Pilar Montero died last weekend at the age of 90, the Brooklyn Heights Blog reported. She and her husband Joseph opened the bar Montero’s on Atlantic Avenue in 1947, when many bars and restaurants with Spanish-sounding names peppered the street; located close to the waterfront, it was a hangout for longshoremen and other maritime types. The days of an active waterfront and of a Spanish corner of Brooklyn Heights have of course passed. In recent years, Montero’s has become a beloved “dive,” known for its colored, flashing neon sign and “beloved for [its] karaoke, pool and its rustic, knick-knack-packed ambiance,” BHB writes. The news was broken on the bar’s Facebook page.
Pilar, who often wore a beret, “endeared herself to generations of patrons with her elegant beauty, trademark bluntness and canny ability to explore current events from her catbird perch at the front end of the glass-brick bar,” according to the Brooklyn Paper‘s obituary—not to mention her ability to rein in drunken customers.
Pilar moved to Brooklyn from Manhattan when she was “very little,” the Times reported in 2006. She rode the ferry over with her father, who was the ferryman.