Tequila Sunrise started out very small

Tequila Sunrise started out very small

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Former bar owner JoAnn Hay Beale, who died in 2000, is credited with starting the Tequila Sunrise tradition in the late 1960s at a little watering hole called the Latin Quarter on the northwest corner of what is now South San Francisco Street and East Butler Avenue.

Joan Brundige-Baker, a longtime Flagstaff resident and who started attending Northern Arizona University in 1969, said older students would often end up at “the LQ” early on the Saturday of NAU’s homecoming game after staying up all night to build floats for the homecoming parade. Beale started serving tequila to those students while they waited for the parade to begin.

“She started what’s now called Tequila Sunrise for her regular patrons, which were mostly maintenance guys and graduate students,” Brundige-Baker said. “She would put up a big fence in her parking lot and fence them in.”

In those days, Brundige-Baker said, students had to go off campus to drink alcohol and any student caught making trouble in town because they were too intoxicated would get a personalized lecture from the dean of students.

She said Tequila Sunrise remained a quiet, one-bar affair in the Southside neighborhood until bigger bars started moving into downtown Flagstaff about 25 years ago. Since then, the bars near Aspen Avenue and North Leroux Street have been a focal point for Tequila Sunrise activities.

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