Churchill's Pub Owner Dave Daniels Accepts Offer to Sell
In Churchill's Pub, Dave Daniels established and maintained a safe space for musical and artistic expression, the watching of international soccer games, and drinking heavily in the heart of Little Haiti for 35 years. But, at 74, Daniels tells us: "It's time for me to move on."
An undisclosed investor put in an offer to purchase the business. Though Daniels has accepted the offer, the sale is by no means final. After much talk and failed attempts to sell over the years, it seems the universe just might be ready to let Daniels off the hook this time. We spoke with him about the possible changes coming for one of the best live music venues in the world, ever.
The bar has undergone its share of changes and challenges, including extensive road repairs out front that made lunchtime business impossible, and an influx, then cessation, of location fees for movies and videos. "Because I have been trying to keep people coming, I haven't put the prices up. Some you could regard as competition charge twice as much [for drinks]," Daniels says. Keeping his business profitable in this way has made it a more attractive property.
The prospective buyer has 60 days' due diligence, so he could pull out anytime before, while Daniels is now locked into the agreement. If the deal falls through, another option is that a group could lease Churchill's -- and folks have planned for this over the years, people joining forces and finances in an attempt to purchase and preserve the place -- but that would require Daniels to remain involved. He doesn't really want to deal with the city anymore.
But with the increased interaction he's had with the possible new owner, Daniels offers hope for a continued Churchill's-like presence: "I think that they are going to make less changes than initially I thought they were going to." They have a good team, he says, and likely a popular local restaurateur to set up shop foodwise. Churchill's used to feed about 30 people for lunch and did outside catering and deliveries at one point. "I think it'll be moving in that direction," he says but reminds, "It's entirely up to them."
We can only hope that these "them" have as fine a mind and ear as Daniels. "There are so many things about Churchill's that work. Even though nobody else does them..." he chuckles. "So, it's unique. I basically said to them before last week, the International Noise Conference, it's very good. It's profitable now. Like 15 years ago, when Rat started doing his noise stuff here, it was a handicap. I mean, they drove people out! But freedom of expression had to prevail. It turned into something special. People come from all over the world."