Crime and Courts

Historic Queens Bar Saved From Closing in 2019 Targeted By Robbers

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Being open since 1829, Neir's Tavern in Queens has seen quite a lot. But now as it continues to weather the burden that COVID-19 has placed on restaurants and bars, it has a new fight to deal with.

Surveillance cameras captured two suspects in masks breaking into the Woodhaven bar early Friday morning. The owner said that the dastardly duo made off with liquor, hundreds of dollars in cash — even the cash register itself.

"I just can't believe it, you're stealing from the neighborhood. (Neir's) is trying to help the neighborhood," said customer Nichole Burke.

The owner estimate the total damage could cost him thousands.

If the name Neir's Tavern rings a bell, it may be for a number of reasons. It was the setting for a number of films, including famous bar scenes from "Goodfellas." That's what got the Vile family to live down the street from the old watering hole, and they have since set up a GoFundMe page in the wake of the robbery to help.

"It's been one disaster after another. But the owner is such a plucky guy, and he's doing his best to keep it all together," the Viles said. "It connects so many generations. Whatever challenges he faces, we're going to be behind him 100 percent."

Neir's was also in the news in 2019, as it was set to close its doors for good amid a battle over rent. But the city intervened, with Mayor Bill de Blasio himself paying a visit, and the bar was able to stay open.

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