Nicky Bowe on Bike Night at Churchill's Pub: "You're Either a Biker or You're Not"
All across Miami, the roar of motorcycle engines is a signal that it's time to ride. And the destination: Churchill's Pub, where the drinks are cheap, the bands are loud, and the air smells like burning oil.
Every Thursday night, the real bikers ride up to hang out, talk shop, and trade parts. There's always live music, and you can't beat the price.
As host and barman Nicky Bowe says: "If you're scared to ride to Churchill's on bike night, you may as well sell your bike. You're a poser."
And like any good biker, he knows at least five ways to tell the real from the fake.
5. "If you can buy a whole motorcycle for the price of your boots and jeans, you're not a real biker."
4. "If it's lightly drizzling rain and you stay home, you're not a real biker."
3. "If you don't have dirt and oil under your fingernails from working on your bike, you're not a real biker."
2. "If you haven't rode Miami to Daytona, or if you have to get a hotel instead of sleep on the ground in a tent when you get there, you're not a real biker."
1. "If you don't love the smell of nasty, loud, two-stroke oil, you're not a real biker."
But whether you're a real biker or not, Nicky wants you to know that everyone is welcome at Churchill's all the time. And "if it has an engine, it's a motorcycle."
He has been throwing car and bike shows at the Little Haiti institution for the past decade, and he works on his bikes with friends out of a Liberty City shop called the Donkey Barn.
The weekly Bike Night came together, though, when a crew called Metal305 approached him about setting it up. "They started out at [Wynwood bars] Lester's and Wood. Then they came and asked to do it at Churchill's. Sometimes, it's 20 bikes, sometimes it's 100," says Nicky, "but it's always a good time."
Long's Motorcycle, Miami, since 1938.
Show up on a motorcycle and you'll get in the club for free. There are usually nationally touring bands playing hardcore, punk, or metal, and there will always be Sailor Jerry rum specials.
"People come in, then go hang out front with all the bikes," Nicky says, describing the Bike Night scene. "John and Barret Long who race and build motorcycles, and have one of the oldest shops in Miami like to come out."
And thanks to all the support this weekly rally has received, the Bike Night host is masterminding a so-called "Motorcycle Critical Mass" that'll leave from Churchill's under police escort and cruise through downtown Miami.
But for now, Nicky suggests: "Tell your girl or boy, 'Hey, baby, I'm goin' out on my bike. See ya in three hours.' And go cruise through all the different bike nights. That's what's fun, is goin' place to place."
Obviously, though, the final destination should be Churchill's. "We're raffling off a Tony Skulls Yamaha XS650 motorcycle this week," he says. "I might even burn out the tire in the middle of the floor."
And for all you car drivers out there, Nicky has a special message. "Get off your fuckin' phones, quit texting, and keep your eyes on the road. It's Bike Night."
Churchill's Bike Night. With live music, Sailor Jerry drink specials, and more. Every Thursday, at Churchill's Pub, 5501 NE Second Ave., Miami. The night starts at 9 p.m. and ends at 3 a.m. Admission is free for all motorcycle riders. Call 305-757-1807 or visit churchillspub.com.
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