190-year-old institution Neir’s Tavern in Woodhaven, Queens has reopened for outdoor dining after struggling to survive the city’s COVID-19 shutdown, the New York Post reports. The tavern, located at 87-48 78th Street, at the corner of 88th Avenue, is now taking reservations for outdoor dining with tables set up on the sidewalk and under a curbside canopy outside of the restaurant.
For the reopening, owner Loy Gordon pared down the menu to offer a slim selection of reliable customer favorites, including fish and chips, a couple of burgers, and sweet potato fries and onion rings. A small rotation of cocktails and beer are available for on-site diners and pickup customers.
The pandemic has been the latest blow in a slew of obstacles that Neir’s Tavern has been fighting to overcome this year. The historic bar announced that it was permanently shutting down in January after owner Loy Gordon said that he couldn’t afford to pay building repairs on top of a hefty rent increase on the location. Within days, Mayor Bill de Blasio stepped in and helped to broker a new deal with Neir’s landlord, lowering the rent increase to a more manageable sum and ensuring that the bar would stay open for another five years.
Just when the situation had stabilized, the city went into a months-long lockdown to fight the spread of COVID-19. “When this happened after we got Neir’s a new lease on life, it felt a punch in the gut just as we were catching our breath,” Gordon told the Post.
The bar initially attempted takeout at the start of the shutdown, but ended up fully closing to protect staff and customers. In the meantime, Gordon gathered the bar’s regulars together for Zoom happy hours and started coming up with other ideas to generate sales and keep the bar afloat, including a new $190 ambassador program that includes a bar tab discount for the rest of the year. Gordon also plans to project movies, including Goodfellas — which filmed some scenes at Neir’s — on the bar’s exterior on Friday nights.
Gordon tells the Post that he’s still struggling to get by, including juggling back rent payments on the bar, where rent now costs $3,100 per month, but he’s committed to keeping Neir’s doors open.
Neir’s reopening hours are Tuesday to Friday from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. The bar is also offering takeout and delivery through its website.
- 190-year-old NYC bar Neir’s Tavern survives COVID-19 [New York Post]