People from all over the world came to Churchill’s Pub in Little Haiti to celebrate its 39th anniversary this week, taking part in the “8 Days of Churchill’s” festival that boasted over a hundred band and art performances, local vendors, food trucks and mosh pits.
Michael Friewald, an illustrator from Cologne, Germany took a 13-hour plane ride to South Florida to celebrate with his friends.
“I’m over 60 and I’ve seen places but this one is special,” Friewald said. “It’s a British pub in Little Haiti. It’s a curiosity.”
Friewald said he fell in love with the pub and its crowd.
Christian Dam, who has been coming to Churchill’s for 20 years, moved to Miami in 1993 from Denmark. The pub became his second home in 1994.
“I like live music but I hate to go to bigger concerts. I fucking hate that,” Dam said, as he sipped his brew. “I like the size of this place.”
Others find refuge in the free attitude.
“You can do whatever the fuck you want,” said Emmanuel “Gordo” Nanni, bassist for the punk band Antifaces. “Anything goes.”
Alongside a seemingly endless lineup of bands, Churchill’s also hosts drag shows, performance art and circus acts.
“I’ve always had a passion for circus arts and I’ve always stayed with it,” said Ian Michael, who performed under the stage name Dangerfun Sideshow on Sept. 6.
Along with juggling daggers and eating fire, Michael also does the pub’s marketing and booking, something he has been doing for almost 10 years.
“Churchill’s is the bar where you can get a guy in a business suit and a girl with a pink mohawk sitting next to each other at the bar and neither will be out of place,” said Michael as he cooled down from his act with a beer at the bar. “It’s a very big home.”
Sometimes, though, the locals just want to get rowdy.
“It was my first show, first time I ever saw a mosh pit. I got punched in the nose and left; my 13-year-old body couldn’t handle it,” said Christian Fowler, now 20 and the bassist for the band Real People.
“I’ve shed blood, sweat and tears here,” said Trevor Lands, a Boca Raton resident who’s been coming to Churchill’s since she was 15.
“June 6, 2006. There were some bands playing death metal and there was a guy being more violent than usual in the pit,” Lands said while sipping on a PBR and taking drags from a cigarette.
A group including Lands, her friends and the offenders ended up on the front steps of the pub.
The brawl ended with both sides dispersing and no one getting hurt.
Recent patrons expressed their admiration for the pub as well.
“I like the diversity of the people and the diversity of the music,” said Raymond Viera, who moved to the area from New York in July and stumbled upon Churchills on a walk.
“It’s really impressive,” said Omar Castillo, a local who came to Churchills for the second time to see Zeta, a band from his hometown in Venezuela who was playing a gig that night.
To see more pictures of the anniversary visit @sfns_news on Instagram.