Annex closed on September 12th, 2009, with the final ‘Ruff Club’ party. Word is that it will be turned into a sports bar.
Annex is located on 152 Orchard Street, Manhattan, between Stanton and Rivington Streets. It lays just one block as venues Cake Shop, Piano’s, and Living Room (exactly one block west of Cake Shop, which is at 152 Ludlow), around the corner from Arlene’s Grocery, and within the circle of venues in the Bowery (roughly between Houston, A, Delancey Street, and Bowery), which includes those four, Mercury Lounge, Bowery Ballroom, Crash Mansion, Rockwood Music Hall and others.
The outdoor face of Annex is relatively non-descript, and can be relatively easy to miss. Past the entrance is a long hall that leads to the bar; the stage itself is to the back-left of the inner entrance. The stage floor is quite long and thin, and snakes between the bar, the soundboard, and the inner entrance before reaching the relatively high stage, with a built-in bench on the house-right. There are stairs behind the soundboard (which is directly opposite the bar & inner entrance) leading to a small balcony, and a seated area at the back. There is also a bathroom back there, but the lock doesn’t work – there is another bathroom down a set of stairs right next to the ground floor bathroom.
Like the other venues right nearby on Stanton and Ludlow, Annex is one of a group of low-end venues in the Bowery – small, lesser facilities, low price, cheap drinks, etc. Many nights it is simply a nightclub, and those acts that do play there occupy the lower end of the touring spectrum, but some can be up-and-coming new groups, especially Thursday’s ‘Club NME’ nights. The poor layout of the stage floor leaves much to be desired, but the high stage & ceiling make the acts visible further in the back than in most other low-level Bowery haunts (especially basement venues), and, along with the balcony, the place certainly has a higher capacity. The sound system is fair-to-middling, but they can definitely overuse the smoke machine if given the chance. Not an ideal spot to see even a low-level band, but maybe your last chance to see them in a low-level place.
152 Orchard Street (Between Stanton and Rivington Streets)
F or V to 2nd Avenue – walk 1 block east to First Avenue/Allen Street, 1 block more east on South side of Houston, 1 & 1/2 blocks south on East side of Orchard
J or M to Delancey/Essex – walk 2 blocks west on North side of Delancey, 1 & 1/2 blocks north on East side of Orchard