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Heights and dry: Montero’s Bar building is up for sale

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It is setting sale.

The owner of storied Brooklyn Heights watering hole Montero’s Bar and Grill is looking to sell the Atlantic Avenue building it has anchored for 76 years. And if someone snaps up the property, the borough may have to say bon voyage to one of its last remaining longshoremen’s bars, said a longtime employee.

“This may not be the oldest bar in Brooklyn, but it might be one of the last true seamen’s bars,” said bartender Allan, who refused to give his last name, but said he has been working at Montero’s for a decade and has lived in the neighborhood for over 30 years.

Owner Pepe Montero has teamed up with five neighbors — including his brother Frank — to put seven buildings on the block between Hicks Street and the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway on the market for a combined $56 million, according to the New York Times.

The owner of the building on the corner of Atlantic Avenue and Hicks Street — which another Montero brother, Ramon, sold for $1.9 million in 2013 — does not want to sell, according to the Times. But the other properties comprise almost an entire block of real-estate in one of the most desirable neighborhoods in the borough.

The buildings are close to forthcoming luxury-housing high-rises in Brooklyn Bridge Park and on the former Long Island College Hospital complex, but prospective purchasers will have to keep their ambitions more modest — the block is part of the Brooklyn Heights Historic District, where the maximum building height is 50 feet or around four stories.

Pepe Montero’s parents Joseph, a former seaman, and Pilar, the daughter of a ferryman, first opened the bar in 1939 across the street from its current location, where they served the stevedores and merchant mariners who worked at the nearby waterfront.

They moved the bar across Atlantic Avenue in 1948 when the city razed the original location to build the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, and handed the tavern and the three apartments above over to Pepe Montero in 1997, according to city records.

Few seamen or dock workers patronize the alehouse these days, but Montero’s remains a museum to its own past and that of Brooklyn’s working waterfront. Life preservers hang from the ceiling and portholes fastened to the wall hold photos of the bar’s founder. A sign bearing the pub’s name — which a sailor brought back from Brazil and is made out of butterfly wings, according to Allan — is mounted above the ancient cash register, which itself has been with the inn since its first days.

And unlike some bars, all the tchotchkes are authentic, according to one long-time customer.

“You can go to any other bar and find this fake stuff that they purchased, but here it’s real,” said Dave, who also refused to give his last name, and said he has lived nearby for 25 years. “This is just another chunk of authentic New York that’s going to be replaced with a Disney store.”

Reach reporter Noah Hurowitz at nhurowitz@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–4505. Follow him on Twitter @noahhurowitz
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

! says:
Let's begin the eulogies for the lost Brooklyn. Praise the glory days that weren't all that glorious (they moved the original bar to build the BQE, nostalgia is sure to miss that). But before we bemoan the dying of an old bar to make room for yet more yuppie condos, let's remind ourselves what makes New York great is the very fact that a bar for dockworkers could last 60 years in a post-industrial Brooklyn, sandwiched between affluent neighborhoods.
July 29, 2015, 7:49 am
Rufus Leaking from BH says:
So, buy it and move it - it's been done before- Costello's in Manhattan comes to mind. Umberto's too.

The reason for the tears is because the hipsters will miss a place where they can pretend to be workers and slum for a while.

Monterro's fixtures in another store front would work just fine. And you could still pretend.
July 29, 2015, 7:55 am
JHS from Brook Line says:
The Longshoreman left in the 70's.

Time for last call
July 29, 2015, 10:48 am
Barry from Flatbush says:
The neighborhood's name is Brookhattan, and native Brooklynites should stay the hell away from it. They don't belong there.
July 29, 2015, 5:52 pm

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