The “Sort of English Pub” on the outskirts of Little Haiti has been showcasing live music and harboring misfits since 1979. On Mondays, when most of us are lamenting the start of a new work week, Churchill’s regulars line up for its signature Miami Jazz Jam on the main stage. On the same night, Theatre de Underground gathers for an open-mic session on the back patio. Each night after that is a toss-up. You might get a punk band performing while a soccer match plays on TV or find yourself at the pool table competing against a group of metal heads on tour. Churchill’s is dark, a little sketchy and quite possibly the only bar in Miami where teens (the venue is open to those 18 and older) and baby boomers can congregate in mutual appreciation without feeling out of place.
Watering holes come and go in South Florida—blame it on South Beach’s snowbird population or Coral Gables’ college crowds. Yet locals know that the oldest bars in Miami are really the places to go when you’re in the mood for a drink, not the nearest Miami club. The reason? The pubs that prevail are an anomaly—quirky, charming and each boasting a unique backstory. And while some bars have had the occasional name swap, sale or facelift (it is Miami, after all) the location itself has stood the test of time.