Church on Church is a bar located in the Village, filling the space where George's Play was previously situated. The concept of a church-themed gay bar is a unique, inspired idea (not to mention the great acronym the name creates). For us Irish-Catholics, it's like having your spouse get hired at your job - suddenly, elements from the two places you frequent most collide, and you're not sure if it's terrible or amazing. Church on Church is most definitely the latter.
I recently visited Church on Church on a Friday night around 9:30 pm. The cavernous space is empty in the middle with white pew-like benches distributed around the perimeter, likely representing the Great Schism between the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church (or possibly for dancing).
Church on Church has a cocktail list with drinks inspired by their theme. I opted for the Blue Moon Rising. (I was tempted to try the Eucharist, but am currently working out my own belief in transubstantiation and chose to refrain.)
I was initially at a loss as to how the name Blue Moon Rising was a reference to church, especially among other names like St Francis and Forbidden Fruit. Was it some sort of allusion to the best parts of the Bible (featuring rape and pillaging) that we always seemed to skip over in Catechism class? Possibly a foreshadowing of the future of churches and religion in this Brave New World?
After a few moments of pondering, I realized that Blue Moon Rising is an anagram for Blooming Urines, a clever reference to the fact that being in church always makes one's bladder inexplicably full despite the several times your mother asks you if you have to use the bathroom at Swiss Chalet while you hiss "Mom, I'm a grown-ass ADULT! I can monitor my own digestive system, for Chrissake!"
The Blue Moon Rising, prepared by a very handsome and very polite bartender, was simple and delicious, sweet with a bit of a bite. The $12 cocktails are on the pricey side, but with two to three ounces of delicious, delicious booze, they are well worth the price.
Similar to religious friends, it was so saccharine I could only have one before I was a little sick of the syrupy taste. Unfortunately, the bartender informed me that the cocktail list is only available until around 10 pm. I asked him to just make me something delicious and he served me a vodka-based cocktail with various other dashes of liquor. This mystery cocktail was good but also very sweet.
It should be noted that while I was speaking with the bartender, a drunken patron approached the bar and interrupted me, trying to strike up a conversation with the bartender. He gracefully asked the patron to wait for a moment rather than ignoring him or ditching me for the obviously more attractive customer. It was great to see such pleasant and graceful staff. (Full disclosure: the drunken patron was my companion. He drank beer and otherwise contributed nothing to this review.)
Further into the night, Church on Church started to fill with people. It was a beautiful scene: People were coming together, from diverse backgrounds and various walks of life, the poor in spirit, the meek, the merciful, to listen to the word of people we all believed in: DJ Delicious and DJ L Rock. The DJs were great, spinning music that made me want to move like that boy in Matthew 17: 14-18 before Jesus cures him of his demons.
Without question, I would return to Church on Church. Church on Church thrives where other similar bars have failed (see: Synagogue on Spadina) due to the execution of the theme, the great service and the fun atmosphere. Amen.
Writing by Martha Stortz
- Beers on Tap:
- Stella, Keith’s, Blue and Bud Light
- Signature Drink:
- Anything from the Holy Water Cocktail List
- Bar Snacks:
- sliders, charcuterie plate
- DJ beatz
- Live Music:
- Who Goes There:
- Anyone who has drunk-sobbed while wailing “I just want to dance!”, anyone who has ever had Grindr crash from excessive use.
- 4pm- 2 am Wednesday to Sunday