Disco houses, nightclubs, music hubs, discotheque, or whatever they call it, are usually situated in old warehouses or basements if not penthouses of buildings. Can you imagine seeing your old hometown church being turned into a disco bar?
It’s been the trend in some states in the US and countries in Europe. Some people think it’s insane. Catholic devotees were surely against it. But entrepreneurs have to cater to their millennial market. And for them, as long as it creates an exciting and creative mood, it will surely be a sound business venture.
Who would ever think that an old church would be an ideal venue for a nightclub?
A vaulted cellar bar in London, Gremio de Brixton, is located underneath St. Matthew’s Church Brixton. It is serving Spanish tapas and wines with live bands playing. It is rated 4 out of 5 by TripAdvisor and ranked #4976 out of the 20,420 restaurants in London. Others find it odd and thought it wouldn’t work. Well, it seems they were wrong because the owner did rock it.
In Denver, Colorado, a former place of worship that was built in 1865 was converted into a nightclub. Being vacant for nearly two decades, the once St. Mark’s Episcopal Church is now The Church Night Club. It has become Denver’s nightlife sanctuary and was even considered one of the top 10 clubs in America according to DJ Magazine. They offer different events on different days. Some areas are rented out for a private party. They even host charity shows for the children as a way of giving back to the community. The high ceilings, gothic architecture, stained glass windows, and intricate woodworks are still original. Those give the vast space a character of its own. It is said that the atmosphere while on the dance floor is really something unique.
If you want to have a taste of Italian disco, Il Gattopardo Café Disco is the place. It is one of the coolest discos in Milan. It gives its clients an excellent apertivo experience. The site is a deconsecrated 19th-century church. It is loved by the youngblood for what they call “its mature atmosphere.”
The End For Some Nightlife
Just like any other businesses, some churches turned bars had to close down for some reasons.
One of its first wasThe Limelight and its chain of nightclubs. It was frequented by famous people. Its Chicago branch was the former Chicago Historical Society. London Limelight was the old Welsh Presbyterian Church. Another Limelight branch was a historic Episcopal church in Manhattan, New York. The club’s popularity declined and had to close down.
Another club that met its end after 10 years was the Altar Bar of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. The former St. Elizabeth Catholic Church turned music hub finally closed down in 2016. The good thing is it’s back to being a house of worship again. It was purchased by Orchard Hill Church which is a non-denominational church serving the Pittsburgh area.
It may be a bit shocking seeing the community’s ecclesiastical parish being converted into nightclubs or music houses, but it’s better than tearing a good piece of the structure down. The developers and new owners of the property have made use of the deconsecrated buildings, retaining its original look, and trying its best to preserve a piece of the community’s heritage.
I have never been to any of the clubs/churches I mentioned above and just relied on information from the web. But I think that both thrived and loved by the people for their similarities. People who go to churches and clubs (though of different generations) forget about the things that make them worry. For a moment, they feel relieved and have a sense of belonging. Though clubs offer just temporary happiness and the church provides healing and long-term solutions, both have become their sanctuary.
The Limelight. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Limelight
Mervis, S. (2016, June 17). Altar Bar will be reborn once again as a church. Retrieved from https://www.post-gazette.com/ae/music/2016/06/16/Altar-Bar-in-the-Strip-will-close-this-summer-pittsburgh/stories/201606160141