Best Bar

The+Rays+Place+staff+keeps+busy+behind+the+bar+Tuesday+night+during+the+Indians+vs.+Padres+game%2C+April+8%2C+2014.

Leah Klafczynski

The Ray’s Place staff keeps busy behind the bar Tuesday night during the Indians vs. Padres game, April 8, 2014.

Katy Coduto

Photo

Ray’s Place

Best Bar one of six first-place finishes for Ray’s Place. Click here to read the full profile.

Photo

Zephyr Pub

One of Kent’s oldest bars is also one of its best, and it’s a place where “you can roll in and talk about anything or nothing,” bartender and manager Joel McAdams said.

This laid-back atmosphere makes the three-floor Zephyr Pub different from most other locations in downtown Kent, and the patio — open even in the winter, with heaters to keep you warm — is a major attraction.

“Good music is usually playing and there are actual trees hanging over you,” McAdams said. “It’s like being in a friend’s backyard, with lots of space to escape or engage. Choose your own adventure.”

As McAdams said, a night at the Zephyr might be awesome, or weird, or even uncomfortable; but no matter what, it will be interesting.

Photo

Water Street Tavern

On any given weekend, swarms of taxis can be seen pulling up to Water Street Tavern, right in the heart of downtown Kent.

A line is often out the door for what is one of the most popular venues in Kent, and it’s all because owner Mike Beder stays innovative in appealing to and connecting with his college-aged customers. It goes beyond just serving up the best drinks or having great service — the bar tries to stay “top of mind” even in off-hours.

“Posting professional photos once or twice a week of our customers having fun at Water Street has definitely helped market us,” Beder says.

Water Street actively gets involved with students in other ways.

“We are very involved with Kent State Athletics, which I feel gives Water Street Tavern a sense of Kent State pride that students want to identify with during their college career,” he says.

Contact Katy Coduto at [email protected]