Historic bar gets face lift – new life

Neir’s – the oldest and most historic bar in Queens – reopened on Thursday, June 24 after restorations.

The owners say that the bar is more than 180 years old, and it is known as the place where Mae West first performed, and where actors such as W.C. Fields and businessmen like Fred Trump (Donald’s father) would gather for a drink. It also 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 Wednesday, July 7.

Founded in 1829 as “The Old Blue Pump House” by Cadwallader R. Coldon in 1835, Neir’s became the “Old Abbey” and acquired a reputation as a “notorious rum seller.” 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. The Neir family sold the bar in 1967 and it was renamed the “Union Course Tavern.”

In 2009 it closed; however, the owner of the building and a group of friends decided it should not disappear from the corner of 78th Street and 88yh Avenue in Woodhaven. And so they spent most of the next year restoring the old tavern, including refinishing the 150-year-old mahogany bar and fixtures.

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