Best of Kent: Best bar

Jarett Theberge

First PlaceWater Street Tavern

College life is stressful and Dante Campbell, the general manager for the Water Street Tavern and Kent State graduate, knows that. That’s why he and his staff work hard to make the bar the best place to unwind in Kent.

With a $2 happy hour every weekday from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. and $1 Ladies Night on Tuesday, Water Street Tavern has drink specials that are hard to beat.

What sets the bar apart from its competitors is the consistent party vibe it provides for the guests who all want to let loose and have drinks with friends.

Campbell said an important part of making sure this happens is to stay attentive to what college students are into. If a new Drake song comes out on Wednesday, it’ll be playing at the bar on Saturday night.

A popular drink that groups of customers order are Water Street’s fish bowls. A drink meant to be shared with friends that contains 12oz. of multiple liquors serve inside a plastic fish bowl.

Variations include the Blue Raspberry, the UV, the Mongolian and the Golden Flash.

To keep the party vibe contagious, Campbell said that it starts with the staff and their relationships at the tavern.

“Everything we do here is family like, and that’s what keep people coming through the door. It keeps us growing. You see the staff having a good time and that intact makes you have a good time and enjoy yourself,” Campbell said.

Second PlaceRay’s Place


If you’ve gone to Ray’s to grab a burger or wings, you’ve also put yourself in one of the best places to grab a drink or two in Kent.

Ray’s Place has been putting smiles on people’s faces and drinks in their hands since 1937. Whether you’ve come to watch a Cleveland Indians’ game or meeting up after a show at the Kent Stage, Ray’s has the spirits and attitude to match your night out.

The big drink on everyone’s mind when they go to Ray’s is their famous Long Island.

On any given Saturday, manager Kayla Allen says the bar will crank out over 1,000 of these cocktails.

Third PlaceZephyr Pub

 Much like the how the name implies, Zephyr Pub takes its guest to a place high above the normalcies and stresses of work and college life.  With a well decorated and furnished outdoor patio and multi-level deck, Zephyr houses an environment unique to other bars and pubs downtown.

With a new $2 beer special every month and karaoke nights, the bar continues to give the people of Kent more reason to visit their favorite three-floor bar.

Jarett Theberge is a visual arts reporter. Contact him at [email protected].