Queens’ Neir’s Tavern receives donations from community after burglary

Photo Credit: Jeff Bachner

Neir’s Tavern, the nearly 190-year-old bar and grill in Woodhaven, was burglarized by two individuals who stole its cash register and liquor bottles. But after the break-in, support for the historic tavern rolled in.

The incident took place Friday morning, when two individuals entered through the basement. One of the basement doors wasn’t fully secured, according to Neir’s owner Loycent Gordon.

The two individuals, who were caught on their surveillance cameras, dismantled the cash register and took some bottles of liquor. The cash register had about $300 in cash, but it would cost a few thousand dollars to replace the register and loss in revenue for the day because of later opening.

Gordon said it isn’t the first time they’ve been burglarized. Three years ago, someone broke in with a crowbar and broke the ATM to remove the cash inside, which was harder to come back from.

“It’s just a huge inconvenience,” said Gordon. “It could have been worse. But that straw is weighing very heavy at this point. It’s mentally draining.”

But Neir’s has a loyal group of supporters who jumped to help Gordon and the historic bar — which made headlines earlier this year for nearly closing its doors permanently — recover from the blow.

That same day, Neirs200, a group of loyal customers who want to help preserve the bar, created a GoFundMe campaign with a goal of $2,500. In less than 24 hours, they met that goal.

“Loycent is a such a good person,” Neirs200 group member Joanna Fay Leis said. “From hosting food drives, COVID antibody testing, as well as providing meals to essential workers and to families in need, the GoFundMe fundraiser was the least we could do to help Loycent recoup his loss. We hate that Loycent, a NYC firefighter, was a victim of this crime but the Neir’s community and Neirs200 group has his back […] We are thankful for all he does. Loycent is always helping others and we are glad that we can finally help him.”

Neirs200 emerged from Gordon’s “Zoom Bar Talks,” a way for him and his customers to stay connected virtually during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A few days after the burglary, a longtime supporter of the bar found Neir’s stolen cash register across from their home. That night, a staff member saw one of the bar’s stolen Jack Daniel’s on the sidewalk.

Gordon said he reported the incident and is working with the police.

The bar is currently operating with outdoor dining and no-contact delivery.

He said the outpouring of support from the community has reminded him that there are still good people who care.

“My heart is full with everyone that has reached out,” Gordon said. “It makes me think I can keep going, and I’ll keep going as long as I can. I was having doubts, since there’s only so much I can do, but everyone coming together and helping has really made a difference.”

This story first appeared on our sister publication qns.com.