Farewell to the Montana Club, and a Clientele Straight Out of ‘Yellowstone’

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The century-old club, in Helena, had a celebrated Black bartender and a membership of Montana’s biggest movers and shakers.

The Montana Club, a celebrated bar, dining room and gathering place in Helena that was founded by frontier movers and shakers in 1885 — four years before Montana became a state — will close its doors after one final toast on March 29.

The club, which also holds a notable place in Black history, has been in financial straits in recent years, leading to a bankruptcy filing in November. (The club is not associated with the Montana Club restaurant chain.)

Before it reorganized in 2018 as a cooperative open to the public, the private club attracted an elite membership that would be right at home in the TV series “Yellowstone” — the mining, livestock and timber barons, and bankers, politicians and lawyers who steered the state’s fortunes over the years. (In fact, Cole Hauser, a star of the show, is a descendant of Samuel Hauser, a Montana territorial governor and a founder of the club, according to Charles Robison, its current president.)

“For a long time, everyone who was shaping the state belonged to the Montana Club,” Mr. Robison said.

That said, one of club’s most significant figures was a bartender who made culinary history there a century ago.

Julian Anderson, a longtime bartender who wrote an influential cocktail book.John Beauchamp, via Original Montana Club Cooperative Association

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