Pitcher perfect: Boozy art show raises cash for Sunny’s Bar

Bar inception: Brooklyn Heights artist John Tebeau holds up one of his portraits of Sunny’s Bar, while in front of Sunny’s Bar.
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It’s art that’s good enough to drink!

A trio of artists inspired by alcohol will showcase their whiskey-filled work at Sunny’s Bar in Red Hook, as part of an ongoing fund-raising effort to preserve the endangered waterfront watering hole. Among the artists at the Booze Arts party on May 8 will be Brooklyn Heights artist John Tebeau, displaying five of his handmade prints of beloved local bars. Tebeau says that each print is a sort of love letter to his favorite saloons — including Sunny’s, his home away from home.

“I loved it because it was such a throwback to the old Brooklyn, one of the few places that still had that old waterfront feel to it,” said Tebeau, who has been drinking at Sunny’s since 2010. “I loved it because it was off the beaten path.”

Tebeau has created a series of silk-screened posters and prints of iconic liquor-slinging spots around the city, and a hardcover collection of his pub portraits, titled “Great Good Places of New York,” will be published early next year, he said. Among the other Brooklyn gin joints Tebeau will feature in the Booze Arts show will be Ruby’s Bar and Grill in Coney Island, and Montero’s and the Long Island Bar in Brooklyn Heights.

But the booze is not what gives Tebeau his artistic buzz — it is the atmosphere inside a saloon that gets his creative juices flowing, he said.

“It’s more about the feel of a place, that’s what inspires me. I love places and I love having my different spots where I feel at home outside of home,” said Tebeau. “Having a good cocktail is fantastic, a cold beer is wonderful — the artwork and the book that I’m doing are more about loving the place.”

Joining Tebeau for the show at Sunny’s will be artist Jill DeGroff, who portrays barflies and other nightlife figures in paintings and caricatures, and painter Nicole Desmond, who creates classical still lifes of tiki drinks.

A portion of the proceeds from the party and arts sale will go towards helping Sunny’s owners purchase the building so it can remain a neighborhood institution, said Tebeau’s wife Colleen, who organized the event.

“We’re just fans of Sunny’s — it’s a magical place,” she said.

Booze Arts at Sunny’s Bar [253 Conover St. between Reed and Beard streets in Red Hook, (718) 625–8211]. May 8 at 9 pm. Free. Art on display through June 20.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Updated 5:59 pm, July 9, 2018
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