Oldest Bar in New York! 

Neir’s, the oldest and most historic bar in Queens, is reopening this month after a short hiatus for restoration and a few months of previews.  There is going to be a big bash -- an Open House -- on Saturday, June 26th from 1 PM to 10 PM.  The Neir's 2010 Open House will feature a barbeque with free hot dogs, hamburgers, and sodas - and lots of good music.  Come out and celebrate the news that Woodhaven is home to the oldest bar in New York. 

Background: Located in the Woodhaven section of Queens in New York City, the owners state that the bar is more than 180 years old -- amongst the oldest bars in the country. It is one of the few old drinking establishments that has been in almost continuous operation -- Prohibition notwithstanding -- and in the same location for its entire history. The tavern is located on the corner of 78th Street and 88th Avenue, one block south of Jamaica Avenue.

Neir's is known as the bar where Mae West first performed, where actors such as W.C. Fields and business men like Fred Trump (Donald's father) would gather for a drink. It also has gained fame as the bar in which the classic Martin Scorsese film, "Goodfellas," starring Robert DeNiro, Joe Pesci, Ray Liotta and Lorraine Bracco, was filmed. Neir’s will also be featured on the show, New York Originals airing on NYC Life on July 7th.

History: Neir's was founded in 1829 as "The Old Blue Pump House" by Cadwallader R. Coldon, the "black sheep" of the distinguished Coldon family (his cousin, Cadwallader D. Coldon, was the Mayor of New York City). Cadwallader R. Coldon was also the manager of the famed Union Course horse racing track that was then located directly across the street.

In 1835 it became the "Old Abbey" and acquired a reputation as a "notorious rum seller" to the "black legs, thieves, housebreakers, [and] fighting men" that attended the Union Course races. In 1851 the Old Abbey was purchased by the politician and banker Nathan F. Graves, who cleaned it up.

In 1898 the bar was bought by Louis Neir and renamed "Neir’s Social Hall." During Prohibition Neir’s became a speakeasy, and for a time, the rooms above were converted into a bordello. The Neir family sold the bar in 1967 and it was renamed the "Union Course Tavern," but a long period of decline followed.

In 2009 it closed, however the owner of the building and a group of friends decided it should not disappear, as so many other landmarks in New York have. And so, they spent most of the next year restoring the old tavern, including refinishing the 150-year old mahogany bar and fixtures. Again taking the name "Neir’s," the restoration is a step forward in the ongoing development of Woodhaven, NY.

There will also be a Grand Re-Opening Event on Thursday, June 24th, from 6 to 9 PM. This will feature appearances by elected officials, local civic leaders, and a special appearance by Mae West and W.C. Fields -- any media is more then welcome to attend.

Note:  Wednesday Night is Jam Night at Neir's -- here's a clip from a recent evening courtesy of Bobby "The Flash" Gennaro: 

Follow Neir's On Facebook!

Follow Project Woodhaven On Facebook!

If you have any comments, or would like to suggest other projects, drop us a line at info@projectwoodhaven.com or projectwoodhaven@aol.com .  

Bookmark and Share

Return to Project Woodhaven's Home Page