The first glimpse inside The Annex, a new bar in downtown Corpus Christi, isn’t unlike first stepping into someone’s home and seeing their collected memories and the little items that spark joy. No strangers to the charm of North Chaparral, sisters Caitlin and Kallia Shook set up shop in April 2023 — just a short walk away from Shook Enterprises, their father Steven Shook’s auto repair shop that has called downtown home since 1976.
“We knew we wanted a place that was comfortable, reasonably priced and overall a curated experience,” Caitlin said. “This place literally looks like her living room,” Kallia remarked, noting the deep green, gold and black accents that make up the space. “I always wanted someone to be able to walk in and grab a seat anywhere,” Caitlin said.
The bar top spans an impressive 42 feet, providing ample room for large parties and patrons in search of personal drinking space alike. Caitlin described her vision of setting up a ramp and landing strip for a vintage Evel Knievel figurine to fly across the bar’s length and mark the start of happy hour. This whimsy and nostalgia, too, are components woven into the more stylish aspects of The Annex. A bright red 1953 Moto Guzzi Falcone, courtesy of their father, serves as the bar’s centerpiece, while two paintings by their mother, Kyra — whom Kallia described as a “Jackie of all trades” — bring color to the back walls. “Everyone in our family had a piece in this process; it was like barn raising,” Caitlin joked.
Much like the physical space and ambiance that make up The Annex, the menu is a product of careful curation mingled with a life well lived. One signature cocktail, The Amelia Island Ritz, draws its name and inspiration from the annual car show on Amelia Island off the coast of Florida, where Caitlin recalls splitting her time between vintage Alfa Romeos and cocktails at the Ritz-Carlton. The Amelia marries classic bubbly notes of a French 75, eschewing the glitz of a gin or cognac in favor of the brighter tequila, but preserving the glamor via a champagne flute and a lemon twist.
Agavero liqueur plays a notable role behind the scenes, bringing a more complex citrus profile to several signature cocktails in place of its more saccharine-sweet counterpart, Cointreau. A similar departure from tradition, the Tu Madre Margarita could satiate anyone in need of a standard margarita, featuring a less common flair of soda water and the aforementioned star, Agavero.
Each cocktail and trimming in the place evokes a particular reminiscence — a man singing crowd favorites at a bar in Havana, walking around downtown as kids, cross-country road trips — contributing to the Shooks’ goal of helping patrons cultivate their own memories. “Having a gathering space had always been a dream of ours,” Caitlin said. “I like to make experiences, and those are the things that keep people coming back.”
312 S Chaparral St | @the_annex_cctx