Churchill's Pub: An Oral History

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Mr. C: The English Cup Final is like our Super Bowl. So Bono and the boys decided to spend that special day at Churchill's with us.

Daniels: We'd had a phone call from the band's people during the week. And someone asked, "Will you be showing the game?" And we said, "Yes." They asked, "Will it be possible for U2 to have a VIP section?" And we said, "Umm, no. It's not that sort of place."

Mr. C: Yes, the VIP room, in those days, was the back patio with a bunch of fuckin' chickens. So we caught all the birds and fixed it up real nice.

Loose: What? There's a VIP section?

Daniels: Anyway, they didn't commit to coming. But it was a 10 a.m. game, and about 9, the group, some modelesque girls, and a bunch of hangers-on arrived. But I think it had been Bono's birthday the night before, and they'd been partying all night. So they were fucked up.

Mr. C: We used to charge $20 to come in. You got free breakfast and a free pint. I'm on the door, and we're always expectin' a couple of hundred people. But I had been told that U2 were comin', and I wanted to know, "Do I charge them?" And the answer was, "Absolutely." So I'm out there takin' the money when a big yellow taxi pulls up and a manager type says, "What's goin' on?" And I say, "It's $20." And he says, "You do know this is Bono and Edge of U2?" And I say, "All right. Well, I'm Mr. C. And it's still $20." He's trying to haggle. But in the meantime, Bono had walked up, and he said in his real Irish accent, not the fake one: "For fuck's sake, just pay the man." And they handed over the $100 for their whole party.

Bowe: They came in and they ended up having to sit on the back patio in the little alcove, with a canopy over the television so they could see it.

Daniels: In the end, U2's team, Manchester United, did win, one to nil. But Eric Cantona, who is French, scored. So they weren't entirely happy.

Mr. C: At the time, we didn't have a liquor license. So one lad who also supported Man U ran out and bought some vodka. And I got to share a shot with the U2 boys.

At Churchill's, you might meet a rock star, but you also might have a gun pulled on you in the middle of a raucous noise set. And that same guy might even end up being a future friend.

Rimada: It was a regular Thursday night at Churchill's. It was me, Tom Squelcher, and Rat making completely cacophonous fucking crazy-sounding shit, like normal. This guy out of nowhere just yelling at us, "Stop it! Stop it!" He's pulling at his hair, and we just ignore him. It's like a regular occurrence. They tend to freak out here and there about the noise.

Rat Bastard: I see this guy on the floor with a pool stick; you can't hear a fucking word he's saying. And finally he gets up on the stage. All of a sudden, he takes the pool stick and throws it on the ground. So I'm like, oh, he's going to come and choke me. But he reaches in his shorts and pulls out a gun. He walks up and points it right at me and says, "Now you're gonna stop." Unfortunately for him, I am not afraid of guns. I've had many guns pointed at me, because I grew up in New York and this area here. If it were a knife, maybe. I says, "Go ahead and pull the trigger."

Rimada: Rat acted as if he was not shitting his pants, but I saw his face. His jaw dropped totally.

Rat Bastard: And the guy had this weird facial change, and I'm thinking, "OK, I'm dead." He stepped back, put the gun in his pocket, like he was in a state of shock, and jumped off the stage. Then Barbara, the longtime bar manager, was like "You motherfucker!" and runs and throws him right out of the fucking place.

Lilah de Hellion, former bartender, founder of the Hellion Burlesque troupe: I was amazed Rat just kept playing; he really didn't blink. When the guy came down, he wanted another drink. He was really drunk. Barbara came out, and she said, "If you give me the gun, I'll give you a drink." I had seen that he had another gun in his belt. And I told her that. And she was like, "Oh! The other one too!"

Rimada: The guy was just frustrated. He pointed the gun at all of us, and we weren't stopping, so he just kind of gave up and walked out of Churchill's.

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Liz Tracy and S. Pajot