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For My Finest Few Hours: “The Churchill”

   
As I sit down to think about what I want to write in this blog I have Fergie in my head. Her song is setting the scene:


Fun. I have heard about that before but it’s been a while. A really long while. Like so many years ago I can’t even reach that far back in my migraine brain. It may have well been a lifetime ago because who that girl was and what she did I have no recollection of. It is like I woke up after being in a coma for twenty years. Places, names, and people look and sound familiar but I can’t quite place them. They say some things are never truly forgotten, that it is like riding a bike. God knows how long ago I did that so I hope this new body and healing migraine brain can pull themselves together.









I think I know how to act. I want to truly be myself with no self-conscious thoughts or actions. I want to actually have alcohol in my drink and dare I say fun. See there is that word again. I think it is associated with good conversation, good music, and possibly some laughter. I am pretty sure that would certainly be involved. I hope I am right. I could use a win.

Previously when I would say I want to go out, even just to myself, there would always be something that got in the way. I would think, “I would go out EXCEPT I’m tired, sick, or poor”. My old normal didn’t include going out as a regular occurrence. Now when I think about it I know I am going so I can just focus on what I should wear.

But the best part is that there doesn’t have to be a string of great luck allowing the stars to align in my favor. Actually I could take a moderately shitty day with some close calls to prove to myself how much I want to go out. I just kept going on adjusting as I went so that I made it out, to the bar. That in its self is a miracle.

The reason for this reflection began earlier in the week when I got a text from a friend asking if I wanted to go to happy hour she was attending on Friday. I said sure and she understands that until I show up there is no guarantee I will be able to go. All that and no judgment, like I said she is a friend.

I was looking forward to it without creating pressure on myself, which is my typical approach. This time I was just chill. By the end of the week I was SO ready to meet some new people, try out a cool place, and yes, very much have a drink.








This is how I arrived at The Churchill. I was intrigued by the name and glad to find out it was named for the exact person that came to mind, Prime Minister Winston Churchill. This is a man I am somewhat familiar with and not just because I have taken a few history classes. Actually my most recent rendezvous took place in London in 2009. While on a vacation there I went to visit the Churchill War Rooms. These are the bunkers, which housed Churchill and his staff during World War II that has since become a museum. These underground bunkers were a well-kept secret that allowed operations to continue that would eventually lead to victory. When Japan surrendered in 1945 the bunker would become empty until it was opened as an attraction in 1984.

It was amazing to see how life went on as usual underground. The bedrooms of Churchill and his wife were on display. In fact everything had been left just as it was with glass sealing the rooms off for preservation.  You can see the map room where the strategies that won the war were devised. As you walk through the exhibits is all seems so unreal. You would have no idea from the sign outside what awaited you below. I suppose that is what made this site such a good working station for Churchill and Co. After you have seen these rooms you can go to the other side (also underground) to see the museum exploring this great leader’s life. At the time of my visit I was done after the War Rooms. I had just come from Benjamin Franklin’s house and was on my way to Westminster Abbey (“hands down the best Abbey I have ever seen”). A lot of history for one day!









Just because the bar was in NYC didn’t mean I couldn’t still act like a tourist. I felt I had no choice once I arrived and saw a replica of a Buckingham Palace guard standing out front. Needless to say I had my own mini selfie shoot before meeting up with my group. I had seen the real changing of the guard back in 2009 so the fake version was a nice reminder. I would find another later on in the evening in the very back of the bar guarding the steps to the second floor.

Once inside my excitement level just kept going up. This place had great service, was immaculately clean including the bathrooms which is always a deal breaker, and had so much space for the large crowd we were in front, but for all of their other patrons as well. We had some reserved tables so I was able to put my drink down, let go of my purse and coat, and actually just focus on mingling. I have to say though one of the highlights of my night was hearing Winston Churchill’s voice as his speeches played over a speaker in the bathroom.

Another highlight was my drink. I was smart enough to follow my friend’s lead and ordered a McKenzie’s Hard Cider in Black Cherry. I have never ever had a drink that good in all my life. When I looked around most of the people we were with were also fans. I am now an addict.

Last but certainly not least there was the food. They had a wide arrangement of choices for bar snacks or entrees. I had heard the artichoke fries here were killer so when I became peckish that’s what I got. Boy they did not disappoint! I had everyone near me try and we were all in agreement. They were simple yet delectable. They were simply pieces of artichoke lightly fried in a batter with a side of white sauce that was like tartar sauce. They were also just dandy on their own. They were reminiscent of the veggie fries I had at Bill’s Bar and Burger (http://thequeenoff-ckingeverything.blogspot.com/2016/01/for-f-cking-king-of-burgers-bar-and.html).

I also tried the potato wedges served with a side of sour cream (which I could eat right of a container I love it so much) and chili sauce. The wedges had a nice amount of seasoning on them already and were GIANTIC and about fourteen hundred degrees inside. For once I was sweating in a bar and it wasn’t because of my migraines or pills. It was a nice change of pace.

If I had been hungrier I would have tried the fish and chips I am curious how good they would be compared to the other places I have had them, including London (http://thequeenoff-ckingeverything.blogspot.com/2013/07/for-fish-and-chips.html). The best place I have so far was A Salt and Battery a strictly English hot spot right here in NYC. I am going to have to do a taste test.

Appropriately the happy hour at Churchill’s is Monday – Friday from noon until seven p.m. but here it is known as “The Finest Hour” after the speech Churchill gave to Parliament after he had won his seat on June 18, 1940. I didn’t remember the words so I looked them up.

“To each there comes in their lifetime a special moment when they are figuratively tapped on the shoulder and offered the chance to do a very special thing, unique to them and fitted to their talents. What a tragedy if that moment finds them unprepared or unqualified for that which could have been their finest hour.”

Those words couldn’t have been more prophetic.






The spirit of London had found me in NYC and that is not the first place it has happened. When I was in Savannah I walked past a pub known there as a London staple called Six Pence (http://thequeenoff-ckingeverything.blogspot.com/2015/03/for-hard-hearted-hannah-vamp-of_11.html). I didn’t happen to pop in but I did make time for a selfie shoot of course.

I can’t get over how much I loved this place. It is definitely on my repertoire for future visits. On their website I discovered they have trivia nights. I have never participated in one but I am definitely going to partake here as soon as I can.

Not surprisingly Winston Churchill and I had interacted not too long ago. When I visited Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s homestead, Springwood (http://thequeenoff-ckingeverything.blogspot.com/2016/01/for-roosevelts-retreat-springwood.html), there were busts of both the President and the Prime Minster outside FDR’s Presidential Library. This artwork honors the visits these men had at this peace retreat. Churchill decedents actually paid a visit to this historic site in Hyde Park, New York when it reopened after renovations a few years ago. I love that the tradition is being kept alive.

With this new lease on my life, I can actually add bars and alcohol to my new to do list with confidence that it will actually happen. It’s a strange sensation, sort of like I had been living as a recluse, a social virgin if you will. Using that train of thought I am living life as a born again individual. This existence is new while also bringing up memories of what it was like before. The good news is that now I am remaking my experiences with ALL that I learned and gone through, allowing me to truly appreciate the small things in life. Not surprisingly it turns out that’s what makes life worth living.

After a couple of hours spent in the delightful company of my bloke Winston Churchill it was time to head out. I had done what I came to do so I was going home with a smile on my face. Yes I was right. This is what fun feels like.

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