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Stories by Joseph O'Brien

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 ...

333 Pacific’s Pier View Cocktail

One of the newest items on 333 Pacific’s drink menu is bar manager Kevin Kitchen’s Pier View cocktail. Named in honor of the third-of-a-mile-long Oceanside Pier that serves as the restaurant’s nighttime vista, Kitchen’s concoction ...

International Christian Center

Membership: 250 Pastor: David Montajes Age: 55 Born: Manila, Philippines Formation: Bethel Bible College, Venezuela City, Philippines Years Ordained: 13 San Diego Reader: What is your favorite subject on which to preach? Pastor David Montajes: ...

South Park Abbey’s Cause-Mo

The newest item on South Park Abbey’s menu, the Cause-Mo, is part of the Abbey’s effort to establish a cocktail presence at an establishment better known for its bonanza of Belgian potables. Since unveiling it ...

Our Redeemer Lutheran Church

Membership: 400 Pastor: David Weber Age: 56 Born: Hampton, Iowa Formation: University of Laverne, Laverne; Concordia Seminary, St. Louis Years Ordained: 9 years San Diego Reader: What is your favorite subject on which to preach? ...

The Chico Club’s Buccaneer

According to the bartenders at the Chico, no one knows who developed the Buccaneer. Perhaps it was previous owners or the original owners, who opened the bar in 1940 and named it after the oldest ...

King of Kings Lutheran Church

Membership: 325 Pastor: James Jerpseth Age: 51 Born: Graceville, Minnesota Formation: University of California-San Diego (Engineering); Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, Berkeley Years Ordained: 14 years San Diego Reader: What is your main concern as a ...

C-Level's Summer Solace

According to C-Level’s bar manager Jonathan Boyle, who developed the drink, the Summer Solace is both a backward look at the high season of sun and fun and a cool companion on that slow, leafy ...

El Cajon Wesleyan Church

Membership: 300 (and 130 Chaldean) Pastor: Steve Forsythe Age: 51 Born: Cape May, NJ Formation: New Brunswick Theological Seminary, New Brunswick, NJ; Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena Years Ordained: 26 San Diego Reader: How long do ...

Sweetwater River Church

Denomination: Assembly of God Membership: 125 Pastor: Frank Wooden Age: 53 Born: Berkeley Formation: Vanguard University, Costa Mesa; Bethany Bible College, Santa Cruz. Years Ordained: 24 San Diego Reader: How long do you spend writing ...

Henry’s Pub’s Chachi’s Poncho

The main author of Henry’s cocktail menu, bar manager Kyle Barnett, claims that the name for “Chachi’s Poncho” came out of nowhere one day while he and his gang of bartenders were experimenting with tequila-based ...

Tierrasanta Lutheran Church

Membership: 230 Pastor: Bohdan Vadis Age: 35 Born: Bemidji, Minn. Formation: Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, Minn.; Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, Berkeley Years Ordained: 8 San Diego Reader: How long do you spend writing your ...

Vista La Mesa Christian Church

Membership: 135 Pastor (interim): Marianna Kirwan Age: 70 Born: Chicago, Illinois Formation: Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley; Claremont School of Theology, Claremont Years Ordained: 32 San Diego Reader: How long do you spend writing your ...

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