The Lost Abbey finds new home at The Church in East Village
At first glance, The Lost Abbey’s newest location doesn’t look like traditional tasting room.
“It’s not a ubiquitous building (in downtown),” Tomme Arthur, co-founder of The Lost Abbey, said over a pint. “It’s not a glass storefront. It has charm, it has character, it has depth — and it has great storytelling capacity.”
Formerly a Mexican Presbyterian Church, the modest building — now home to The Church by The Lost Abbey — was originally built in 1906. Inside the modest structure lies a L-shaped bar and ample seating constructed of dark hardwood, including galley-style tables with pew-like benches. There are two religious statues from Italy, plus arched windows, artistic tapestries, and a one-of-a-kind stained glass piece that sparkles above the tasting room’s 31 tap handles.
Although its interior looks authentic, Arthur said “there is not a single relic that was part of the original church.” Before the historic landmark was relocated and restored in 2015, it had been abandoned and vandalized for years. So when the The Lost Abbey team signed on as a tenant, they were devout in re-creating the church look.
After a few delays, The Church started pouring beers in December 2021. However, the tasting room — which is only a five-minute walk from Petco Park — has been running on a modified schedule while waiting on its food license ... and the start of baseball season.
Now with its approved food permit in hand — and the San Diego Padres home opener quickly approaching — The Lost Abbey is ready for its second round of celebrations. An official grand opening weekend kicked off Thursday, and a large party is scheduled for Saturday.
The Church will be home to the first kitchen for The Lost Abbey, which also operates tasting rooms in San Marcos and Cardiff. They’ll be serving up Mexican cuisine, including street tacos, burritos, salads and starters. (Update: While the brewery was planning on unveiling its food offerings this weekend, they currently do not have enough employees to operate the kitchen due to COVID-19 staffing issues. Food will not be served at the four-day event, but the kitchen is expected to open “very soon.”)
Originally, the grand opening celebration was intended to line up with the Padres’ home opener — but that anticipated day for sports lovers has been pushed back to April 14. However, Arthur said that they are excited to welcome baseball fans to The Church once the season starts, and envision its large patio as a tailgating alternative on game days before the first pitch is thrown.
And while baseball, food and aesthetics are important elements of The Lost Abbey’s newest location, rest assured that The Church has not forgotten about the most sacred offering of all: the beer.
“This is the biggest tap tower we have,” Arthur said, adding that all five brands The Lost Abbey produces are represented on The Church’s beer menu. “We’re trying to run a wide range of flavors. I think our tap list is exceptional relative to this area (in East Village).”
“We make all of the beer (in San Marcos), so we get to control the way that the board looks and feels,” Arthur continued. “We can pull rare beer in and out ... in general, there’s not a lot of breweries that have a tasting room that have that level of variety.”
The Church by The Lost Abbey is located at 1313 J St. in East Village. For details on the grand opening, as well as a list of updated hours, visit lostabbey.com.
1:51 p.m. April 1, 2022: Since this story was published, The Lost Abbey changed its plans for the grand opening weekend. This story has been updated to reflect the brewery’s new plans.
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