In June, my friend and I drove up to Flagstaff to get a reprieve from the heat. It had been many years since I got to spend much time up north, and Flagstaff is a great city to check out if you haven’t done so already. It’s a college town, home to Northern Arizona University. I’ve always loved the vibe of this city because it’s a cool mixture of old and new architecture with a ton of greenery and nature to admire. Living in the desert for as long as I have, you really do appreciate the smell of pine trees. Lush greenery of any sort is a novelty in Phoenix.
One of the things that I did notice, however, was that there weren’t many coffee shops near the university. In fact, I was a little surprised at the number of stores that were closed or going out of business. The area is still worth checking out, but I was sad to see some of my favorite boutiques go out of business. Getting back to the coffee however, there was Starbucks, but I was looking for a coffee shop unique to the area. At one point, my friend and I decided to cross the train tracks. I was determined to find a coffee shop to review. One of the first places we stumbled upon was Annex. Technically, this place is a cocktail lounge and eatery, but it did have a full coffee bar and so I’m making an exception here.
The inside of the building was spacious, with clean lines, minimalist style furniture, and an industrial feel that still felt inviting. The layout was also intelligent. There was plenty of seating without feeling crowded. The only comment I could add about the seating is that if you sit at the stainless steel tables with the attached metal stools, your bum is probably going to hurt after a while. Mine did. Fortunately, there are other places to sit, so if you intend to hang out, choose something with some padding. My friend and I both ordered lattes and chocolate peanut butter cups. The lattes, which were served in oversized white saucers, were exceptional and the peanut butter cups were good as well. Just before I left, I bought my mother a raspberry pastry, which she said was very good even though she’s not the biggest fan of fruity pastries. The prices were reasonable and pretty typical of most coffee shops. The portion sizes were more than generous.
Every one who worked there was very kind and professional. My friend and I felt extremely relaxed spending time in the cafe. Since it was late in the afternoon, between lunch and dinner, there weren’t a lot of people, but I’m curious to know what it’s like during the afternoon and evening rush. Though I didn’t have the opportunity to check out their lunch/dinner menu, I think I can say with some confidence that they probably serve a good meal. Though there are more coffee shops in the area, Annex is a good place to visit. I’m surprised it’s taken me this long to check out this part of Downtown Flagstaff (also referred to as the Railroad District) that’s on the other side of the train tracks. I’ve always either went hiking or hung out near the university. In addition to finding Annex, however, I saw that this was the place where people hang out. There were coffee shops, boutiques, and thrift stores. The feel of this area was completely laid back, and in some ways reminded me of Tempe, with its combination of industrial and bungalow style construction.
I love Flagstaff because there is so much to do there and the weather is considerably nicer than in Phoenix. I highly recommend Annex as a place to stop for coffee, drinks, or food. It was so good, that if I weren’t running a blog about coffee shops, I would return to this café in a heart beat. However, considering all the cool places to try, I will hopefully return with another review of a cool coffee shop from Flagstaff. Cheers, Annex. You deserve it. Bean count: 8/10