4300 Stearns St. (corner of Stearns and Lakewood, North of Traffic Circle)
(562) 597-0560 9AM-2AM
The Annex is a dive among dives. This place is a true Long Beach dive bar, and it is one of the reasons that I love this city so much. If you have never been, let me set the atmosphere for you. The bar is located on the corner of Lakewood Blvd. and Stearns. The neon sign has been repaired, so if you know what you are looking for (“BEER”), you should have no problems finding the place. No parking lot, so stick your car on the street and prepare to fall in love. The door is usually open; don’t be deterred by the black curtain that is blocking outsiders from looking in. As you walk through the doorway, your eyes will adjust to the low light and you will see a little beer bar that several of us have called home from time to time.
The Annex is small and old, just the way I like it. You will first notice the long bar top that extends the length of the room. On one side there are barstools, and on the other a row of red booths. The booths are closely positioned next to one of the best shuffleboards in town. If you don’t know how to play then feel free to learn, but it may cost you a chip good for one beer. The jukebox is full of good music, and beer is cold and served in a frosted glass no matter what size you pick.
The Annex is a beer only establishment. They do not serve anything hard or girly, so don’t ask. You can choose from a few different bottled beers, but it is what is on tap that makes this place great: Pabst Blue Ribbon. Now, they do serve other beers such as Miller, Miller Lite, Coors, Coors Light, Smithwicks, and Stella, but really the only three letters you need to know are PBR. When you order your PBR remember that you have three choices in size. You can get a pint, a small schooner, or the LARGE. A large schooner is a 32oz goblet of beer that comes straight out of a freezer, so your first sip is nothing but frosty frothy goodness.
After you order your first beer, take a look around at all the cool stuff on the walls. A handmade shuffleboard tournament poster. Old pictures of the regulars. A musty old football helmet from back in the day when Long Beach State still fielded a team. Additionally, several televisions are available to watch the big game. The bartenders are great; Angela is my favorite. I have been drinking with her since I was a pledge, and she is a wonderful person so feel free to chat her up.
If you have never been to the Annex, or if you just need to make it back, do it soon. You will be happy that you did. Pull up a bar stool, drink down your 2-? Large PBR’s, order yourself some Corn Nuts, Hot Nuts, or a pickled egg (if they have them), and then call a cab. I hope to see you there!
Until next time, keep eating (and drinking) Long Beach,