RED HOOK, Brooklyn — Raise a glass — Sunny’s Bar in Brooklyn has been saved.
The Red Hook institution, which has been serving up a good time since 1890, was in danger of closing earlier this year. Some of the owners wanted to sell the property, but Tone Balzano-Johansen, who took over the reins after her husband Sunny passed, successfully raised the funds to purchase the property.
“She will keep the bar open as long as she lives,” said a representative for the bar. “This is the first time the building has been owned by a woman in all it’s history.”
This is not the first time Sunny’s owners have fought to stay around. The bar was hit hard during Hurricane Sandy. Flood waters forced them to shut down for 10 months. The owners have also had to contend with gentrification when their original customers were people like longshoremen and even gangsters.
Sunny, who inherited the bar from his father, died of a brain hemorrhage in 2016.
But Balzano-Johansen had no intention of throwing in the towel.
“This is a piece of New York history,” she said while she was fundraising. “This is a piece of Brooklyn history. It’s as real as you get it and that’s why people still come here.”