Rathskeller continues to tap the kegs


Bartender and senior public communications major Jennifer Reihner puts the final touches on a spiked pink lemonade drink at Quaker Steak and Lube in the Student Center on Monday, Oct. 5, 2015. Quaker Steak and Lube is the only official location that serves alcohol on campus.

Rachel Duthie

It’s every college student’s paradise: a big, glossy wooden table extends far from each side, separating you from the freezer that contains a colorful array of commercial and craft beers. The bartender eagerly attends to your drinking needs as you kick back, relax and soak in the pleasures of either live music, a football game on TV, or perhaps a game of pool in this cool, dimly-lit hangout. 

It sounds like a great new bar in downtown Kent, but it’s Quaker Steak & Lube at the Student Center. The only thing separating your crazy Friday night from the campus bookstore is a flight of stairs.

Kent State hosts an underground drinking world for on-campus students who are 21 and older.

Those who can legally consume alcohol can drink at the Rathskeller Bar & Grille in Quaker Steak & Lube and at selected residence halls across campus. These privileges, however, are rarely acknowledged or advertised by the school.

“It’s so fun to drink on campus – different, too,” said a 22-year-old student, who didn’t wish to be named. “You have to be careful around the underage students because they can get you in trouble, but other than that, it’s pretty nice.”

Rathskeller is located within Quaker Steak & Lube and commonly gets confused as a part of the restaurant, despite it being a separate business. It sells beer on tap, mixed drinks and other bottled alcoholic drinks. It has been on campus for more than 30 years.

“Kent has had the Rathskeller selling alcohol here for years and years, about as long as I can remember,” said Richard Roldan, senior associate director of University Dining Services and Catering. “It has always been a huge part of Kent way before I even started here.”

The bar, that only has a small, typed sign that says “only 21 and over can sit here,” used to separate it from the rest of the dining complex, has had its mix of rumors concerning workers selling to underage students and students drinking excessively. None of these reports, however, can be confirmed.

It doesn’t stop once you leave the bar. Students who are 21 and older can legally drink at Centennial Court C, Engleman, McDowell, and on the first seven floors of Leebrick Hall. Before the university started welcoming large amounts of freshmen on campus, these residences were declared alcohol friendly as they historically housed older students.

Commonly known as “wet halls,” those of legal age can bring in, drink, and hold onto alcohol under certain limitations, even if your surrounding neighbors are underage. Within these halls one can still be allowed to drink even if his or her roommate can’t legally drink as long as the alcohol is kept within the person’s own room.

“Many people over 21 do not know the alcohol policies concerning drinking in the presence of someone who is underage,” said Dylan Oliver, a residence assistant at McDowell Hall. “Incidents where people over 21 and people under 21 drinking together happens on a regular basis.”

It’s not like security is watching for these occurrences. Brian Hellwig, assistant director of residential safety and security, said that while he has ran into problems regarding students who are 21 and older drinking in residence halls, there is no extraneous security geared toward them.

“I think it’s good to have options for some of our upper-class students,” said Hellwig. “There are not a lot of halls that are alcohol friendly. We have more problems with underage students.”

While students 21 and older can legally drink on campus, there’s still a risk if they don’t follow regulations or provide valid identification when asked. As long as the policy is being followed, anyone can have a good time.

“I have been fortunate enough to not have a lot of alcohol incidents, but I know some residents who do,” Oliver said. “Like I said, many people don’t know the rules, or that people over 21 can drink in general. Just don’t give your RAs a hard time and you’ll be in the clear.”

For more information about the alcohol policy at Kent State, please visit https://www.kent.edu/housing/crg-visitation-quiet-and-alcohol-policies.

Rachel Duthie is a General Assignment reporter for the Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].