Best Bartender


Submitted Photo

Katy Coduto


Daniela, Water Street Tavern

If you’re looking for a new drink or an unexpected mix, Water Street Tavern’s Daniela is your girl — and her creativity makes her Kent’s best bartender.

“When I make drinks for others, I like to ask them a few simple questions and then create them something for them off the top of my head,” Daniela said. “It’s always a great feeling when you give someone their drink, something they’ve never had before, and they love it.”

Daniela started at Water Street in July 2012 and has worked (mostly weekends) there since while also attending Kent State. She said that in addition to creating new drinks for her customers, she also works with a smile, always enjoying the intense environment that a weekend at Water Street brings.

“The whole night bartending is just moving quickly, serving drink after drink, handling money, all while developing relationships with your customers, most of whom become regulars,” she said.

Having regulars is a bonus for Daniela, who adds that it’s always nice to see a familiar face while working. And, in case her bartending skills aren’t enough, Daniela is Water Street’s social media editor.  


Joel, Zephyr Pub

For some pop culture conversation with your drink, look no further than Zephyr Pub’s Joel.

“I’m almost 78 percent nerd, so let’s talk about the new ‘Star Wars’ movie,” he said. Need to have a more serious conversation? Joel’s also there for that. “But if you need me to, we can talk about your crappy relationship problems as well.”

What it all comes down to for Joel is treating others respectfully. “Sometimes, when I’m having a bad day, I truly, truly look forward to going in and treating people how I would want to be treated,” he said.

 And if all of these qualities didn’t already make him one of the best bartenders in Kent, well, “I also make a killer Bloody Mary.”


Jesika, Venice Café

If you’re looking to take advantage of new brews and new flavors, look no further than the Venice Café’s group of talented bartenders. Venice owner Mike Beder said that his bartenders, including Jesika, participate in tastings across the country via Skype to learn about new drinks and flavors to best serve customers. Plus, Jesika said her strengths as a bartender that keep customers coming back go beyond making good drinks and include being a good listener.

“I’m always amazed what people are willing to tell me after I serve them their favorite beer,” she said.

Contact Katy Coduto at [email protected].

Editor’s note: Because of a reporter’s error, we mistakenly gave the third-place winner for the Best of Kent Best Bartender Award to Jessika, Joe and Mike from Venice Café based on votes written on the reader-submitted ballots. No one named Joe or Mike works at Venice Café. Changes have been made to the original article to reflect the correction.