By Carrie Wenninger | CNA Media Team
Sometimes things fall apart, only to come back together better than you ever could have imagined. Such was the case with the Annex, the event venue across the courtyard from Cruzroom’s main bar and restaurant at 2338 N.E. Alberta Street.
Ready to open a second location, owner Octavio ‘Tavi’ Cruz-Uribe had scouted the perfect space across town when the deal suddenly fell through, explained the Annex’s manager and head booker Jake Jarvis.
And that’s precisely when the spacious, empty building mere feet away became available.
A mechanic shop in the 1940s, Cruzroom is now a favorite gathering place known for its cocktails, innovative tacos and popular outdoor patio. The Annex served as car storage for the shop, then sat idle for decades. It has now found new life as a thriving 150-person capacity performance venue.
Open for a year, the Annex hosts a packed schedule of local and larger bands; dedicated nights for jazz and Brazilian music, comedy, trivia and open mic; Yoga and Tacos events; miscellaneous classes; and more.
Jake is also the bassist for the Portland band Fir. He and friends had a huge hand in the renovations and interior build-out. Rumor has it the space also boasts the only full-size pool table on Alberta Street, previously owned by former Portland Trail Blazers great Kevin Duckworth.
Crowds were initially slow to arrive, but things picked up last spring thanks to the increasingly popular open mic night, which draws in an eclectic mix of talent.
Angelyna Tropets of Honey Latte Presents assists with all-ages show bookings and the website and social media presence. Jake focuses on cultivating curated events and residencies in addition to managing the Annex.
Find the event schedule at Cruzroom.com/annex. Looking to book a show? Email CruzroomAnnex@gmail.com
“We want to be a positive part of the neighborhood, a space where people can come, relax and be safe while enjoying a variety of shows,” Jake emphasized.
“We welcome all people and we absolutely do not tolerate any sort of discrimination.”
Not just about skinny jeans, band t-shirts and flannels, the Annex’s wideranging offerings make it clear there’s something here for everyone. The menu is the same as Cruzroom’s, including many vegan and gluten-free options, the patio is smoker-friendly, and all ages are welcome until 10 p.m.
Carrie Wenninger lives on 29th Avenue in Concordia. She is a freelance writer, a mom, a world traveler and a small business marketing consultant. Contact her at WurdGurl@gmail.com.