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Brooklyn Pizza owner to open stargazing bar

Amir Adib / Arizona Daily Wildcat

The owner of Brooklyn Pizza, Tony Vaccaro, is building Sky Bar, a new stargazing bar, next door to  Brooklyn Pizza
Amir Adib / Arizona Daily Wildcat The owner of Brooklyn Pizza, Tony Vaccaro, is building Sky Bar, a new stargazing bar, next door to Brooklyn Pizza

Tony Vaccaro had an epiphany while floating down the Middle Fork of the Salmon River in Idaho on his annual vacation.

Vaccaro, owner of Brooklyn Pizza Company and lifelong astronomy enthusiast, had been contemplating what to do with the empty storefront he also owns next to his pizza shop, 534 N. Fourth Ave., for a few years.

His decision? Build a bar with a view of the stars.

“”I mulled over a few ideas,”” he said. “”I wanted to do something unique, inspirational and educational just because bars seem to be the opposite of all those things.””

Vaccaro chose not to renew the lease on the nightclub North on Fourth, 536 N. Fourth Ave., which previously occupied the space and closed last month, he said.

Sky Bar, expected to open Oct. 31 or shortly after, will serve Brooklyn pizza and feature a full bar, outdoor patio for stargazing and a Celestron CPC 800 telescope wired to a camera to display images on a television inside the bar, he said.

“”Every night of the week, we’ll be taking deep-space images of nebulae, star clusters and galaxies,”” Vaccaro said.

The name Sky Bar also refers to the bar’s use of solar panels and many windows to create an “”open feeling,”” he said.

In addition, the bar’s tabletops will be made of bamboo and other renewable resources, he said. The bar will also be equipped with solar panels, like the ones already in use at Brooklyn Pizza.

“”It will add something unique to Tucson,”” Vaccaro said. “”I honestly don’t know of another bar in the world with its own telescope.””

The telescope will be operated with the help of UA and Pima Community College students, he said.

Creative writing senior Wells Brambl, who has worked at Brooklyn Pizza for four years, will help operate the telescope.

“”It’s right up my alley,”” Brambl said. “”I’m excited to work there to be part of something that’s new and different that will also give me the opportunity to pursue something that fascinates me, which is looking at the cosmos.””

Undeclared Pima sophomore Dillon McCallum, created the logo and flyers for Brooklyn Pizza Company and is creating a Web and graphic design for Sky Bar. He will also be help run the telescope software.

“”I definitely think (Sky Bar) is pretty cool,”” McCallum said. “”Everything Tony has done so far with Brooklyn Pizza has helped cater to downtown and the Tucson community and I’m glad to see he’s expanding that with Sky Bar.””

Recent UA graduate Connor Mansager, who has worked at Brooklyn Pizza for about three years, said the bar is going to have something to offer non-drinkers and will be a good place to study during the day.

“”We’re going to have an espresso machine for people to come in and get non-alcoholic drinks like coffee and soda during the day,”” he said. “”It’s not going to be your typical bar.””

Vaccaro said he hopes to find more UA student volunteers.

“”I’m trying to find students in any department, but specifically in the astronomy department, to help run the telescope and the astronomy software we’re going to have on another projector with simulations of space,”” he said.

Volunteers from the UA School of Music or other musicans for hire are also needed to perform at the bar, he said.

“”I’d prefer maybe integrating some classical, bluegrass or jazz music, and have music there a little different than what you typically hear on Fourth Avenue,”” Vaccaro added.

Ed Beshore, principal investigator at the UA-based Catalina Sky Survey — a NASA-funded project to search for hazardous asteroids — said that while he doesn’t know exactly how the bar and telescope will be organized, it’s a “”cool idea if it truly is a star-gazing bar.””

“”Any chance people have to look through a telescope, I think they should take it,”” he said.

However, Beshore did have one concern.

“”One thing I thought about is that your night vision and how well you see things in a telescope is impaired by alcohol, so if people want to look in the telescope they should do it before drinking,”” he said.

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