Gay gadabout Grant Henry always seems to know just what to say to make us smile. On Thursday, it was less esoteric than usual and even more exciting. That's when he announced that his wildly successful Sister Louisa’s Church of the Living Room & Ping Pong Emporium is opening a second location in Athens this summer.
“I swear to God on a Bible that I just wanted another place to decorate,” Henry (photo, second from right) says in his typically effusive, tongue-in-cheek fashion in his announcement of the new location. “I've got Jesus shit everywhere, church pews out the butt, extra Pee-wee Herman's crawling around my house, and church chandeliers enough to light up Acworth.”
His recently acquired Athens spot right behind the legendary 40 Watt club is a natural expansion for him and his penchant for collecting old church paraphernalia, Henry tells Project Q.
“My life works this way. I bought 14 great church pews from an old church, 10 amazing chandeliers, a bunch of pee wees, and I'm not a hoarder, so my inner self knew what I was doing before my outself did,” he says. “My best friend Steven Carse (King Of Pops) started selling pops there, and I went with him and saw the potential ... and my friend Alex Brounstein from Grindhouse Killer Burgers. They both have businesses there.”
And the idea of having Church in Athens got blessings from high places during the trip in Henry's vintage Rolls Royce with Carse, he continues.
“I need to take Hot Buttered Rolls for a longer ride than five miles so we took it to Athens one time with a big-ass cooler of popsicles in the back seat,” he says. “After dropping the popsicles off, we parked downtown and two ladies were standing there and said, ‘Who are you?’ Ends up it was the mayor of Athens and she said she hopes I was there to open a church in Athens. Also she was the mother of a friend, Margaret Kaiser (State Rep.) She's helped me look for a space.
“Then Steven and I went to have drinks at several bars near my space and everyone was so friendly, knew about Church already, and said: "Please open a Church here.’”
By summer, Henry will live here and in Athens. His daughter recently moved back to Atlanta with her husband and will help him manage both establishments. Lesbian Atlanta DJ Vicki Powell (photo, second from left) will have a monthly “Sunday Service” like her sets in Atlanta, and a King of Pops Ping-Pong Night is in the works. Any concerns looking forward? Not a one, Henry says.
“There is no chance of failure, but if I fuck up, failure is as good a story as success,” he says. “Plus I don't give a shit about money.”
It’s an attitude and plan that’s worked for him so far. We’ve been all about Henry’s irreverent little Old Fourth Ward Bar since the beginning, through raucous anniversary parties, international acclaim, and right up through Easter Sunday debauchery. We have a feeling that he knows what he’s doing, even if subconsciously. No one else has the inside track quite like Henry on the care and feeding of a bar named Church.