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The Beer Closet appears closed, space left bare

Beer Closet

Sept. 1, 2016 By Hannah Wulkan

The Beer Closet, a Long Island City craft beer store, appears to have closed down, about two years after it first opened.

The windows of the Beer Closet, located at 5-37 51st Avenue, have been papered over, the furniture carted out, and the telephone number for the store disconnected. Yelp and Foursquare also list the store as closed.

A representative of the store could not be reached to discuss the fate of the business.

The store was opened in the fall of 2014 by former marine Mario Cruz, and was known for its range of beer, as well as its tasting bar behind the store.

Cruz told the LIC Post when it opened that he got the idea for the store while working at Vernon Wine & Liquor when customers would walk in to the store looking for beer.

The store’s Facebook page and Twitter feed, which were always kept up to date, were last active as of August 23, advertising a trivia night that evening.

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I walked by Beer Closet many times and even intended to try to shop for beer there but it was literally never open. Never! Not a surprise at all to see them close when they made it impossible to be a customer.


Agreed, never was open even at 5 PM. Tried going there multiple times when it was after the “back by” sign with clock on the door and nobody was in sight.


Rockaway’s beer is good but not great, imo. I personally am not a fan of their brewery bar as I find it a little dirty and unkempt plus the prices they charge are the same as if you went elsewhere yet they have none of the overhead which is a bit of a turn off. No buybacks too.


Rockaway is perfect. Good beer, nice selection, friendly environment, good beertenders and the place is perfectly funky.

LIC Resident

I really wanted these guys to succeed. I was impressed in the beginning, when their selection was just the right combination of well-known American craft brews and foreign and obscure bottles. The prices were labeled and reasonable.

This initial phase did not last, nor did any other in the series of phases that followed. The Beer Closet was constantly trying to evolve and grow without first establishing a foundation.

The changes were often bizarre. At one point in time the shelves were filled with PBR. Some loud and obnoxious cable movie was usually on, and the only people watching were the owners/clerks. They thought customers would want to hang out, drink, and relax in this environment. The price labels disappeared.

Judging by talking to the owners and following their media coverage, their single most important principle for beer selection seemed to be – obscure beers from as many countries as possible. Craft beer is about the ingredients, the different styles, the brewing process, and creativity. Country of origin is a far lower priority.

LIC’s supermarkets offer huge selections of great craft beers at lower prices. LIC’s microbreweries offer fresh beers created on premise, often served by the people who made them. Alewife has obscure and hard to find gems, and bartenders who really know beer. There is no room for The Beer Closet.


“LIC’s supermarkets offer huge selections of great craft beers at lower prices.”

Yep, that’s pretty much it.


The place quickly changed a store that sold craft beer into a hangout for a bunch of rude, sleazy, sketchy people who used the place for loud after hours parties. The place exuded a bad vibe. It’s no wonder the place closed. We can do much better in the neighborhood than Beer Closet.


Why it failed? Well lets see… 1.) the ENTIRE LIC neighborhood is just one giant bar scene why would anyone need a beer closet? 2.) LIC has been springing up more microbreweries (along with the crappy brunched) 3.) the location sucked 4.) who the hell needs a beer closet these days?


craft beer store that at one point sold nothing but cases of PBR.

gee, i wonder why they weren’t successful?

owner seemed like a very kind, personable fella, but this place was poorly executed since day one.

it’s a shame – with all the craft breweries in the neighborhood a store like this would make a ton of sense. hopefully someone can try again with a little better game plan.


If there are already craft breweries in the neighborhood, then why would this store make a ton of sense? People will just go to those breweries. It’s not like every other bar doesn’t have craft brews these days.


A central location that not only sells the neighborhood’s best offerings, but also a source of obscure and hard to get craft beers from around the country and the world would be very successful. There are a number of them in the city, and the ones that do it right are always packed.

This was not that place. I went in there one time and they had Bud Lite on tap. They were destined to fail.


I can tell you why it failed.. the beer was expensive and they went cheap on the furniture and decor. The whole vibe was uncomfortable. I hope they decided to renovate!


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