In 1995, I was going out on the street with a new minister, and we were checking out the 611 Tavern. It was what we called a “mixed” bar, meaning it welcomed both gay and straight drinkers. Beer, wine, pool tables, pull tabs, and dark inside. It’s long gone.

My buddy and I were soon being harassed by an agitated and very drunk Hispanic guy. I’m not sure if he was mad because a couple of priests were in the bar, or if he thought we were gay, or what. But he kept yelling at us in Spanish and waving his arms and the rest of the bar tried to get him to simmer down. Finally, the bartender had enough and 86ed him.  {For more on the term “86”}

My buddy and I hung out for a while, drinking diet cokes or something like that, talking with any patrons that wanted to talk.  As we left the bar, there was the angry Hispanic guy. He yelled at us as we got into my car, and gave it a couple of solid kicks in the door as we drove off. Really more noise than a scary situation.

One maxim came out of it though. “When doing street ministry, don’t park right in front of the bar.”