Sunny’s Bar in Red Hook opened in 1890 – it’s a local favorite and reminds residents of a Red Hook from long ago, when longshoremen gathered after working at the docks, and now today stands as a community hub where one can always find live music, sometimes comedy, and the occasional figure drawing class. The bar is now known throughout NYC for its homey charm and intricate variety of trinkets and treasures – it feels like nothing has changed since the days when Red Hook was one of the busiest ports in the country.
Tim Sultan, former magazine editor and Sunny’s bartender, wrote a memoir about Sunny’s Bar called Sunny’s Nights: Lost and Found at a Bar on the Edge of the World. In it, Sultan describes stumbling upon Sunny’s after taking a wrong turn trying to get to Park Slope, and the friendship with the bar and Sunny himself that follows. The New York Times writes:
There are many rewards in this book: historical facts about Red Hook. Photographs and illustrations. A boating accident. Mobsters. A mystery involving a grisly murder. The people who come to the bar, including a transvestite who appears one day on an enormous tricycle and sings “Lydia the Tattooed Lady.” The world Sunny grew up in, peopled by folks like “Lip-Lip” Leo, a tiny man with “dwarf-like features. . . . Something was broken in his mind and when a fire engine or an ambulance or a garbage truck drove by, Lip-Lip Leo would run after it like a territorial dog.”
Sunny’s Nights is available on Amazon! Check it out here.