By Jacob Katel
By Laurie Charles
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Abel Folgar
By Kat Bein
By Jacob Katel
Beyond the cultivation of local talent, Daniels has hosted a slew of national and international artists, among them surf-guitar pioneer Dick Dale, retro-instrumentalists Los Straitjackets, the Silos, Joe "King" Carrasco, pseudo-Western swingers Big Sandy and the Flyrite Boys, and punk stalwarts TSOL. Of equal importance, though, have been Churchill's annual Miami Rock Festival, Harry Pussy's farewell gig from a couple of years back, and the 1997 reunion performance by the Eat.
But twenty years is a long time to do anything, and Daniels admits that the grind of maintaining the bar is getting a bit old. For the past few years, he's been looking to sell, thus far to no avail. "To be honest I haven't gotten much interest," he admits. "I still want to sell it, though. It's just too many hours for me. Sometimes I'll work a 100-hour week, which I resent. I've never had any length of time off in my life, and I'm starting to get old. I'd love to just take a year off."
Still, he can't hide his fondness for the place, and the much-maligned neighborhood in which it rests. "People criticize Churchill's because it's in Little Haiti, and that they get hit on for money from the local derelicts. But we actually have very little trouble here. You can go to a very fine part of Miami Beach and get hit on for money to park your car, by the people who need money for their drugs, then you get hit on by the clubs for expensive drinks. And these places in Coconut Grove and Miami Beach -- the big company places with neon in the storefronts, the 400th unit of whatever chain -- they could be any place and it really wouldn't matter.
"We've succeeded because we fire on more cylinders," he continues. "We're an English pub. We're a neighborhood bar. We do the English soccer. We do entertainment. That spreads our overhead over a lot of things, which means we're very inexpensive when it comes to drinks and things. Kids can come here and have a nice night out and not spend a lot of money. And my contribution to all of this is just to let things happen. [The music] is not always something that I personally like, but a long time ago I learned that if somebody wants to pay for it, if there's a market for it, then fine. Just let it be."