Best Bartender


Savannah Freese, a bartender at Water Street Tavern, poses for a portrait on the rooftop patio of the Tavern. Kent, Ohio, Tuesday, April 16, 2019. Freese was voted Best Bartender in Kent in the 2019 Best of Kent Competition. 

Ella Abbott

Best of Kent 2019

Winner: Savannah Freese, Water Street Tavern

Savannah Freese has worked at Water Street Tavern for almost six years. Now that she’s close to graduating and leaving Kent, being voted Best Bartender couldn’t have come at a better time.

Freese said she feels grateful for her experiences at Water Street.

“I love it,” she said. “This has been, by far, the best job I’ve ever had, in all honesty. It’s just given me a true, wonderful family.”

Freese is no stranger to Best of Kent, as she’s been on the list multiple times during her time at Water Street. She works at the bar about five nights a week and still enjoys the work.

Water Street is known for signature cocktails like the “Golden Flash” and Fishbowls, but Freese said she’s a beer drinker through and through.

“We always have an awesome selection of IPAs, which I’m very much fond of,” she said.

But that’s not to say she doesn’t love mixing up cocktails for patrons at the bar.

“Every now and again, I do get to make an Old Fashioned,” Freese said. “I think it’s a lot of fun; it’s something that I can actually use my bartending experience for.”

This summer, Freese will leave the bar to work at Mojito Bay in Put-in-Bay.

Second: Alicia Wymer, Panini’s

Alicia Wymer tends the bar at Panini’s, a restaurant and bar in downtown Kent. The bar is known as a sports destination, especially during big games and playoffs.

Alicia is attentive and pleasant. She’s known to remember you, and even remembers your drink order, one voter said.

Third: Nolan Drinkard, Zephyr Pub

Nolan Drinkard is “one of a kind,” much like the bar where he serves drinks, said Patty Restaine, the general manager of Zephyr

“He cares about everybody, he has such a good heart,” Restaine said. “And, behind the bar, he’s just friendly to everybody and can hold a conversation with anybody.”