Every Cocktail is a Story
The story of the Annex Cocktail Lounge is one of growth and adaptation. In 2009, Founder Kevin Heinonen opened the Tinderbox Kitchen, a fine dining establishment in the Southside neighborhood of Downtown Flagstaff, and people told him he was crazy. The neighborhood had been known historically for its brothels, and more recently for its ever-present homeless population. What can we say though, Kevin is nothing if not tenacious. His restaurant began to thrive almost immediately, to the point that we were turning people away on random Tuesday nights. As usual, Kevin saw this challenge as an opportunity.
He "Annexed" the abandoned property immediately to the south of the Tinderbox Kitchen, and set out to build a Cocktail Lounge where "he and his father would be comfortable to sit and enjoy a scotch while waiting for their table at the Tinderbox".
Well, as things tend to do, the Annex began to take on its own identity, and when a young aspiring restauranteur named Nick Williams joined the team in 2013, he set out to turn the Annex into the best Cocktail Lounge in the state. In 2018, he won "Cocktail of the Year" from Restaurant Hospitality magazine, and the Annex has never looked back. Today, Nick is one of the owners of THAT Place Projects Hospitality group, (an acronym for Tourist Home, Annex, & Tinderbox, our three current concepts), and he has passed the drink creation onto his incredible team. To say the least, the cocktails have never been better!
In honor of the upcoming Centennial Anniversary of the construction of the Basque Handball court built by Jesus Garcia and his family of sheep herders, the Annex Cocktail Lounge is doubling down on the history of our magnificent outdoor patio. The Basque people of Spain emigrated to the Southwestern United States at the end of the 19th century in search of opportunity and gold. They brought with them rich pastoral traditions that heavily influenced their culinary trends. Here at the Annex, we are interested in telling the story of these unique people who shaped the landscape around us in Flagstaff, Arizona. Chef Mike Schmitz and his team have crafted a menu that honors the traditions of the Basque through ingredients, spices, flavors, and even presentation.