Historic Queens Bar Featured in “Goodfellas” Faces Closure

Neirs Tavern, located in Woodhaven, is set to close Sunday

Neirs Tavern
Even if you've never set foot in Neirs Tavern, you probably know it from movies like "Goodfellas."
Warner Bros.
By Tobias Carroll / January 10, 2020 1:23 pm

Even if you’ve never set foot in them before, there are some bars you might be completely familiar with.  Such is the case with the Woodhaven, Queens bar Neirs Tavern, the longest continuously-operated bar in New York City. If you’ve ever seen Goodfellas, then you’ve seen Neirs — part of Martin Scorsese’s modern classic were filmed there.

Neirs Tavern has a history dating back to 1829, but its future is far less clear. The Daily News reports that Neirs is set to close on Sunday, as the bar’s owner and landlord have been unable to reach an agreement on a long-term lease. 

Loycent Gordon, the bar’s owner for 11 years and a lieutenant in the Fire Department, has attempted numerous ways of preserving the space. As the Daily News reports, however, he’s been unable to secure landmark status for the bar — another contributing factor in its impending closure.

Eater’s 2012 map of bars and restaurants featured in Goodfellas included Neir’s, and the bar has hosted many tours of locations from the iconic film. 

Goodfellas isn’t the only high-profile appearance that the bar has had. Neirs Tavern also featured in a 2017 episode of Parts Unknown, in which Anthony Bourdain talked with Gordon about the bar’s storied history.

Gordon’s letter announcing the bar’s impending closure is heartbreaking to read. If a bar like this, with so much history, can’t be preserved, what does that say about New York’s relationship with its own history on a larger scale? 

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