Pastor holds church services at Williamsburg dive Trash Bar

The Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

At this church service, a disco ball spins in the corner, the pews were once the back seats in vans, and you can get a PBR and a shot for just $5.

Pastor Michael Turrigiano of the North Brooklyn Vineyard Church shares the word every Sunday evening in Trash Bar on Grand Street, turning the typically raucous Williamsburg night spot into a gathering place for those who seek spirituality — alongside spirits.

“There’s a growing population of people who are open to the answers of life and are spiritually hungry, but who would never walk through the doors of a traditional church,” said Turrigiano, whose church uses the bar because it lacks a brick-and-mortar house of worship. “There is a negative stereotype around Christianity that prevents people from seeing Jesus. We are trying to overcome that.”

Turrigiano hopes his taproom sermons make Christianity more accessible — meaning he’s not big on judgment or rules. He doesn’t mind if worshippers show up in jeans or covered with tattoos, he welcomes gay couples in his flock, and he hopes that everyone sticks around for some beers when the service is over.

“Jesus was criticized for hanging out with the wrong people,” said Turrigiano, who has preached at the watering hole for more than six years. “We’re just following in his footsteps.”

Jesus did of course turn water into wine.

Becky Wulf, a regular congregant, says Trash Bar was the first church where she has ever felt comfortable.

“It’s less fraught with stereotypical Christian culture,” said the 43-year-old, who lives in South Williamsburg. “It’s about experiencing god. And Mike doesn’t give us rules, he give us tips. He says ‘If it works, do it. If it doesn’t, don’t.’ ”

During the services, which start at 6 pm, the North Brooklyn Vineyard pays bartenders to staff both the back bar, where the services are held, and the larger front room. The church tends to draw between 10 and 40 visitors, depending on the weekend.

“There is no business anyway on Sunday that early, so it works out for everyone,” said Trash Bar owner Aaron Pierce. “It’s nice to have them here. They’re really friendly people.”

Services at Trash Bar are 21 and up, but Turrigiano delivers an earlier, more family-oriented Sunday sermon at 11 a.m. at P.S. 132.

Updated 5:37 pm, July 9, 2018
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

Reasonable discourse

John Wasserman from Windsor Terrace says:
Perhaps they will serve tator tots for communion. Please excuse the suggestion, but my son, Edgar, has a band that has played "gags" there and he said they had the tots there for free. Pardon the interuption.
Nov. 28, 2012, 10:40 am
Mickey Shea from Greenpoint says:
‘If it works, do it. If it doesn’t, don’t.’ ”
That's ——ing DEEP, man....
Nov. 28, 2012, 2:38 pm
Nicole Davis from Greenpoint says:
Great story! We covered this in depth on Brooklyn Based:
Nov. 28, 2012, 3:32 pm
Juan from Gowanus says:
No wonder it was so familiar.
Nov. 28, 2012, 4:16 pm
John Shades from Enniskillen says:
NBV and the Turrigiano's rock!
Nov. 30, 2012, 1:10 pm

Comments closed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Keep it local!

Stay in touch with your community. Subscribe to our free newsletter: