What to Know
- Neir’s Tavern, in Queens, is set to close on January 12 after operating for 190 years, according to the bar's owner
- The landlords wanted to increase the bar's rent by more than $2,000 per month, the owner said, and he can't afford to keep it open
- The Woodhaven staple was used as the bar featured a number of times in Martin Scorsese’s 1990 mob film “Goodfellas”
It’s one last (and final) call for alcohol at what some consider to be New York City’s oldest bar.
Neir’s Tavern, in Queens, is set to close Sunday, January 12, according to a post by the owner on the bar’s Facebook page. The iconic yet relatively unheard of (even for some lifelong New Yorkers) watering hole has been serving drinks for 190 years, even before other more famous historic bars like McSorley’s Ale House.
Owner Loy Gordon wrote in the post that he made “one of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make” as he will step down, with no one to replace him.
“I’ve been unable to obtain an affordable long term lease to reach our goal of the 200th anniversary in 2029. I’m operating month to month with an unaffordable rent and insufficient sales to overcome a year of losing money every month,” Gordon wrote. “I hope my Neir’s Team will be here until Sunday in the event a miracle happens. But I have no more money after Sunday.”
Gordon, a lieutenant in the FDNY, said that personal obligations would prevent him from putting in the time needed to deal with the increased business challenges of keeping the bar afloat.
There was an effort to get the bar officially landmarked by the city in 2016, but it was unsuccessful. In an email, Gordon said he wasn’t able to negotiate an affordable lease and can’t afford to keep Neir’s open any longer.
The landlords wanted to increase his rent by more than $2,000 per month, according to Gordon.
The Woodhaven staple was used as the bar featured a number of times in Martin Scorsese’s 1990 mob film “Goodfellas.” Despite going by a few different names over the years, the bar opened in 1829 as The Old Blue Pump House and had a number of different features over the years, including a bowling alley and a ballroom.