When I walked into Churchills Pub I knew that I was somewhere special. Maybe it was the sprawling 34-foot hand-carved bar.
Or maybe it was the charming fellow -- who I later learned was the owners father -- who greeted me as I entered the front hall. Or maybe it was simply the sense of warmth that engulfed me.
Churchills -- located at 13 West Bay Street and owned by Manchester, England, native Andy Holmes and his wife, born-and-bred Savannahian Tracy -- has a style and personality that just folds you right in.
Aptly put by Holmes: Nobody else does just quite what we do.
And just what is it that they do?
The main focus as one enters the pub is a huge, solid mahogany bar that was built in England and shipped by crate to Savannah. Keep walking and there are two separate dining areas, each with its own mood. One is a more enclosed, intimate space and the other is a very open room with windows facing Bay Street and tables that cozily flow into one another.
In the basement is a game room providing billiards, darts, and foosball. The last area, a rooftop dining terrace, is still being renovated, but shows amazing promise.
We just want to offer something for everyone, says Holmes. If you want to go to the bar for a drink, fine. If you want a nice restaurant environment, thats great, too. Its just a little bit of everything.
The bar was originally opened in 1996 on Drayton Street, but burned down in June 2003.
People loved Churchills and we had so much local support, explains Holmes. People used to stop me and ask when were reopening or to express how much they love the new place. It just had to be reopened.
Churchills new home is the former location of J.J. Cagneys, but former customers of J.J.s may not recognize the place.
We completely gutted the place and it bears no resemblance to J.J. Cagneys, says Holmes. Old patrons cant believe its the same place.
But fear not, Churchills has not lost its charm.
This location may be larger, reassures Holmes, but it still maintains its coziness. Everyones told me that.
So, besides the atmosphere and the authentic English and American cuisine, why should folks frequent Churchills?
Holmes answers without a blink of an eye.
Because great people hang out here. Its just a cool place. The way we do it, the attitude of the staff and the customers. Weve got some great customers. Its just cool.
Churchill's Pub and Restaurant is at 13 W. Bay Street. Call 232-8501.