The man himself, in a brown fedora and red shirt, toting a bunch of flowers, stayed surrounded by friends and well-wishers all evening, glad-handing like a politician or a made-man. We were all surrounded by a few hundred of Sunny's closest friends, too: until about 11pm, it was shoulder-to-shoulder in most parts of the bar, including the greatly expanded outside, about three times the size of the old one, having taken over the neighbor's backyard, adding more seats, plants, and a barbecue nook. Large trays of food were carried in and out, the grub lasting until a "last call!" at 10:45pm. ("I've never heard a last call for barbecue," someone said.) To get some, you had to wedge through the throngs—or to get drinks, to take drinks away from the three-deep bar, to get outside or near the bands, which were lively as always, representing multiple styles with myriad instrumentations, some amalgam of upright bass, tuba, clarinet, sax, fiddle, electric guitar. "I hope it's not always this crowded," someone cracked as they crammed through the crowd. But, Jesus, at least Sunny's is back.
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