Annex Lounge, located at Harry and Woodlawn, has been a Wichita institution since 1958, and not much has changed at the simple watering hole over the years. Wood paneling, vinyl, Formica, and classic beer signage make this a distinctive place to visit for cheap domestic beer and a game of shuffleboard.
The bar has new owners, who have added television sets, Internet, and more beer options. But Annex Lounge still remains the kind of neighborhood bar where you can go have a tallboy at noon (or perhaps earlier) without anyone questioning your priorities.
The Annex is best known for its unique Inside Out Burger ($7), and while there are other menu options including sandwiches, regular burgers, and brats, the Inside Out is really the only way to go. On our visit, my wife and I each ordered the single patty version, one with bagged potato chips and the other with potato salad. Cottage cheese was the other side option for anyone who thinks that would pair well with a greasy burger.
The magic of the Inside Out comes from a bun that is liberally doused with butter on both sides and toasted. Two slices of cheese are added, and the whole thing is assembled with the buns inverted, making some sort of hamburger/grilled cheese love child. The overcooked third-pound hamburger patty itself was not very impressive, but combined with the expertly toasted bun, gooey cheese and grilled onions, it left me wanting another one in the not-too-distant future. The classic potato salad was good and a nice accompaniment to the burger.
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The Annex is a no-frills bar with friendly clientele and service. It serves up one of the more unusual burgers in town and should be a definite stop for anyone doing a hamburger tour of Wichita.
Ratings reflect the critic’s judgment of the food, service and atmosphere in relation to the price. If you would like to nominate a restaurant to be reviewed, call 316-268-6327.
Where: 6305 E. Harry, 316-684-9851
Hours: 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays; 10 a.m. to midnight Fridays and Saturdays
Type of food: Burgers, bar food
Age limit: Open to ages 21 and older