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Sunny's Bar in Red Hook Inspires New Memoir

By Nikhita Venugopal | February 21, 2016 7:32pm
 Sunny Balzano, the owner of Sunny's Bar.
Sunny Balzano, the owner of Sunny's Bar.
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DNAinfo/Nikhita Venugopal

RED HOOK — The legendary Sunny's Bar, and its eponymous owner Sunny Balzano, are no strangers to fame. 

The Conover Street bar has served the neighborhood for decades, from longshoremen who worked on the docks nearby to a new generation of locals living and working in Red Hook. 

Sunny's Bar has been used to film for documentaries and feature films, written about in news features and was even featured in an episode of Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservations."

Now, Balzano and his bar are the subject of a new nonfiction book.

Author Tim Sultan will read from "Sunny's Nights," to be released Feb. 23, at Book Court, located at 163 Court St. in Cobble Hill.

The event, which will begin at 7 p.m., also includes an audience Q&A and book signing.

Sultan first visited the Red Hook bar in 1995 and eventually quit his job to begin working as a full-time bartender there.

He described Balzano as a "Tony Bennett lookalike" who has "partied with Andy Warhol, spent time in India at the feet of a guru, and painted abstract expressionist originals," according to the event listing. 

"Sunny's Nights" is both a portrait of the famed bar and a memoir of Sultan's experiences with Balzano.

Hurricane Sandy flooded the bar in Oct. 2012, causing structural and electrical damage. It remained closed for almost a year before opened in Aug. 2013.