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The Beer Closet, which will offer 400-different types of beer, to open next week

Beer Closet (file photo)

Beer Closet (file photo)

Oct. 1, 2014 By Christian Murray

A new store that plans to offer as many as 400 domestic and foreign beers is expected to open on 51st Avenue next week.

The Beer Closet, located at 5-37 51st Avenue, will be selling bottles and cans from across the globe. It will sell five craft beers by the growler, a number that will grow over time.

The Beer Closet will initially sell about 150 different beers and will ramp-up the number in coming months. Initially, the owner will sell cheese and chocolate—items that the owner said goes with beer.

The business is owned by Mario Cruz, who has worked at Vernon Wine & Liquor for the past 2 years. Cruz, a 32-year-old former marine, got the idea for the store after many customers would walk into the liquor store also requesting beer.

The owners of Vernon Wine & Liquor will be advising Cruz on how to operate the business and will be offering joint loyalty programs—where points accumulated at one store can be redeemed at the other.

Cruz said that in the first year the focus will be on developing the retail operation.

However, next year he would like to have a bar/tasting area at the back of the store with the possibility of opening the rear yard. Cruz, however, said recently that he would monitor the discussions concerning backyard use to see whether that it is a viable option.

The retail store will be cut off from the potential bar/tasting space—via a wall. There will be access through to the rear space via French doors. The owner has created the partition since a separate space is needed for the bar/tasting area in order to get a liquor license.

A grand opening party has been tentatively planned for Saturday, Oct. 18.

Meanwhile, Vernon Wine & Liquor has been undergoing a significant makeover. The back of the store—where the wine is kept—has been completely revamped. The front area is also undergoing change—with plans for a new awning.

“We want to be known for being a wine shop as opposed to a liquor store,” said Vanessa Conway, the store manager, whose fiance is a co-owner of the store. “We will keep offering all the basics… but will pay more attention on wine.”

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I went in the other day. Love the idea of this place but the selection wasn’t that impressive. Lots of different types of beers but nothing way out of the ordinary. Too many Lagunitas and Flying Dog type options and not enough of the smaller microbrews.


Very exciting and will def check it out. I’m curious if the back side of your fridge that is facing the front of your store will be covered or masked somehow?

jenny diaz

Walked by today to check on my hubby and he finally opened the doors to the public. So proud of my hubby the place looks great. Not really a beer girl but I am learning to be a beer girl with him. He has a great selection come by and visit maybe buy a beer or two. My favorite beer is 1947 Premium Lager the taste is great.

P.s they will be open tomorrow at 12pm.

WAIT WHAT?!?!?!?

I’m pretty excited about this, but selling cigars & cheeses in the same space? I’m not sure my nose can handle that… but I’ll give it a shot.


Hey guys just to inform the Beer Closet is a bottle shop selling beer, chocolate, milk, snacks and eventually cigars, cheese and meats with in the first month of opening. We are opening this location in response to a huge neighborhood request for these items. And yes we will be holding tastings at our location which normally run between the hours of 5pm to 8pm. We have no plans for backyard usage as of yet. Although the idea of an outdoor tasting area does sound nice.


@ You Know.
The word mafia does not show up on the racial slurs database for Italians.
Just gave you something to do.


O M G, here we go about the backyard space again… can’t you fight the cause without being so annoying?!

Anonymous visitor

Oh my god. Did you mention backyard!!!. That’s it the cb will ride their righteous horse in and tell you that without the backing of at least the mayor and probably the vice president it would be inconceivable that you might be able to open a backyard space within a 100 miles of lic.

You know

I’m not sure what you are insinuating anything by your use of the word mafia. You shouldn’t be so careless with your word choice. That term is viewed as a ethnic slur by many people in the neighborhood.

As for your main point, every city and town across the country has guidelines for how businesses are licensed and run, particularly bars and booze establishments, and with good reason. I think a tasting room is a great idea and I’ll probably go check it out.

We’re all trying to create a healthy balance in the neighborhood to make it a great place for everybody, and not just a bunch of partying fly-by-nighters who aren’t going to be sticking around past their next lease and the businesses sprouting up to make a fast buck off of them.

Someone who can read

Definitely not the owner. Wish I were. But I know from speaking to the owners of Vernon wine and liquor that they hope to make it a tasting area. Also, it’s not new information that they tried to get use of the yard. If you’ve ever been to a winery on Long Island, they make wine, sell it by the bottle, do their tastings at a “bar” area and also let people enjoy a purchased bottle out by the vineyard. I just wish businesses in LIC could run a business without the dictator board/mafia creating red tape and hoops of fire to jump tthrough. They’re a bunch of bossy twats.

Anonymous who can read

I’m pretty sure I can read. And I’m pretty sure I read the words “bar/tasting area” (i.e., not just “tasting area”) and “opening of the rear yard” in the posting. If you’re the owner (and I think you probably are), thank you for clarifying that you aren’t going to be a shitty neighbor. I’ll put down my raised hackles, for now anyway.

Someone who can read

Hey anonymous,

Can you read? It’s not a bar. They wanted to have beer tastings occasionally and host them in their yard during the summer months. Wine Stores have tastings too.


Isn’t this post so Sunnysidesuz go back to the and stay in Sunnyside.


Hang on a second. I thought this was going to just be a store. That’s what the owners of the place said when they originally announced the place.

Now they’re talking about another bar on a residential street? This is really sneaky. If there was a clear case of the CB declining a license and outdoor space to a business, the Beer Closet is it. Not cool guys.


“Microbrew” bars are the reason the good old fashioned Irish pubs are declining.

How bout you hipsters go out and have a Jameson and a Guiness instead of the microbrews.

WAIT WHAT?!?!?!?

Will someone please let me know when there is a “Hipster” sighting anywhere near LIC. Thanks.


so happy for the addition, but on a side note the renovations are terrible.. horrible yellow walls and very cheap flooring. I’ll still buy beer there though but it is an eyesore. Very apparent they did not hire a professional for the design concept.


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