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Congregation, which is part of a mini chain of beer bars with other “chapters” in Azusa and Pasadena, has a church theme; but it’s done with just enough tongue-in-cheekiness it bypasses blasphemy and becomes nothing more than good-natured satire. A “collection plate” next to the register is actually the tip jar. Happy Hours are called “Mass,” with a late-night one called “Midnight Mass.” And flitting about the room in fetishistic Catholic-schoolgirl uniforms with pleated skirts hitched up scandalously far above the knee are servers who’ll offer to top off your soda. But if it’s water you want, you get it yourself at a “Holy Water” station. Religious kidding aside, Congregation is all business everywhere else. It’s downright liturgical in charging only $7 to $8 for the holy trinity of foods that go well with beer: sausage sandwiches, burgers and pizza. This place understands that people who are willing to queue up to order food in a bar like this aren’t interested in anything fancier than what they can hold in their hands or eat with their fingers.

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