“I swear I was born in 1992. I know what a floppy disc is AND what it means to ‘rewind a VHS.”The Churchill’s doorman looked at me blankly. He’s definitely encountered weirder.“We are 18+ so you can still come in, but it is a $10 cover and you can’t drink”Obviously that wasn't going to work for me.“What if I do a Steve Urkel impression?”He continued to stare at me blankly.“Okay lemme just look one more time for my ID.”I finally found it. I have one of those wallets with an unnecessary amount of pockets. Right off the bat this exchange set the tone. Churchill’s is the kind of place that doesn’t get mad at you for being a stumbling around human. From the moment you arrive the vibes are good humored AF.
Walking into Churchill’s is like walking into the mothership of dive bars. It feels like somehow you’ve been transported in time and place to the Miami version of CBGBs. Everything from the decor to the hot bartenders to the drink prices lacks pretension. I’m almost positive there is nowhere else in Miami that could bring together the diverse crowd that congregates at Churchill’s. One side of the bar sat a hipstery Orlando Bloom doppleganger, while just a few seats over were two women with mohawks. That’s the beauty of dive bars: everyone is welcome.
Since 1979, Churchill’s has stood as an outlier from the expectations of Miami night life. I don't usually go out without a medium to full coverage foundation and cream contour, but I felt totally at home wearing just a BB cream and flats. Located at 5501 NE 2nd ave, Churchill’s sits on the border of Little Haiti. But this place was Wynwood before Wynwood was Wynwood. In fact, for a long time Churchill’s was the only place you could go to get that Wynwood vibe of entertainment. It is literally a massive conglomerate of structures housing two stages, a giant bar, a pool table area, a patio, and all the space one would need for things to get crazy. There’s live performances every night of the week, and for the most part you have no idea what you are going to see. It could be anything from a jam band, a budding stand up comedian, a poet, to a group of Inuit throat singers. Marilyn Manson apparently began his career on the Churchill stage. The night I was there I’m still kind of processing what I saw. But it was certainly raw and real and I liked it.
There’s something really special about this place that’s not only rare in Miami, it’s kind of rare everywhere. It’s the type of joint you might just witness someone huge beginning their career, or someone who has nowhere else to showcase their craft. Go to impress your date or go just to bask in the unashamed realness of humanity. Despite the cigarette smoke, Churchill’s is a breath of fresh air and an absolute Miami must see. Honestly, I still would have enjoyed myself if I had gone in 18+.