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Sunny Balzano, owner of Sunny’s Bar, RIP

Sunny Balzano
Sunny Balzano via Sunny’s Bar

Sunny Balzano, proprietor of the legendary Red Hook haunt Sunny’s Bar, died yesterday following a stroke, noted by Gothamist. He was 81. Balzano’s son offered this tribute on Instagram:

This evening my Father passed on to join the collective universe after 81 vibrant years. Saying “rest in peace” for this truly legendary man seems somewhat unfitting, I think something like “OFF INTO THE WILD BLUE YONDER” is much more like it. If you are curious to know more about my dad and his amazing life, just google him. I promise you will not be bored. I love you DAD!

Sunny’s operated as a speakeasy in the 90s before getting a liquor license. While it was one of the many Red Hook properties badly damaged by Hurricane Sandy, it managed to raise money via Kickstarter and benefit shows to reopen in 2013, a testament to how much people loved the place.

There was a book published about Sunny’s (and Sunny himself) earlier this year. Sunny’s Nights, by former Sunny’s bartender Tim Sultan, has gotten great reviews since it came out.

RIP Sunny, you’ll be missed. Raise a glass.

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