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Sunny's Nights: Lost and Found at a Bar on the Edge of the World
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Sunny's Nights: Lost and Found at a Bar on the Edge of the World

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  374 ratings  ·  88 reviews
Imagine that Alice had walked into a bar instead of falling down the rabbit hole. In the tradition of J. R. Moehringer’s The Tender Bar and the classic reportage of Joseph Mitchell, here is an indelible portrait of what is quite possibly the most wonderful bar in the world—and the mercurial, magnificent man behind it.
 
The first time he saw Sunny’s Bar, in 1995, Tim Sulta
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Paperback, 288 pages
Published March 20th 2018 by Random House Trade (first published February 16th 2016)
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3.94  · 
Rating details
 ·  374 ratings  ·  88 reviews


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Una Tiers
Jul 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A nice walk into the past and the life of a unique character who owns a bar near the docks. About half way through the feeling shifted from the comfort of the 1950s to something ugly before returning to the same comforting tone. While this may be realistic, it killed my buzz.
Pat
Feb 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
A great read about the author's love of a bar and its owner he stumbled upon in Red Hook, NYC. Run down, by the water front, Red Hook has been forgotten. Sunny is an eccentric owner of a bar that only stays open one night a week. The author ends up bartending and absorbing the stories of Sunny and the many characters who are regulars at the bar. Beginning in 1995 until Hurricane Sandy, the area and the author change and time marches on for all. Photos were great in the book, Sunny looked as I im ...more
Debbie
Jan 08, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received an ARC of Sunny's Nights as part of the Goodreads Firstreads Giveaway.

Trying to classify Sunny's Nights is an interesting endeavor- it is definitely a biography of Sunny Balzano, Red Hook bar owner and resident philosopher, but it is also an autobiographical account of the author's own adult "coming of age" story. In addition it's a fascinating historical account of 20th century life in a hard scrabble Brooklyn waterfront community. It may sound like there is a lot going on in this bo
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Phyllis
Dec 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, first-read, won
We’ve probably all had moments or met people who have left lasting changes or impressions in our lives. One night when he was 27 and driving aimlessly, this happened to Tim Sultan. In a dark, desolate neighborhood of New York called Red Hook, he entered a place just called ‘Bar’. The bar was owned and run by Sunny Balzano and had been in Sunny’s family for a hundred years and was as eccentric as its owner. Sunny is an actor, an artist, a story teller and a lover of life. The bar became Tim’s ‘ho ...more
Sandy
Feb 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A man walks into a bar...seriously, bear with me, you haven't heard this one before.
Sometime in the mid-1990's, Tim Sultan was driving home late at night and made a wrong turn. He ended up on a desolate and isolated street. Seeing a lit sign that simply said "BAR", he ventured into the place, where he found a group of grizzled drinkers, a vintage Martha Graham dance performance being projected on a screen, and Sunny, the eccentric proprietor.
Thus begins this story of a bar, a friendship, a chan
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Debbie
Apr 04, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an unusual, quirky book that I’ve been reading over the past month in 10 to 15 minute increments and that might be the best way to read this book. It’s part memoir/part history and the story of the most unusual bar and barkeeper I’ve ever read about.
Tim Sultan found Sunny’s bar late at night when he was lost in the Red Hook area of Brooklyn. When he entered, he found everyone at the bar watching a video of a Martha Graham dance performance. It wasn’t exactly what Tim expected from a dive
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Julie Witte
Mar 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I received this advance copy through GoodReads First Reads. The author has a real gift for cutting to the heart of the character (Sunny) That allows the reader to feel as if they were right there in the dim light of the Bar, on the edge of their seat listening to another fantastic/mostly true story. A great book, I had a hard time setting it down. Mr. Sultan has written one of my favorite books so far this year, and for that I am happy and looking forward to the next.
Jae Park
Dec 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received a copy of this book from Goodreads Giveaways, thanks!

