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Bear's Smokehouse BBQ In Downtown Hartford : A Review

Updated on February 1, 2016

Bear's Smokehouse BBQ In Downtown Hartford

Earlier this week, while reading "The Hartford News" newspaper, I learned of a new barbecue restaurant located on Arch Street in downtown Hartford. The restaurant is named Bear's Smokehouse BBQ and it's situated right next door to the Arch Street Tavern.

Being a big fan of all things barbecue, I decided to look the restaurant up online. When I went to a well-known user-generated local review site, I couldn't believe how satisfied all of the comment posters' were with Bears.

Honestly, I read more than 20 customer reviews and every single person raved about the place. Through the years, I've read plenty of positive restaurant reviews, but I'd never seen so many that consistently said it was the best such food they'd ever eaten.

Bear's On The Mind

After perusing Bear's menu online, I couldn't stop thinking about the restaurant. That was on Monday night. The following day, I found myself thinking about Bear's shortly after waking up, so I decided to go down there that night.

It was roughly 6:30 on Tuesday night when I arrived at Bear's Smokehouse BBQ. From what I could see, the restaurant consists of one large room with a high ceiling. It sports an industrial look and it features a cafeteria-style format.


Appetizers at Bear's include MOINK Balls, which are bacon wrapped meatballs, smoked wings, crispy ribs and Poutine, made with french fries, meat and cheese.

Big Sandwiches

Sandwich choices are brisket, pulled pork, kielbasa, turkey breast, Texas sausage, burnt ends and chopped, which is a combination of pulled pork and chopped brisket.

Awesome Entrees

My appetite was focused on eating a pile of BBQ sauce-coated pulled pork at home, along with some tangy cole slaw, baked beans, corn bread and sweet potatoes.

Entree choices at Bear's include pulled pork, brisket, turkey breast, kielbasa, Texas sausage, burnt ends, 1/2 chicken and whole chicken. Each entree comes with a choice of any two sides.

My choice of to-go entree was pulled pork and my side dish choices were mashed sweet potatoes and smoked BBQ beans. Because I was hoping to have two nights worth of food in my little barbecue extravaganza, I ordered two additional side dishes : another order of mashed sweet potatoes and an order of their tasty cole slaw.

For good measure, I also ordered a piece of their corn bread and a bowl of apple crisp.


The total cost of my meal was $22.28. That's for a pulled pork entree that features two side dishes, an extra side of mashed sweet potatoes, an extra side of cole slaw, one piece of corn bread and an apple crisp dessert.

Eating The Food

A few hours later, I sat down to eat my dinner from Bear's Smokehouse BBQ in front of the television set.

Approximately one-half of the pulled pork, one of the mashed sweet potato sides and one-half of the smoked BBQ beans side were heated in the microwave oven. I also ate one-half of the cole slaw side and one-half of the piece of corn bread.

The flavor and texture of the pulled pork were superb. As stated by myriad reviewers on the Internet, it was definitely the best pulled pork I'd ever eaten. The sweet barbecue sauce (one of four choices) that I chose for my pulled pork was fantastic.

The smoked BBQ beans were very good, among the best I've ever eaten. They are thick, slightly sweet and delicious.

Although the mashed sweet potatoes were nicely seasoned and quite tasty, they contained little strands of potato fibers or something that I kept removing from the mash.

Cole slaw is one of my favorite dishes to eat and prepare. The cole slaw served at Bear's is tangy and slightly sweet and the mayonnaise content seems fairly low.

Through the years,I've eaten plenty of corn bread variations and I found Bear's to be very good. Thick, moist and fairly dense, this cornbread is a great accompaniment to the other tasty items from this barbecue spot.

Overall Rating

The food that I bought at Bear's Smokehouse BBQ ended up supplying almost 1.5 meals. Not as much as I was hoping for, but it
sure did taste good.

Will I visit this establishment again to purchase food?

Yes. Definitely, yes.

Highly recommended.

4 stars for Bear's Smokehouse BBQ


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