If museums are places where art goes to die, then Churchill’s is the place where art goes to get sloppy drunk, make a loud, hostile scene, and end up akimbo under a table, staring into its dark, gum-ridden underside. Then die.
Equally a kitschy punk slash rock destination for tourists, and a locally infamous, near-lawless dive bar and live venue, Churchill’s Pub is a special place not at all common in Miami, much less many other places. Since 1979 it has dangled between respected institution and Dionysian dystopia, baffling first time visitors and regulars with its pageantry of degenerate recklessness, total lack of pretension, and unforgettable performances, by artists and publics alike.
It’s an outlier that’s contrary to the rules, conventions, and expectations of Miami nightlife, for better and worse, and opened its doors to those with nowhere to go, whether for a cheap drink, a place to play (or be on the lam), or a chance to witness performances one can’t unsee.
[Published on June 1, 2014 in the Miami Rail. Read the rest here.]