Being cool comes naturally to some people, being recognized for it to an even more precious few. But making another national list to celebrate your coolness is all in a days work for gay Atlanta’s own Grant Henry.
The spiritual leader of the loyal congregants at Sister Louisa’s Church bar (photo, center) can put another feather in his media cap with the latest edition of Business Insider. The magazine might not be your first pick for purveyor of what’s cool, but its 50 Coolest New Businesses in America list is right on point. Well, except for the “new” part, though it does note that the awesomeness opened in 2010.
Sister Louisa's Church of the Living Room and Ping Pong Emporium
466 Edgewood Ave. Southeast, Atlanta, Georgia
What it is: A bizarre bar and art gallery.
Why it's cool: Since Sister Louisa's Church of the Living Room and Ping Pong Emporium opened in 2010, people have never had so much fun going to church. Designed around the owner's invented tale of a runaway nun, "Church" sports a full bar, ping pong table, and art gallery. Get there on a Wednesday night for church organ karaoke, or any other night to take your picture in the confessional photo booth.
In addition to national accolades, the local love faucet for Henry and Church is also on perpetual pour. The year kicks off with Creative Loafing Atlanta’s Where Are They Now? feature. As an addendum to its gay-inclusive People to Watch like this year’s Rick Westbrook and Erik Thurmond, the paper checks in with Henry among other past honorees to see how he’s faring.
Grant Henry, the Nightlife Builder
"I am a lucky man, and grateful, to be the physical cornerstone of Edge & Bully. About six months ago I dared open my mind to another CHURCH in another city, found a prime space in Athens, Ga., and have been open about two months now! It was hell getting there, but the light at the end of the tunnel was bright. Reviews are rave, ping-pong is thriving, and the staff has learned what it means to be 'CHURCH,' not just another bar. They are carrying out that mission like the pros on Edgewood. I love Nashville and have my eye on a perfect space in the perfect hood. I'm hoping we can get an Atlanta delegation over there soon. I'm in Hong Kong right now trying to visualize how the fuck CHURCH would translate to another country, much less another language. These are dreams I can't imagine coming true. But in 2009 I had no idea that Sister Louisa's CHURCH in Atlanta could even be a thing. Let's just say I learned the hard way to fuck fear."
All this mojo in just the first week of the year is a good kickoff to 2015, as it’s just the latest in a long line of attention that the bar collects as much as it does Pee Wee Hermans and velvet Jesuses. In 2014, Henry opened an Athens satellite bar, and the original location was named one of the Best Bars in Atlanta not once but twice. Church also got top honors as the Coolest Kitsch Bar in the World.
That was just last year. Again, it’s all in day’s work for the little gay gadabout who could.