One Block from Ebenezer, a Bar Called "Church" Puzzles Residents

11:01 PM, Mar 30, 2011   |    comments
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A piece of art by Grant Henry, hanging in his bar called "Church."

The neighborhood has some of Atlanta's most historic churches -- from Ebenezer Baptist to Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church to Wheat Street Baptist Church.

It's an area where many folks take very seriously their scripture and their savior.  "I believe Jesus Christ is our savior," said Jacqueline Jackson as she walked into Ebenezer for Wednesday night Bible study. "And truly I don't believe in mocking religion."

And the owner of the business behind the King Center says he isn't mocking religion when he calls his tavern "Church," nor does he do so with an abundance of artwork and icons that derive from Christian symbols -- flavored less with spirituality, and more with distilled spirits.

"It's not a Jesus hatin' place," said owner Grant Henry. "There's nothing in here that has anything to do with hating Jesus."

Henry is an artist and onetime seminarian who describes himself as "addicted to all things Jesus." His bar called Church is now a warehouse for his artistic obsession, with visual twists that may jar sacred sensibilities.

"I don't see it as disrespectful at all. I see it as a celebration," Henry said. "I think if Jesus came in the door -- if there was a Jesus -- if Jesus came in the door, he'd probably laugh."

But it's left some of his traditional churchgoing neighbors a little confused.

"I know we are to witness everywhere and every place," said Carolyn Evans as she walked into Ebenezer Wednesday. "But a bar called 'Church?'"

Henry says his bar may be more spirited than spiritual -- in fulfilling demands of his own flock.














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