"Sunny's Nights" follows the story of a man who kind of stumbles upon a bar in an area of Brooklyn called Red Hook. Sunny's bar is near the Brooklyn docks and is owned by a gentleman named Sunny Balzano. Sunny is an interesting and colorful character who has made many friends while running his bar.

The Red Hook area has a bad reputation as a rough place, but that doesn't stop Tim from regularly going there on Friday nights (the
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Chris Roberts
Feb 21, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
"Cheers" for the gutter ready...

Brooklyn carpetbaggers trickle steady...

born and bred in the County of Kings...

tire irons are what my crew swings...

unless you're street talking Brooklynese...

take your ass back to Wisconsin cheese...

a five-dollar bar, boozy-been-there in Red Hook...

isn't worth a busted-out dust jacket and book.

Chris Roberts, Brooklyn is Mine and Mine
Sara
Feb 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sublime. Rebecca Barry said it best: "It’s moments like this that barflies (and writers, and artists) live for — where everything stops and all the barriers and trouble that the mind makes for itself fall away and what’s left is this sweet, hopeful understanding of our broken, glorious kind." http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/28/boo...
Jim Breslin
Sep 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this creative nonfiction book about Sunny and his dive bar in Red Hook. Tim Sultan captures the fun and grittiness of the life of an outsider and this drinking establishment for all types of creative folks and the bar's eventual decline as technology and gentrification emerge. A fun read.
Danny Cerullo
Dec 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good read about a, formerly, unique place in New York and one of its more unique citizens. It's smart and sentimental without being overly so on either. Personally, I think it would probably make a better movie then it did a book, but it's still very worthwhile.
Robert
Feb 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: x2016-17-season
Eclectic bar; quirky owner; bored, overpaid, and over-educated chronicler. Well done and interesting, but ultimately pointless.
Dale
Aug 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received this book through a GoodReads giveaway courtesy of Random House. I'd actually been wanting to read it since it came out, so it was serendipitous that I got it in my first giveaway win.

I was excited to read this book as soon as I heard about it because I lived in Red Hook for several years. I'd still be living there today if my apartment hadn't flooded in Sandy. The spring after we survived Sandy, my landlord didn't renew my lease, so he could turn my apartment into an AirBnB. I looked
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Sara
Jan 25, 2019 rated it liked it
This is an enjoyable read about a unique character who attracts other unique characters. Imagine a bar in a forgotten corner of Red Hook, Brooklyn, and that bar owner only opens it on Fridays, keeps it 'illegally legal' by accepting donations instead of payment for drinks, and when you enter for the first time there's a group of weathered men watching a classic of modern dance via a projector. This is the sort of place that Sunny's was.

The book reads like a yarn told atop a bar stool, each chap
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Kristi Lamont
Sigh. I wanted to like this book so much more than I did (and I was so excited when I won it in a Goodreads Giveaway -- thanks, Random House). But, alas, while it started out as a very engaging book about a certain kind of bar that works a certain kind of magic on proprietor and patrons alike, it turned into something more akin to watching somebody else's home movies of a beloved "character" of an uncle you never knew when he was alive holding forth on this, that and the other in a somewhat drun ...more
Mark Mulvey
Sep 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Overhearing the new Sunny's versus the old Sunny's debate one night, Charlie, with Guinness froth on his Airedale mustache, weighed in by saying, 'A woman in a picket line in Baltimore once expressed something so philosophically brilliant to me. She said, 'Eat shit if you must, but never call it ice cream.' You don't do a brainwashing of yourself. Confronted with conflict, you compromise but you don't deceive yourself that you're doing something else. You make compromises but you don't sell out ...more
Vivian
Mar 21, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
“I stood beneath one of two faded brown awnings. In between was a simple wooden door containing three peephole windows.”

