TOWNSEND, Tenn. — Some people go to church to worship, but at one chapel in Townsend, you can go there for a drink.
Walk through the doors of The Townsend Abbey and you'll see what looks like a wedding chapel.
"My husband's dad, he got married here about 16 years ago or so," said Townsend local Adara Sellers.
But the pews are turned sideways now and have table in between them. There's a football game playing on the TV on the wall.
This ain't a chapel anymore.
"Now years later it's like appropriate for dad because he's got a bar where he got married at," said Sellers.
The Abbey is now a taproom serving the people who live in and visit Townsend.
Owner Steve Fillmore reads this quote to justify this transformation: "Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
Fillmore and his wife Janice own The Abbey.
The wedding chapel turned European-style pub on the Little River in Townsend.
"We built [rafters] to make it seem more abbey-ish and we use the stage for music," said Fillmore.
The Fillmores have owned the building for 15 years, operating it as a wedding chapel, but it was time for a change of scenery.
"It's way better than a wedding chapel. It's more fun," said Fillmore.
He loves craft beer, and wanted a place people could come for a drink or a meal.
In the year they've been open, The Abbey served locals, visitors, and even people tubing on the river
"We occasionally serve wet people," said Fillmore.
People in Townsend are fans of this space's transformation.
"It's very unique especially for Townsend," said Sellers. "Townsend has nothing like this."
Some people still use it as a wedding chapel.
"Since we've opened we've done three or four [weddings]," said Fillmore.
His goal for beer is to offer local beer that visitors can't get anywhere else in the country.
Overall, Fillmore hopes The Abbey serves as a place for people to come relax, get a beer, get married, and have a good time.
The building was built as a wedding chapel not a church, but there are two old churches in Knoxville taking on new personas.
One on Sutherland will soon be a coffee shop and a church complex in South Knoxville has plans for a brewery, ice cream shop, lofts and more.