The oldest bar in the city is the latest to close its doors after a rent hike.
Neir’s Tavern in Woodhaven, Queens has operated continuously in the same place for 190 years, the oldest bar in the city to do so. But the bar’s long reign as a community hub came to an abrupt end when its landlord, Henry Shi, raised the monthly rent to $3,000 from $2,000 and said it would rise again to $5,000, according to the New York Times.
Shi bought the building in 2018 for $1.3 million. When the Times contacted his firm about the matter, Shi said, “Do not call this number again,” before hanging up.
The bar will officially close on Sunday.
Mayor Bill de Blasio, however, said he’s going to try to prevent that from happening. The owner of Neir’s Tavern, Loycent Gordon, called into the mayor’s weekly radio segment on WNYC.
De Blasio said he would get the commissioner of the city’s Department of Small Business Services to see if he could assist the bar, Crain’s reported.
According to local historians, Neir’s Tavern opened before Queens officially became a part of New York City in 1898 and even weathered the Prohibition Era by operating as a speakeasy. An attempt in 2015 to landmark the interior of the neighborhood watering hole failed.
Neir’s is hardly the first beloved bar to close due to rent hikes — Hogs and Heifers in the Meatpacking District closed in 2015 and Schiller’s on the Lower East Side closed its doors in 2017. Coogans, a staple of Washington Heights in Upper Manhattan, nearly closed in 2018 due to a $40,000 rent hike. Landlord New York-Presbyterian Hospital and Coogans reached a last-minute deal in 2018 brokered by Lin-Manuel Miranda’s father, Luis A. Miranda, Jr., a Bronx political operative.