A little more than three years ago, Nick Williams was baking at Biff’s Bagels until Tinderbox Kitchen and Annex Cocktail Lounge owner Kevin Heinonen caught sight of his work ethic and offered him a job. After ascending the ranks at Annex, Williams is now co-owner of the Southside establishment.
Tinderbox GM Jeremy Lane and Rendezvous’ Corey O’Donnell taught him the basics, and Williams has built an arsenal of technique-driven cocktails augmenting fresh ingredients including juices and house-made tinctures and infusions like beet-infused and grilled pineapple mescal, compounding balanced flavor profiles.
With each imaginative recipe, Williams says he works to make Flagstaff more of a mecca for craft cocktails, drawing people from even Los Angeles.
“I think we have a nice, personal small-town feel that really draws people in,” Williams adds of Flagstaff’s potential. “One of my big things about this bar is to make it less pretentious, more open and like a Cheers sort of place where they’re very comfortable and they can get everything that they want, consistent quality and very technically sound. We just keep on trying to evolve.”