Neir’s Tavern, a 181-year-old bar on a quiet block in Woodhaven, is not the first place you’d go looking for a world-class music scene.
Established in 1829 to cater to crowds frequenting the nearby Union Course Racetrack, Neir’s is one of the oldest bars in the city and country. Mae West and W.C. Fields performed there, and Martin Scorsese used it as a set in Goodfellas. But the vibe is down-to-earth, the kind of neighborhood bar where the regulars have been meeting for most of their lives.
That’s until they push the pool table into the corner of the back room, anyway.
Last year, the bar came under the ownership of four partners who run a recording studio out of the same building that houses Neir’s. After a six-month restoration, they re-opened—not just to long-time denizens, but to area musicians looking for a place to play.
On Wednesday nights there’s a major league open jam, hosted by Neir's co-owner Andy Bigan and Jim Moran. On Fridays, there’s karaoke hosted by Jimmy Young, and on Saturdays, live bands. (For a full calendar of events, visit neirstavern.com.)
On a recent Wednesday night, I spoke to Bigan about what’s happening at Neir’s.