Looking to the far corner of the bar at Monty’s, we see a spaghetti kitchen. Or rather, the ghost of one. Before anybody can remember, this space in the Magnolia shopping center used to sling pasta and meatballs before it transformed into a neighborhood bar.
Now owned by the wife of the former owner, Monty’s Sports Bar gets packed during “da game,” Tuesday pool league nights and Thursday karaoke. But when we sauntered in, it was late and a bit slow. A few regulars are seated up to the bar, and we are greeted by Susie Crawford, who has been mixing drinks here for 17 years. If you’ve stopped by on a weeknight, then you’ve probably met her.
We wanted to get involved with some cocktails, and after The Rolling Stones kicked in on the jukebox, we began with a Bloody Mary. The mix is housemade every week and contains a secret combination of tomato juice, bullion, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, pepper, celery salt and Tabasco (Bullion is an infrequent ingredient in our experience. Can’t say we tasted anything “beefy” about it). A no-frills Mary — no pickled veggies to finish — this was really about the spicy tomato flavor meeting the vodka, all served up in a hurricane glass for your brunch-time game watching. It went down like a treat.
Zooming by next was the Flying Saucer, which Crawford proclaimed as one of her favorites to make. It’s not one for the beer-and-a-shot crowd, but it’s a cute one. Coming in a round globe glass, it mixes vodka, Amaretto and Kahlua for a creamy milkshake of tipsy proportions, topped with whipped cream and nutmeg. The drink boasts the strong taste of almonds from the Amaretto, but with the coffee flavor hiding in the background. And once Crawford has whipped one up, there’s usually a little extra to go ’round.
For those who come in and have no idea what to have, Crawford recommends starting off with the Raspberry Kamikaze, a straight-up shot of Stoli Razberi, triple sec and Rose’s Lime Cordial, with a splash of cranberry for color. Yes, it’s a good place to start. Where you end up is another matter. Its flavor can fool you into having a little too much.
Well, we maintained, despite The Stones on the jukebox. And we thought about the almost-holiday flavor of the Flying Saucer, its unique quality (for a sports bar), and decided that it would go best as our Drink of the Week.
1 part vodka (any kind, Stoli is fine)
2 part Amaretto
1 part Kahlua
1 part half and half
Blend vodka, Amaretto, Kahlua, cream and ice in blender. Pour into globe glass. Top with whipped cream and nutmeg.
MONTY’S SPORTS BAR
5114 Hollister Ave.