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Stories by Joseph O'Brien

The Imperial House's Negroni

Few drinks admit of such variety as the bittersweet Negroni. Switch out the shot of gin for vodka and you have a Negroski; add bourbon instead of gin and you’re drinking a Boulevardier; order a ...

Lou & Mickey's Scorpion's Sting

Tiki-cocktail culture might be making a comeback, but at Lou & Mickey’s, it never went away. Take yourself downtown, where bartender Brian Gaudet is ready to take the sting out of your day by putting ...

Paradise Valley Seventh Day Adventist Church

8000 pounds of food a week to about 500 families

Interview with Will James, pastor at Paradise Valley Seventh Day Adventist Church.

Temple Solel

Interview with Temple Solel associate rabbi Josh Burrows.

Bar West's Drunken Monkey

Inspired in part by hip-hop and in part by “wheat pop,” one of Bar West’s best-selling drinks, the Drunken Monkey, developed from the beer-and-fruit combos already sliding across the bar most nights, says bartender Scott ...

Good Samaritan Episcopal Church

Interview with Episcopalian pastor Chris Chase

Don’t be distracted by all the shiny, glittery things.

Whaling Bar & Grill's Sazerac

According to the Whaling Bar & Grill’s bar manager Scotty Moises, the establishment took its name when it opened in the early 1950s from the mural that hangs over the bar, The Whale’s Last Stand. ...

Tierrasanta Seventh-Day Adventist Church

Found at a 1984 Padres game: God

Membership: 525 Pastor: Gary McCary Age: 60 Born: Needles, CA Formation: La Sierra University, Riverside, CA; Andrews University, Berrien Springs, MI Years Ordained: 33 San Diego Reader: What is your favorite subject on which to ...

St. Timothy Episcopal Church

Willy Crespo, prison priest

Columnist Patrick Daugherty tries to hunt down a a Beretta M9 for sale.

Beaumont's Jack-o-Lantern

When it comes to a good hand-crafted cocktail, according to the bar manager at Beaumont’s Eatery, Gavin McManes, the trick is in the treat. “Anytime someone comes into my bar, I’m basically treating them as ...

First Lutheran Church of San Diego

Interview with Wilbert “Wilk” Miller of First Lutheran Church of San Diego, in its 125th year.

Thrusters' Basil Hendricks

The bar manager at Thrusters Lounge Matthew Compton claims that the Basil Hendricks is a “perfect summer cocktail.” “It’s not something,” he says, “I could see someone drinking in the middle of winter in the ...

The Church of Yeshua Ha Mashiach

Membership: 50 Denomination: Nondenominational/interdenominational Pastor: Dennis Hodges Age: 57 Born: Chicago Formation: Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL; International Theological Seminary, Bradenton, FL; Ashford University, Clinton, IA Years Ordained: 7 years San Diego Reader: What is ...

The Lei Lounge's Tokyo Plum

As an Asian-fusion restaurant that seeks to bring the best of Eastern and Western cuisine under one pagoda, the Lei Lounge is offering an intriguing twist to the cocktail concept. Take, for instance, one of ...

Mt. Soledad Presbyterian Church

Interview with John Moser of Mt. Soledad Presbyterian Church

St. Mark's United Methodist Church

Interview with pastor Craig Dorval of St. Mark United Methodist Church.

Block No. 16 Union and Spirits’ Junior Exec

As the political season heats up, Block 16 Union & Spirits manager Johnny Leal is holding fast to the party line. “A lot of the stuff we do at the Block,” he tells me, “is ...

Pacific Hope Church

Certain churches draw people in by way of entertainment. Interview with Pastor John Leeder of Pacific Hope Church.

Croce's Lovers Cross

The late barroom balladeer Jim Croce penned “Lover’s Cross” as a bittersweet break-up song, and perhaps there’s a bit of that to the drink which the song inspired at Croce’s Jazz Bar and Grill, the ...

Ner Tamid Synagogue

Nobody knows what the next plane of existence looks like.

Maryjane's Champagne Punch

Besides 20 years of mixing cocktails — the last five at Maryjane’s — Marcos Villalobos’s résumé includes his history of working for human resources in the corporate world. “In HR I would have people come ...

Prince Chapel by the Sea African Methodist Episcopal Church

Grow, glow, and go at Prince Chapel by the Sea African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Barefoot Bar & Grill's Barefoot Blockbuster

Customers call Barefoot Bar & Grill bartender Serena Mappa the human drink dictionary. “After I make something once, I seem to remember it forever,” she explains. “I wasn’t good at math in school, but for ...

Mission Village Christian Fellowship

Pastor Carl Baker worries that churches are “giving up their biblical values for political correctness.”

Onyx Room's French Martini

There’s a fine line that Onyx Room bartenders walk between time and taste. According to Onyx Room bartender Nathan Colonero, this nightclub’s bartenders pride themselves on being able to deliver smart concoctions and efficient service. ...

First Lutheran Church Vista

Ramón Zarate was a business administration major before he graduated to God.

Palisades Presbyterian Church

Interview with pastor Harvey Throop of Palisades Presbyterian Church in Allied Gardens.