Never had Tim visited a bar with no name. He’d actually been to a bar named, A Bar With No Name, but this one literally had none. Rarer still was that it only opened on the seventh day and all drinks sold were $3. Sunny ran the bar, and his father and uncle before him. The cast of characters, antics and tales were the drink of choice. Because beyond that, Sunny wasn’t much of a
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Bob
Mar 25, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Not sure why I thought this was fiction when I picked it up. It's memoir — storytelling, to be more accurate — and the stories are only mildly interesting. I almost quit on this book three or four times, and I probably only finished reading it because, having invested so much time in it, I thought for sure there was going to be something redeeming in the end. Not so.
What I will say for author Tim Sultan is that he has an amazing way of drawing unique pictures with words. However, once I convince
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Lynn
Apr 23, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is Tim Sultan's love letter to a man, Sunny Balzano and his Brooklyn watering hole, Sunny's Bar. It is a true story of stumbling upon a place in the blue-collar section of Brooklyn called Red Hook run by a charismatic man who seems larger than life, and a bar that seems custom-made for its diverse customers. Music, philosophical conversations, joie de vivre , respect and acceptance combine to create a magical place - even if only one night a week. Isn't this what many people dream of? It's ...more
Bonnie_blu
Feb 24, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
A rather self-indulgent book where the author bemoans the "loss" of a bar he discovers that is run by an interesting character. I felt the whole thing smacked of a man who was actually missing wild, unrestrictive, no consequences youth. But to glorify the lost good-old days in the form of a man who was an alcoholic, chain smoking, narcissistic, deadbeat dad appalls me. I also found the book to be very repetitive and actually boring.
Yvette
Aug 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A Delightful Treasure!
Tim Sultan's masterfully crafted book pays homage to a beloved, clever, rough-around-the-edges character from a time and place some of us can relate to. He uses rich, vivid language throughout a series of well-written, compelling stories and anecdotes to encapsulate his friend, Sunny. This book is part memoir, part historical documentary, and 100% worth the read.
Marianne
May 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The best way to describe this book is a biography of a bar and the bar's owner. The fact that both are extremely interesting makes this a really terrific read. The author stumbled upon what appears to be a dive bar but discovers so much more. A tribute to the bar, the multi-faceted owner, the Red Hook that was and ultimately friendship, Sunny's Nights is really entertaining and touching.
Kathy Heare Watts
A bar with a fascinating history tied up in Sunny. A place that included everything from the common to the elite and famous.

I won an advanced reading copy of this book during a Goodreads giveaway. I am under no obligation to leave a review or rating and do so voluntarily. So that others may also enjoy this book, I am donating it to a senior assisted living facility.
Angela
Sep 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lived in Red Hook for 8 years and never did get to this bar. Interesting story. The writer is an original NYC hipster but is in denial. I yawn at the male ivy league writer who sort of struggles but not really. He was dedicated to an idea, you have to grant him that. I hope the book has done well for all his loyalty. I appreciated the insight on the mayor - disappointing.
Thomas Ryan
Apr 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Like “The Boys of Summer”, a book not so much about baseball as it is about life and loss, so too is Tim
Sultan’s book about Sonny the person, Sonny’s the bar and a place called Red Hook also a book that sings in its description of life and loss.
Pauline
Jul 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A nice walk into the past and the life of a unique character who owns a bar near the docks. About half way through the feeling shifted from the comfort of the 1950s to something ugly before returning to the comforting tone. While this may be realistic, it killed my buzz.
Melinda
It was interesting to read about this history of this part of New Jersey, Sandy Hook, from 1900-today. It is set in a bar and so the stories are interwoven through customers over the years. It’s kinda a historical biography.
Lisa Kentgen
Jan 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read because I love the institution of Sunny's bar in Red Hook.
Kathleen Fern
May 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sunny's Nights was, for me, the sort of book that makes you sad to finish it. If your'e a New Yorker, you'll love this glimpse into Red Hook, Brooklyn, and especially the character of Sunny.
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