Functioning as a restaurant during the day and a bar during the night, Ray’s Place in downtown Kent has a variety of options to try.

During the day, an older demographic keeps Ray’s busy, according to the staff. The bar crowd doesn’t come through until later at night.

Ray’s attracts patrons looking for a place to eat. They serve lunch and dinner with weekly specials, such as BBQ on Mondays and calzones on Thursdays.

The impression you get when you first enter Ray’s is that it’s been around for a while, with tasteful gimmicks and pictures decorating the walls. Established in 1937, Ray’s is one of the older bars in downtown Kent, yet still has a college-town atmosphere. Students and residents alike come to drink and socialize within the establishment.

With two floors, there’s always a bartender ready to make you a famous Long Island iced tea. If you can’t find a bartender right away, just yell “Jake,” and the odds are pretty good you’ll get the attention of one. Jake Wable and Jake Benner, graduates of Kent State and bartenders at Ray’s were at working last Thursday. They discussed what’s really in the famous Long Island ice tea.

“Rum, gin, vodka, triple-sec, Coke and margarita mix,” Benner said. “We serve about 250 (drinks) a night and run out of mugs at least twice.”

With a price of $3.95 in a sizable mug, it has become a favorite among the bar goers.  

Ray’s also boasts 64 taps between the two floors, with a new selection of craft beers and a new bear feature every month.

Benner and Wable are both craft beer enthusiasts and Kent State graduates. They love the shot wheel and always hope it lands on “bartender’s choice.”

“We usually make them take a ‘blow job’ or a ‘sweaty mexican,’ ” Wable said. “I also love making ‘cinnamon toast crunch’ and ‘liquid marijuana’ shots for people.”  

They also shared their favorite story about Benner’s first night working behind the bar.

“Some guy came in and got too drunk and threw a chair down the stairs, so we threw him out,” Benner said. “He went and changed his shirt and tried to come back.”

Rebecca Baronzzi is a Ray’s regular. As a third generation Kent State student, she enjoys coming to the restaurant and bar with her family.

“I always start my night here with a Futher Mucker,” said Baronzzebari. “I love the good conversations you can have with the bartenders and you get a strong drink for a good price.”

With its great atmosphere and friendly staff, it’s a must stop for your next bar crawl.  

Anne-Marie Colant is a neighborhoods and business reporter. Angelo Angel is an entertainment reporter.