Midtown KC dive Chez Charlie has the best bar rules in the world
There is no Liar’s Poker allowed at Chez Charlie (3809 Broadway Blvd., Kansas City, Mo. 816-753-9247). The obscure bar game, played by telling or bluffing the serial number on a dollar bill, isn’t the only thing banned at this sign-less dive in Midtown. Whistling, thumb-twiddling and newspapers are also prohibited by the faded House Rules posted by the door.
You may not drink straight orange juice. You also can’t hunt or fish. Sorry, Doogie Howser: No beepers allowed, either.
Things have loosened up since the passing of Charlie Gilloti, who opened the bar in 1968. The one-legged former boxer was a hothead who, according to the story told by a retiree seated with a beer and a back on a Monday morning, once had to give up a diner he owned to settle a lawsuit brought by a man he beat up for reading a broadsheet newspaper at the bar.
“If you came in and read a newspaper, he’d kick your a– out,” the retiree says. “You came here to drink, not read. That was his attitude… and even though he was the owner, he’d get in fights.”
Current owner Larry “Moe” Mauzey started at the bar as a bouncer in 1977 and later bought it. There’s still no sign outside. The back wall is still a black leatherette banquette with little round white tables every few feet. People still play pull tabs and toss darts.
Although you can’t pass time with a little Liar’s Poker, you can hear some great Charlie stories, such as when he fired a waitress for cleaning the windows.
“Charlie says, ‘What the hell are you doing — you think I want people to be able to see in here?’” says an old man slugging whiskey and laughing.
There’s really just one rule now, according to an interview Mauzey gave to the Midtown KC Post: “Everybody is welcome unless you start to bother other people,” he said. “Then you go.”