Water Street Tavern doesn’t mind a little competition

Photo by Brian Smith.

Photo by Brian Smith.

Kate Kelly

The new renovations in Kent have caused excitement for students and community members. Bar 145 and Panini’s Bar and Grill opened in the last few months and seem to be packed every night, but Water Street Tavern doesn’t mind a little competition.

“I think the new bars have caused some competition for the original bars here in Kent,” said Jackie Trocano, senior educational studies major. “I have been here for four years and downtown Kent was getting old to me. I am sure everyone feels the way I have felt, so the past few weekends I have only gone to Bar 145 or Panini’s.”

The new bars have not negatively affected Water Street Tavern, a bar that has been in the heart of downtown Kent since 2001, said owner Mike Beder.

“Our numbers have stayed pretty steady since those bars have opened up,” said Beder. “But, to me, competition is a good thing, and it’s healthy. There is always a Wendy’s across the street from Burger King.”

As a part of the revitalization project for downtown Kent, new restaurants and businesses have taken root in Kent. Beder said he knew about all the new restaurants and bars that were coming when the plans were made.

“If we gave any serious thought to competition, it was a year ago to get a head start and make ourselves as expendable to students as much as possible,” Beder said. “We made our prices and specials attractive to students and the community.”

Water Street Tavern has plenty of specials during the week to keep customers interested. One of the popular specials it offers is Tuesday Ladies’ nights, which offers drink specials for women. On “Thirsty Thursdays” Bud Selects are only $1 all night, and the bar also has happy hour specials until 9 p.m.

“Ladies’ night is my favorite night at Water Street Tavern,” said Marissa Roach, senior marketing major. “That will always be the place to go to in downtown Kent, no matter what bar opens up. It’s their forte.”

The bar offers a rooftop patio, a private party room, high-definition TVs, a stage and a DJ. It also has a restaurant, Cajun Dave’s, which is open Mondays to Saturdays.

Beder said his advice to the new bars is to find ways to keep the customers coming back.

“More places together downtown will bring more people in and make it a more desirable area,” Beder said. “I appreciate their investment from that standpoint. Frankly, brand new places like that really up the game for everyone, and for newer places to stay relevant, they need to look at renovating and how they are going to keep their customers.”

Water Street Tavern appeals to the Kent community as well, by having Wednesday Nights Blues and Friday night line-ups, such as Hard 2 Handle and That 80’s Band on the first Saturday of every month.

“If these places pull their weight and bring some more people in their area it just makes Kent a better bar district with more destinations for people to go to,” Beder said.

Contact Kate Kelly at [email protected].