There is probably no more perfect location for an upscale cigar bar and restaurant in all of Metro Detroit than what Churchill's Cigar Bar offers.
Step into the contemporary, yet traditional, location in the walkable community of affluent Birmingham, Michigan, and you are as likely to see professional athletes and movie stars in town for shoots as you are your next door neighbor and blue-collar residents working in the automotive industry. Churchill's is just that kind of place.
"We cater to everyone and anyone," says owner Nash Zaitouna. "It's like a club that everyone has access to."
Churchill's has been located in downtown Birmingham for many years, but today's cigar bar is different from what it was before. Two years ago, it went through a renovation and a move down the street that completely modernized the location. With an outside seating area, plenty of natural light, dark, wood-lined walls and finely polished wood floors, it provides an atmosphere of comfort and class. Patrons will feel as if they are stepping a bit into the past while still enjoying the comforts of today.
The impressive bar is stocked with an array of specialty Bourbons, Cognac and Scotches. Rare whiskeys include Pappy Van Winkle, Macallan 21, 25 and 30, and Glenlivet 25 and 30. There are more than 250 different bottles of wine available, along with seasonal craft beers and a dozen beers on draft.
At the back of the bar and restaurant is a large humidor glowing with options and beckoning to guests. There are more than 1,500 cigars, including Ashton, Arturo Fuente, Padrón, and Montecristo. The cigar list is updated constantly as new products are introduced to the market.
"We'll find a cigar that may be hard to find and order it for you," Zaitouna says.
The American bistro-style menu features Wagyu beef aged for 28 days with Himalayan salt, and other steaks, such as filet mignon, as a main course. Appetizers include oyster Rockefeller, steak bites, fried green tomatoes, sliders and more. As part of its lunch or dinner menus, Churchill's serves salads, salmon, chicken and pasta. The menu changes an average of two to three times a year for seasonal specials.
This selection brings in a diverse crowd on a daily basis. Regulars come for business meetings and often stay for three of four hours, Zaitouna says. One of the reasons may be a daily happy hour that runs from noon to 7 p.m. and includes various drink and cigar specials.
There is a smattering of flat-screen televisions throughout Churchill's to ensure that you can keep tabs on the local sports teams. Barstools and sit-down tables adorn the interior and exterior patio, and accommodations are easily made for larger parties. The location is ideal as Churchill's is near the busiest intersection in downtown Birmingham, where people-watching is at a premium. Churchill's is located just a few blocks away from Birmingham's Townsend Hotel, which often hosts visiting celebrities, musicians and other dignitaries. But, Churchill's is also close to fashionable clothing stores, a large movie theater, coffee shops and specialty stores.
To ensure that everyone has an enjoyable time inside the bar and restaurant, Churchill's invested in a ventilation system that runs up to 15 times per hour and replaces interior air with fresh, outdoor air.
In addition Churchill's does not have an active online business. All cigars and supplies are sold in person, just the way it was meant to happen, according to Zaitouna.
"You just don't get the quality of service online that you get in person and this is a service and people oriented business," Zaitouna says. "In service businesses there are too many places that are losing that intimate touch."
Churchill's also has a location in nearby West Bloomfield that is more of a lounge-style cigar bar, and future new cigar bars are also planned throughout Metro Detroit. Plans are that a third location will open in the coming months in Grosse Pointe Woods, an upscale community just north of Detroit and adjacent to the Detroit River.
Call-aheads are recommended one hour in advance for those wishing to secure a table.
Churchill's Cigar Bar
116 S. Old Woodward
Birmingham, MI 48009
Open Monday through Wednesday: 11 a.m. to midnight
Thursday through Saturday: 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.
Sunday: noon to midnight
Monday through Saturday: cigars and supplies can be purchased from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.