Yes weird title for this entry I know but um, even more weird reason for the entry.
I have been traveling on business in Pittsburgh for most of this week. Pittsburgh is like the land of National Chain Restaurants. It is a land where for some reason they feel independently owned restaurants are passe and chains rule... seriously. I asked a gentleman for a good steakhouse he answered "Oh! There is this great place that cooks to order, its the um, Golden Corral. We also have an Outback." Okay look nothing really major against either place, but I was looking for something with more of a cultural setting. Then a young lady came swooping in and said "Cultural. Hmmm, something unique to Pittsburgh that serves steaks. Oh 'Brew Works' in Lawrenceville on the city's edge. Try there." So we did.
Its full name is The Church Brew Works. No Church is not a last name or area, it means Church - Brewery. An old, old church - it was built in 1901. Since then it has been turned into a Brewery and Restaurant. Yes - you eat, drink & be merry amongst the pews, stained glass and confessionals.
Actually the confessionals lead into the kitchen. You eat on church pews. The altar now houses the main brewhouse containers. Yes, the pulpit has been replaced by beer. The most amazing thing is that we learned that just abou everything from the original church has been reconstructed in order to be functional today. The bar is made from the planks of some of the old pews, the tables on the dining side feature 'benches' (shortened pews), the choir chairs are around free standing tables. The rose window on the front of the building shines above the pipes of the old organ. There are elaborate stained glass windows everywhere and if you could see the hand painted cathedral ceilings that are braced by tall columns... oh so gorgeous.
It was a surreal experience. I had this internal turmoil over feeling if this was not the coolest - weirdest atmosphere ever & then it tied with a weird feeling of 'is this sacrilege?' To be honest the battle has yet to be complete, but I will say it in no way makes fun or desecrates anything, really. If anything it allowed an amazing architectural structure to be kept. In a city like Pittsburgh where more often than not you see beautiful architecture with boarded windows and signs for lease or demolish, it is nice that this was preserved.
As for personal feelings on how it is being used, well, it could be worse. ;o) It is definitely worth seeing at least once if you are ever in the area. Check out the website: http://www.churchbrew.com and enjoy the pics I took - sorry they were with my cell phone - I was not prepared for it to be what it would be like. Oh and by the way - yeah did not order a Bloody Mary, but did silently wonder about those Hail Marys........ ;o)