John David Montgomery was born and raised in Natchez and he has lived a very colorful and interesting life.
J.D. has been with Under-The-Hill-Saloon since June 1981.
Living close-by he usually walks to work five days a week, Friday through Tuesday. J.D. usually comes in around 6:00 P. M. and he stays until everyone leaves.
His first bartending job was in Natchez in 1979 at the Corner Bar, located on the corner of Canal and State Streets, where he worked for six months.
At the urging of a very good friend, Frank Rico who taught at Tulane and was himself a very famous bartender around New Orleans, John David enrolled in mixology school at Tulane University. To accomplish this while he was working at various jobs, he would travel to New Orleans two or three days a week and attend night school.
When he graduated with a degree in mixology in 1980 John David went to Wyoming, but Natchez drew him back in 1981.
As J. D. tells it, “I was working at the Corner Bar one night and big Andre’ came in and asked me to come talk to him at his bar, Under-The-Hill-Saloon.” Montgomery continued, “The next day I went down to see Mr. Andre’ and he was on top of the bar sanding it down. We went to the Cock of The Walk to have lunch, and there he interviewed me and hired me on the spot. That was in June of 1981.”
In 1983 the Governor of Mississippi presented the “Silver Spoon Award” to John David. The Mississippi Restaurant Association selects only five people a year to receive this award. There was a large crowd of people as well as the press in attendance when John David was presented this prestigious award at Under-The-Hill-Saloon.
J. D. pointed out that Under-The-Hill-Saloon has been written about in many travel guidebooks and he has personally been mentioned in 48 different travel books himself.
Doing research on the travel guidebooks Bill Atkins told us, “I was at the saloon one evening and there was a group of people from Germany. I noticed they had a travel book with them and I asked if Under-The-Hill-Saloon was in the book.” Atkins explained how they turned the pages of the book until they came to Under-The-Hill-Saloon, but it was written in German. Atkins asked them what it said and they explained the guidebook talked about the saloon building, its atmosphere and hospitality.
Atkins said, “As they continued to read, the guidebook said to be sure and visit with the short bartender at the saloon. So I guess J.D. is in fact listed in a lot to travel guides."
John David says he feels very fortunate to be working at Under-The-Hill-Saloon because he has met a lot of interesting people from all over the world as they come to tour Natchez.