Montero’s is one of the weirdest bars I’ve ever visited, in the best way possible. It’s been a bar since 1939 when the regulars were the grisly longshoremen who worked on the docks just a block from the bar.
The clientele changed with the times, but the interiors stopped evolving sometime during the 1980s. That’s when the bar froze as a time capsule filled with nautical ephemera inspired by the once-thriving industrial Brooklyn waterfront.
I can only describe the Montero’s experience anecdotally. One Thanksgiving, my friend Molly and I went to the bar to get a drink in the evening. At first, we were the only two people there. But in the next hour, the bar exploded into a hectic party scene worthy of Paolo Sorrentino’s film The Great Beauty.
There were preppy locals from the city and heavy New York accents from those who had come from deep Brooklyn. A shoulder-to-shoulder crowd passed slices of pumpkin pies through the air while groups belted karaoke tunes in the back.
Montero’s is the kind of place where you can briefly go back in time to working-class Brooklyn, where people of all backgrounds and walks of life gather for (cheap) cocktails in an amazingly bizarre setting that you could only find in New York.