Brazen BBQ’s Blazin’ Sunrise

The bar manager at Brazen BBQ, Grey Lockwood also moonlights as a commercial advertising photographer. So, naturally, when he develops a drink, he’s looking for that Kodachrome moment — say, turning a regular old sunrise ...

Vista Assembly of God

Pastor Steven Myatt intended to become a businessman. But he thought there had to be more to life.

Anthology’s Whiskey Rose

Barkeep Marc Canzoneri’s Whiskey Rose — an Old Fashioned for the 21st Century.

Clairemont Covenant Church

When pastor Greg West talks about disciples, he’s not talking about “pew potatoes.”

Chula Vista Community Church

Phil Golden of Chula Vista Community Church says he likes to preach on John 3:16. And he won’t skip over John 3:17.

Hooley's Irish Bären

The Irish Bären they make over at Hooley’s could just as well be called an “O’Jito.” According to Hooley’s bartender Austin Bell, his creation has all the properties of the traditional mojito but with a ...

Chabad Jewish Synagogue Center of La Jolla

Membership: 120 Rabbi: Baruch Shalom Ezagui Age: 34 Born: Montreal, Canada Formation: Rabbinical College of Montreal, Canada; Yeshiva Geloda Lubavitch, London, England; Educational Institute Oholei Torah, Brooklyn, NY; Yeshiva Gedola of New Haven, Conn., Rabbinical ...

Starlite's Cleopatra

Shimmering in all its gold-plated decadence, the Starlite’s Cleopatra is worthy of the woman for whom it was named. According to Matt Hoyt, Starlite owner and sometime bartender, the drink serves as a seductive entrée ...

Mesa View Baptist Church

Membership: 300 Pastor: Darrow Perkins Age: 46 Born: Baton Rouge, La Formation: Andersonville Theological Seminary, Camilla, Ga.; U.S. Marine Corps (1983–2003) Years Ordained: 19 San Diego Reader: What is your favorite subject on which to ...

Grant Grill’s Caipirihna

The national drink of Brazil, the caipirinha (kye-pee-ree-nah) has had such a powerful attraction for Brazilians that it almost brought the Ford Motor Company to a screeching halt. After Henry Ford discovered that the low ...

Las Flores Church of the Nazarene

Membership: 500 Pastor: Dwayne Edwards Age: 57 Born: Montgomery, Ala. Formation: Southern Nazarene University, Oklahoma City, Okla.; Point Loma Nazarene University, San Diego Years Ordained: 25 San Diego Reader: What is your favorite subject on ...

Congregation Dor Hadash

Denomination: Reconstructionist Membership: 125 families Pastor: Rabbi Yael Ridberg Age: 43 Born: Bridgeport, Conn. Formation: Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, Philadelphia, Penn. Years Ordained: 15 San Diego Reader: How long do you spend writing your sermon? Rabbi ...

Swampwater

If you’re looking for the perfect redneck response to blue-blooded cocktail culture, look no further than the Swampwater’s edge at Bub’s Dive Bar. The sort of place that serves silos of canned beer in paper ...

Fletcher Hills Presbyterian Church

Membership: 310 Pastor: Kevin Womack Born: Melbourne, Florida Age: 40 Formation: Bethel Seminary, San Diego; Talbot School of Theology, La Mirada Ordained: 11 years San Diego Reader: What is your favorite subject on which to ...

Cloudbreak Church

Membership: 110 Affiliation: Southern Baptist Pastor: Jeff Langley Age: 45 Born: San Diego Formation: Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Forth Worth, Texas; Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, San Francisco Years Ordained: 10 San Diego Reader: How ...

Craft & Commerce’s British Firing Squad

According to bar manager Christian Siglin, the powers that be at Craft & Commerce have banished vodka. “A lot of people aren’t used to fresh ingredients and strong flavors,” he says. “That’s why we don’t ...

San Diego Christian Reformed Church

Membership: 65 Affiliation: Christian Reformed Church Interim Pastor: Adam Stout Age: 32 Born: Davenport, Iowa Formation: One year of Yucatán, Mexico, mission work; Calvin College and Calvin Theology Seminary, Grand Rapids, Mich. (2010). San Diego ...

Lighthouse Christian Church

Affiliation: Independent Christian Churches Membership: 920 Pastor: Michael Openshaw Age: 53 Born: Atlanta, Georgia Formation: Lincoln Christian College and Lincoln Christian Seminary, Lincoln, Illinois Years in Ministry: 33 San Diego Reader: What is your favorite ...

The Merk Bistro’s Fresh Basil Gimlet

David Oliver, bar manager and resident mixologist at the Merk Bistro, was in a quandary: he loves gimlets, but hates the syrupy lime-juice flavoring most traditional recipes call for. His solution was to reinvent the ...

Canyon View Church of Christ

Membership: 450 Pastor: John McKeel Age: 58 Born: Wichita, Kansas Formation: Columbia Christian College, Portland, Oregon; Pepperdine University, Malibu Years Ordained: 32 San Diego Reader: What is your favorite subject on which to preach? Pastor ...

Bonita Orthodox Presbyterian Church

Membership: 90 Pastor: Stephen Parker Age: 63 Born: Buffalo, NY Formation: Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary, South Hamilton, Mass.; U.S. Navy chaplain (1986–2004). Years Ordained: 33 San Diego Reader: What is your favorite subject on which ...