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The independent news website of The Kent Stater & TV2


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BOK ’24: Best bar

FIRST: Zephyr Pub

Located at 106 W. Main St., Zephyr Pub is a two-story bar known for its live music — but the bar brings much more according to some community members.

Troy Martin, a Kent State graduate and manager at Taco Tontos restaurant downtown, said Zephyr Pub is his favorite bar in Kent.

Zephyr’s bustles with business on March 27, 2024 (Cadie Pierce )

“I like the atmosphere, the kind of artsy folk that come here and the dingy lighting,” he said.

Martin also said he liked the relationship the pub built with the community, especially local bands and artists.

“A big thing for me is the live music,” he said. “I like the community that they’ve built here around the music and the incorporating of visual arts.”

General manager Josh Sed said Zephyr Pub attracts more than just college students — and the bar serves a wide variety of people in the area.

“We get a lot of the service industry people that are in town,” he said. “A lot of locals, the older crowd, the people in their 40s and 50s. You see a lot of professors.”

Sed added the most popular drink the bar serves is Pabst Blue Ribbon.

Zephyr’s shares a patio with the Mexican restaurant Taco Tontos, which Sed feels makes up for the pub’s lack of kitchen.

“Definitely kicks a lot of ass in the summertime,” he said. “But you don’t have to leave the patio to go get food.”

Sed said the bar draws in one of the most diverse crowds in the Kent area.

“We want to be an inclusive place,” he said. “If you want to come hang out, you’ll feel good and comfortable about coming to our place.”

Zephyr Pub can be reached at 330-678-4848.

SECOND: Ray’s Place

At Ray’s Place, they make all drinks by hand. 

“Other bars use a mix and we don’t use a mix,” Manager Shawn Mullins said. “It’s that kind of better quality and at the same time our prices are a little bit cheaper than other bars as well.”

Ray’s Place at 135 Franklin Street in downtown Kent serves lunch and dinner, along with drinks on March 22, 2024 (Cadie Pierce)

Mullins said the bar’s most popular drink is its Long Island iced tea, which is sold for $4.75. The drink is a mix of vodka, gin, rum, triple sec, sour mix and a splash of Coca-Cola.

Kent residents tend to eat at Ray’s, which features options ranging from stir-fry to meatloaf for lunch and dinner services, according to Mullins.

“You’re always going to have college kids and they rotate as they graduate and as others turn 21,” he said. “So you always have a rotating crowd late night.”

Senior fashion merchandising major Katie Glenn said her favorite drink at Ray’s Place is its vodka cranberry.

“It’s a good place to start the night and have good food as well as good drinks,” she says. “Strong drinks,” she added.

Glenn said the best day to visit Ray’s Place, located at 135 Franklin Ave. in downtown Kent, is on a Friday or Saturday when its second-floor bar opens.

Ray’s Place can be contacted at 330-673-2233.

THIRD: Bar Lucci

Bar Lucci is one of the youngest bars in Kent, having opened its doors at 257 N. Water St. downtown, in July 2022.

Owner Jon Finley said the bar prides itself on having less expensive drinks than other bars.

“We pour a drink stiffer than anybody in town,” he said. “They’re like magic.”

Finley said the bar’s most popular drink is the vodka Red Bull.

A busy game night at Bar Lucci on March 27, 2024 (Cadie Pierce)

“We’re about to open a second floor,” he said. “We’re gonna have pizza shop up there.”

Finley added that the Kent State Ski and Snowboard Club frequently hosts parties at the bar.

Senior applied communications major Gianni Weaver, who is president of the Ski and Snowboarding club, said Bar Lucci is the best place for the club to host parties.

“We can rent out the space for parties and events that we do,” he said. “It’s cheap and it’s local.”

Weaver said Bar Lucci is much safer than other bars, and they do not have to worry about fights breaking out.

Senior aeronautical systems engineering technology major Aiden Mantenieks said his favorite drink at the bar is a Long Drink, a Finnish gin and fruit sparkling beverage.

“You got a lot of friendly people in here,” he said. “The bartenders are amazing. The owner, great guy.”

Michael Neenan is a beat reporter. Contact him at [email protected]

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About the Contributors
Michael Neenan, General Assignment Reporter
Michael is a senior journalism major with a public relations minor. He works as a reporter, covering topics from sports to university administration. Contact him at [email protected]
Cadie Pierce, Photographer
Cadie Pierce (she/they) is a spring 2024 Bachelor of Integrative Studies graduate and was a Fall 2023 and Spring 2024 staff photographer for KentWired/Kent Stater. Cadie can be reached at [email protected].

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