One of the city's oldest bars has been immortalized.

The section of 78th Street at 88th Avenue in Woodhaven will now be known as “Neir’s Tavern Way” following a street co-naming ceremony on Saturday in honor of the eponymous bar, which celebrates its 192nd year in business this month.

"We're literally on the map," Loycent Gordon, owner of the famous watering hole, said in an interview with Gothamist/WNYC just over an hour before he stood with family, community leaders, and supporters for the unveiling. "We have one way now to remember one of the oldest [bars] in the United States."

The unveiling was followed by a celebration inside the tavern with limited capacity due to COVID concerns.

Local elected officials spent months lobbying for the street co-naming, with Councilmember Robert Holden getting legislation passed early this year to make the street co-naming official.

Exterior of Neir's Tavern

Neir's Tavern

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Neir's Tavern
Bridget Bartolini / Gothamist

"Neir's is certainly a very important location, again, in the history of New York and the history of Queens and Woodhaven. So that's why this is done," Holden said in a phone interview.

The co-naming comes after a tumultuous two years for Neir's, which nearly closed after being hit with rent hikes in January 2020. Mayor Bill de Blasio and Holden helped broker a deal with the tavern's building owners to keep the place open after Gordon placed a call to The Brian Lehrer Show asking the mayor to intervene.

Neir's hit a setback a few months later when it temporarily closed because of the pandemic. Adding to the struggles was a burglary at Neir's in September last year, in which thieves took off with $300 and several bottles of liquor.

Gordon purchased the tavern in 2009, which was originally named Old Blue Pump House when it opened near the now defunct Union Course racetrack in 1892. He renamed the establishment Neir's Tavern in honor of the family that had owned the property from the 1890s until 1967.

(l-r) Councilmember Robert Holden, Loycent Gordon and his family following the street co-naming ceremony in honor of Neir's Tavern.

(l-r) Councilmember Robert Holden, Loycent Gordon and his family following the street co-naming ceremony in honor of Neir's Tavern.

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(l-r) Councilmember Robert Holden, Loycent Gordon and his family following the street co-naming ceremony in honor of Neir's Tavern.
Joanna Leis, Neir’s Tavern

He spent eight months rehabbing the establishment, which included refurbishing the mahogany bar. Gordon has since spent years lobbying to honor the historical significance of the bar, including an unsuccessful 2016 bid to have the place landmarked.

"We didn't get landmark status, but we have something similar, which is a street named after one of America's oldest taverns," Gordon said.

Interior shots of Neir’s, which Gordon calls the “most famous bar you’ve never heard of,” appeared in films, including “Goodfellas” and “Tower Heist”.

Gordon said he’s facing staff shortages now that the city is requiring establishments to check customers’ vaccination status for indoor dining.

"Going into winter, we don't know what's going to happen. We're hopeful, but we're also planning for the worst because we've gone through too much," Gordon said.

Neir's fortunes have turned for the better in the past few months. In May, the tavern received a $40,000 grant from the American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation nonprofit for exterior fixes and an awning replacement.