bottle of pickles, I think it was the pickle thing more than anything else that really pissed me off, I thought of bringing in my own, but what was the use, I didn’t want to come across as a jerk, I just wanted pickles.
There was also the comic book/ faux indie rock nerd vibe on part of cook and bartender and their loud obnoxious conversations bantered back and forth that seemed to attempt to alienate the few people in there – who were obviously looking for a neighborhood oasis and some inclusion in what can be a lonely strip of south park slope in terms of finding a nice place to knock a few back and eat some bar-b-qued meat, mac and cheese, sides, etc. Cheers it was not, buy why I thought, why the pretense? I had just moved from two years spent in Williamsburg and never encountered any level of unnessasary pretense remotely close to what I encountered at Bar B Q, good bye and good luck I thought... Hurmpf.
A couple of months later, friends were in town and we went on the basis of convenience and to provide myself with a opportunity to reinforce my strictly negative take, at the very least we could get some booze and not have to stumble too far home. On the second try, the food was kind of amazing. Pulled pork (no pickles still) was superb, no really, it reminded my of the Moonlight in Owensboro, Kentucky near the Blue Grass Hall of Fame, my companions all agreed and we ate and drank and felt well taken care of. With my initial vitriol blinders off, I realized the bourbon selection was astounding (cheap and well poured) and there was some fresh Six Point Bengali Tiger on tap, it was a blissful experience.
I have since been back several times, taking family and friends and although the food I have had (ribs, brisket, chicken) has been good; the pulled pork, cole slaw, mac and cheese and beverage selection (chow hounders: I must stress the pulled pork) remains something really special and worthy of an award. My first impressions were misguided in dismissing the place, all over some stupid pickles (how hard would it be to have a flipping jar of pickles, though?).
I am sorry and want to go on the record as saying I love Bar B Q. I love the slightly alienated and disjoined feeling I get when waking in, sitting at the beautifully authentic BBQ joint bar, still listening to loud and alienating conversations among the staff (which to my own horror, I now kind of find charming) and having the best pulled pork sandwich and freshest Brooklyn brewed beer that have ever existed.