Happy hour loses allure for KSU students

Samantha Ickes

For the stereotypical broke college student, Friday night drinks with friends can put a dent in a student’s wallet. With mixed drinks ranging between $5 and $8, it can be easy to rack up a tab.

Many local bars offer happy hours to lure in those looking to save a few bucks on a beer or cocktail. Starting the evening off during happy hour can save students the cost of a surprisingly high bill.

Kent State junior English major Elyse Taylor said she enjoys unwinding after a long day with her boyfriend, and sometimes her family, at the Water Street Tavern.

“I like the Water Street Tavern because they have happy hour from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.,” Taylor said. “Lots of drinks are only $2, and it’s great. They also have live music every (week)night.”

Taylor also said she likes attending happy hour because the crowds aren’t as large as they are later in the evening. She said most college students prefer to go out later in the evening.

“I think it’s also cost effective because it’s cheaper to drink more,” she said.

Mike Beder, owner of Water Street Tavern, said the establishment offers more than 40 brands for shots, cocktails, draft beer and bottled beer for $2 each during happy hour. During happy hour, he said the tavern sees a “fair amount” of college students.

“We’ll see them having drinks with their dinners at Mr. Zub’s, coming in groups after a class or test to watch a game or some live music or maybe just starting the night out early,” Beder said.

The Water Street Tavern’s happy hour is consistent throughout the week. Beder said students usually start their Thursday nights out during happy hour, though on weekends students come out later in the evening after happy hour ends.

“It seems college students come out later and later every year, so happy hour lets us see that crowd a lot earlier than we may otherwise,” Beder said. “The community and dinner crowd take advantage of it quite a bit as well.” 

Tom Creech, a manager at Ray’s Place, said he’s noticed a decline in the number of people who come during happy hour times.

“I think happy hour as a whole has declined — the whole allure, attraction of happy hour,” Creech said.

He also said an increase in drunk driving arrests and incidents may have “put a bit of a damper on people drinking at that time.”

Ray’s Place offers their happy hour between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. The bar and restaurant offers a variety of specials on draft beers, including $1 off all draft beers on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

For Ray’s Place, late night during weekends is its big attraction times for college students. Creech said happy hour is not the main event for students.

“It depends on the establishment,” Creech said. “Up until 10 (p.m.), we’re more of a food establishment than primarily a drinking establishment, which kind of flip flops.”

Find your ideal happy hour:

Bar 145 offers happy hour deals Monday through Friday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Domestic draft beers like Budweiser and Miller are $2 and select appetizers, such as truffle fries, are half price. Martinis and burgers are $5 every Wednesday.

The Loft’s happy hour is between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Deals include $2 off a pitcher of beer, 50 cents off liquor and 75 cents off a pint of beer.

The Zephyr Pub has happy hour from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Friday. Zephyr’s has a variety of deals including 75 cents off draft beers, 50 cents off liquor $8 beer pitchers.

Venice Café has more than 30 different drinks, from margaritas to beers on special during their happy hour. Students can get these lower prices from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday.

Samantha Ickes is a features correspondent, contact her at [email protected].