There’s a quaint 19th-century Methodist church nestled in the charming town of Bryan, Ohio, that’s becoming a hotspot road trip destination. With its bell tower, antique organ, stained glass windows, and annual Holiday Church services, it might seem like a typical church at first glance. Yet, as soon as you step inside, you’ll realize Father John’s is something way more than that.
“Upon arrival I knew that this was going to be an epic dinner. Eclectic. Unique. Like something I had never seen before in America. I felt like I was back in Germany!” one Facebook post reads.
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What sets this church apart is the hidden gem in its basement: a microbrewery and restaurant that offers classic yet upscale dishes, like Bavarian pretzels, succulent mussel pots, and surf & turf —all accompanied by flights of their own handcrafted beers, ciders, and the bourbon made at their offsite distillery.
People come for the food and beer, but they stay for the atmosphere. The dining area has tables named “The King’s Table” and “Queen’s Table,” with long tables surrounded by stained glass and low chandeliers. For a more laid-back experience, there’s “The Camel’s Room,” a cozy spot inspired by Moroccan culture where guests can kick off their shoes and recline on floor pillows. It’s rumored that the Cardinal Room is haunted, too, if that’s the spot you’d want to make your reservation. But beware: according to a post on Father John’s Facebook page, visitors have shared eerie encounters of whispers and creepy music.
Father John’s outdoor space transports visitors to what looks like Germany’s Oktoberfest, with a crackling fire pit, stools crafted from tree stumps, and rustic communal tables.
Minds might wonder how a church ended up turning into a microbrewery. Their Facebook page explains, “Back in 2011, while John Trippy deliberated what to do with an abandoned church in his hometown of Bryan, Ohio, he followed the path of Saint Francis of Assisi through Italy. Inspired by the words of the ecumenically-minded saint to ‘First do what is necessary, then do what is possible, and soon you will be doing the impossible,’ John rebuilt and repurposed the church into Father John’s.”
While Bryan, OH may be a bit of a drive—approximately two and a half hours from Downtown Columbus—the journey seems undoubtedly worthwhile. And if you happen to have a little too much fun or decide to make a day trip into an overnight stay, there’s an on-site 1800s-themed bed & breakfast located in a renovated 1800’s parsonage right next to the church, complete with crucifix-adorned room keys and a bedside Bible on each nightstand.
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