The Annex Lounge is one of those Wichita institutions that many people have driven by all their lives, but never bother to or had the courage to venture inside. Located at Woodlawn and Harry, The Annex is your stereotypical neighborhood bar. If one was looking for an authentic dive bar experience this would be the place. It is the Bruce Springsteen of bars, where the locals gather for cheap domestic beer and a unique burger.
First off, this is an over 21 establishment, so the kids will have to wait until they are of legal age to experience The Annex. Inside you will find a small bar and a few tables on either side. The interior is clean, but most of the fixtures and furniture probably haven’t been updated in the last 25 years, which is the way you want it to be in a place like this. Trendy faux marble tables and giant flat screen TVs would really ruin the mood. They do have pool and shuffle board tables for entertainment.
The menu is pretty small at the Annex. If you are looking for anything besides a burger you are pretty much out of luck. Besides the traditional single and double, they offer an intriguing one called the Inside Out Burger. My friend and I both went with this option with everything on it including onions, ketchup, and mustard. Within a few minutes we discovered that the Inside Out consisted of a regular meat disk with an inverted bun that had been slathered with butter and grilled. It was a simple manipulation of the bun, but it proved to be rather transcendental. The patty itself was of decent size for a single, although next time a double will be in order. The meat was flavorful and juicy enough despite being well done. The onions, cheese, and buttery bun helped to make this one of the best dive bar burgers I have had to date. While the side of chips was none too exciting, for less than $6 dollars I wasn’t complaining.
The Annex is first and foremost a drinking establishment and a blue collar one at that. So craft beer snobs who can’t enjoy a domestic brew every now and again should stay away. The good news for all you hipsters is that PBR pounders are available at a reasonable price.
I think too many people have the notion that dive bars are full of seedy regulars and surly barmaids, but that is not the case here. The waitresses were friendly and welcoming, while the patrons appeared to be fairly normal human beings. So if it’s no frills beer and burgers you are in the mood for then The Annex Lounge should be on your list.