To outsiders, I usually describe Sunny’s, the venerable Red Hook bar that’s slipping into the stuff of NYC tavern lore, as the kind of place Popeye would drink at. It’s one of the few places left in New York City where something truly Weird can happen, one of the bars where the spirit of ghostly drunk time seemed to possess every person who walked through the door: My own memories recall a very drunken evening arguing with a guy in the back garden who swore on his life he watched his friend’s leg bone grow before his eyes, plus any number of odd run ins with characters who felt like they’d become unstuck from time and New York City, floating on the last bar at the edge of the world before it drifted off into Red Hook Channel forever.
Sunny Balzano, the bar’s owner and guiding spirit, died on Thursday night after suffering a cerebral hemorrhage. He was, as Gothamist’s John Del Signore said, “the patron saint of misfits,” a lighthouse drawing in artists, lost souls and anyone seeking desperately for somewhere to feel like a regular. His loss was a blow for the Red Hook community, who gathered on its cobblestone streets way outside the din of regular city life to pay tribute. Here’s how they remembered one of the all-time greats this weekend. (more…)
Ample Hills’ Oompa Loompas will soon be doing their thing in Red Hook (NOTE: Do not actually refer to them as Oompa Loompas). via Facebook
Ever since the news broke that Ample Hills was going to take their big time VC money (and Star Wars money maybe) and open up a giant ice cream factory here in Brooklyn, people have wondered where this modern day Willy Wonka factory was going to wind up. Brownstoner talked to Ample Hills co-owner Brian Smith about the future of the local ice cream makers and found out that the answer is everyone’s favorite neighborhood, Red Hook. Well, it’s our favorite neighborhood anyway. (more…)
What it is: Red Hook dive bar supreme with an in-house meat smoker, 60 plus beers from around the world, a classic jukebox, a bevy of board games to play in snazzy red vinyl booths, a backyard in which to drink the day away and friendly bartenders and regulars to welcome you in every day of the year, holidays included.
Why we love it: We’ve got proof of our love: the Ice House has been a Beer Book participant for five years strong, harkening back to our 2010 debut with Beer Book 1.0! It’s the kind of place you don’t forget, where you’ll make the long haul out because you know it’s worth it.
What to order: One of the aforementioned sixty plus beers from around the world! Two pulled pork sandwiches for $5 and a side of onion rings.
Regular tip: Help yourself to Hershey’s kisses on the bar, because the Brooklyn Ice House loves you.
Have you been to Berg’n lately and noticed that Pizza Moto used to be there but now it isn’t there? Don’t worry, they weren’t Raptured. Or maybe in a sense, they were, because the mobile pizza favorite of Smorgasburg and then Berg’n has found themselves a brick-and-mortar location in Red Hook that’s opening in September, according to DNA Info. Right, that’s what pizza heaven is, a place you can plant your pizza flag? (more…)
Gather up the crew, it’s time for some free movies
What’s the best way to make your summer truly fantastic? We’ve got a suggestion for you: head on down to Red Hook and sit on the Valentino Pier and watch free movies once the sun has gone to sleep. If that sounds as appealing to you as it does to us, then great news, because the Red Hook Flicks schedule is out and includes great selections for all nine weeks of its run, and with the inclusion of The Fantastic Mr. Fox you can probably use some other superlatives to describe the lineup. The word isn’t coming to us for some reason though. (more…)
Seeing as how it involves free outdoor movies during the summer in a neighborhood we like, we’re obviously fans of Red Hook Flicks. And that’s not even taking into account that they usually have an awesomelineup, which only makes us like them more. They’ve been selflessly playing cool movies for free for you, so how about hitting up their annual fundraiser this weekend and giving them a helping hand? Hate the concept of charity on a Randian level? You can also win stuff and eat food, so your self-interest can be rewarded too! (more…)
It’s always nice to hear something good happening in Red Hook. People who hate walking or are allergic to cycling always complain that Red Hook is too far away from everything. We’ve already shown you how to have the perfect day inside Red Hook, but now we got one more reason for you to head there, besides going to IKEA: Pioneer Works, a creative center already established in Red Hook, is expanding with a brand new book store just up the street from its factory space, and they had a soft opening Sunday. (more…)
Usually when it comes to packs of speeding lunatics going around and around in circles for hours, you’ve gotta go find New York’s closest NASCAR track (which is upstate in Watkins Glen). Fortunately, you’ve got a free, somewhat similar, bike-based option here this weekend. Want to watch packs of cyclists speed around a street track at upwards of 35mph on brakeless bicycles? Come watch the Red Hook Crit on Saturday. (more…)
What it is: Fort Defiance is a locally-sourced breakfast, lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch bar and restaurant with a strong New Orleans bent (owner St. John Frizell lived and worked there for many years). It’s a welcoming neighborhood hangout that plenty of non Red Hook locals will make the trek for again and again.
Why we love it: In addition to serving up delicious food and drink every day of the week, the Fort offers nightly specials: Monday-Friday is oyster happy hour from 3-7; Monday is burger night; and Thursdays is all Tiki with “The Sunken Harbor Club,” featuring creative tropical drink specials (Samoan Fog Cutter anyone?) and a Polynesian-inspired food menu. It’s an establishment that equally favors New Orleans and Brooklyn, making it a safe-haven for NOLA expats and Brooklyn diehards alike.
What to order: Choose from a mix of local craft beers, like Sixpoint and Other Half, and New Orleans favorites Abita and Bayou Teche, on tap. Creole red beans on toast is a NOLA-inspired brunch favorite—pair it with perfect brunch cocktails Ramos Gin Fizz or a Bourbon Milk punch. At lunch or dinner, definitely try the lauded chicken liver pate with a Sazerac. And don’t forget the aforementioned Thursday night Sunken Harbor Club, where you can order tiki drinks such as the “Gunga Din,” a g ‘n t with cardamom and a twist.
Regular tip: Fort Defiance is named for Red Hook’s Revolutionary War stronghold where General Washington and his troops shot down British boats in the harbor during the Battle of Brooklyn.
The government visited a Red Hook maraschino cherry company because of complaints about illegal dumping in the water near the plant. Normal story, at least for a little while, but it ended with the owner of the cherry plant killing himself when police stumbled on a false wall hiding what they later described as a Breaking Bad-style underground weed growing operation, according to the Daily News. (more…)