Anjou in East Walnut Hills Uses Fruit, Veggies and Rose-Shaped Ice Cubes in its Colorful Cocktails
Located in a cozy nook on Woodburn Avenue, formerly housing Woodburn Dry Cleaners, Anjou comes to us from Chris Wolfe, Andy Smith and Brad Lauck. Pre-pandemic, the trio had a different project in the works in Walnut Hills proper. When Urban Sites contacted them about the Woodburn space, they knew it had potential.
“We wanted to do something different than your average cocktail bar,” says Wolfe, whose history in the service industry includes stints with Sotto, Top Golf and Dewey’s. “We try to make our drinks approachable. The big thing we look for is familiar flavors introduced in a different way.”
Anjou’s cocktail menu lives up to that credo. The names are clever, the ingredients are interesting and, yes, they’re often familiar. What’s more, the whole thing seems fun. Cocktail bars can feel so forced sometimes, hamstrung by a theme or a concept. Anjou has all of the charm with none of the pretension. It does have a broad conceptual underpinning: the bar’s name comes from Margaret of Anjou, wife of King Henry VI.
“The building we’re in is called ‘The Henry,’” Wolfe says. “Henry VI at one point went crazy, so during that time Margaret ruled all of England and parts of France.”
The pair were central figures in the Wars of the Roses, an uprising against Henry’s reign in the 15th Century. Margaret led armies to retrieve Henry after his capture by Richard of York. Anjou’s decor subtly calls to mind powerful women, like Margaret herself. The bathroom’s wallpaper features black line drawings of confident nude women, and there’s a minimalist floral component throughout the bar, with large grayscale flower wallpaper adorning the main wall and several colorful floral portraits.
“We want it to be a sexy spot,” Wolfe says. “They’re sexy women, but they also have this power about them.”
The floral motif extends to several of the drinks, if not overtly — though several of them have botanical incorporations — then certainly at least in color and composition. The She-Wolf is a delightful concoction, featuring Old Tom Gin and pear, ginger and elderflower liqueurs. It is a vivid purple color and comes served in a tumbler with a rose-shaped ice cube.
Anjou, 2804 Woodburn Ave., East Walnut Hills. More info: anjoucinci.com.| Photos by Hailey Bollinger