7. Sunny’s Bar is one of the city’s last remaining longshoremen bars
Sunny’s Bar is one of the city’s last remaining longshoremen bars, even though few longshoremen go anymore. The space first opened as John’s Restaurant and Bar, where longshoremen would unwind after work. The bar, though, became a spot for the local artsy residents as the community declined during the 1980s and shipping was long gone. Sunny’s then took on the name Red Hook Yacht and Kayak Club, where customers tracked their own tabs and purchased drinks with a $3 “donation.” It was shuttered in 2001, though, as it sold liquor without a license.
Sunny Balzano, the bar’s proprietor and namesake, worked to get the bar back up and running alongside some community members. Many interior knick-knacks remained untouched when Sunny’s Bar opened. The bar served as a music venue and an art space, over the years attracting locals old and young as well as outsiders. After suffering damage from Hurricane Sandy, the community banded together and helped finance repairs.