Last updated: 07:00 PM ET, Mon July 13 2015

Holy Spirits: Four Bars That Used to Be Churches

Features & Advice | Tom Bastek | July 13, 2015

Holy Spirits: Four Bars That Used to Be Churches

Photos courtesy of each establishment 

It's a fact of modern life that as progress marches on, congregations age or relocate, and sometimes new football stadiums need to be built, houses of worship close their doors one day and never welcome their flock back. These old buildings, built with the idea that they would last forever, normally withstand years of neglect until they are repurposed for other activities. Some of these purposes are not quite as... reverent as others. Like at the following four former churches, for example.

The TabernacleAtlanta, Georgia

In 1909, ground was broken for the Baptist Tabernacle and Institute Building, which remained a place of worship until 1994. The building was sold and originally developed as a House of Blues for the time of the Atlanta Olympics in 1996.  Sold again in 1998, it became what it is still known as today: the Tabernacle. Managed by Live Nation, the venue has seen shows by everyone from musician Bob Dylan to comedians Cheech and Chong to Pastor Rob Bell. 

The Church Brew WorksPittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Built around the turn of the century, this building was originally St. John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church. After an extensive renovation, the doors were reopened as the Church Brew Works. This brewpub not only sells beer with clever names like Pipe Organ Pale Ale and Pious Monk Dunkel, it also has a varied menu with everything from traditional pierogi to beer steamed mussels.

The Church NightclubDenver, Colorado

The Church Nightclub in Denver was originally constructed in 1865 as Saint Mark’s Parish Church. This Victorian gothic former house of worship still maintains all of its charm, except that the crowd has changed from worshiping God to worshiping phat techno beats. This nightclub is open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays and offers up a service industry night appropriately named S.I.N. Sundays.

The Church Bar and RestaurantDublin, Ireland

There are many places in Europe that have changed reverence to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit to just spirits. One of the most famous is The Church Bar and Restaurant in Dublin, Ireland, formerly St. Mary’s Church of Ireland and originally built at the beginning of the 18th century. The main bar takes up the lower level and provides an extensive lunch and dinner menu. 

Upstairs in the choir loft sits The Gallery restaurant giving more of an upscale meal for dinner only. And if you are worried about what the beer gods would think of you drinking in a church, don’t. Arthur Guinness, the founder of Guinness Brewery, was married here in 1761.

So there are four places you can have a blast and tell the spouse that you are just going to church and you wouldn’t be lying. After all, with all of the other sins that you can break in these heavenly homes, why start off with lying before you get there?

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