Downtown Kent bars prep for Halloween weekend


Sue Gabik, of Akron, dressed as a sailor in Ray’s restaurant on Wednesday for dinner with some friends, also in costume. The restaurant/bar already has begun to attract a large crowd before the Halloween weekend. Photo by Jacob Byk.

Max Secre

As Kent prepares to celebrate Halloween Saturday night, some of the bars are planning on having extra staff, alcohol and festive customers.

Melanie Spiroff, a bartender at Ray’s Place, said Halloween is one of their most fast-paced nights so managers always have more staff on hand.

“There is always at least one extra bartender on shifts,” Spiroff said. “We double on our door people, placing two at each door instead of the typical one. We have never had bouncers in with us; we’re lucky enough to have some pretty big guys on staff to take care of that part.”

Megan Biley, also a bartender at Ray’s Place, says the fire department is always there on Halloween to make sure the door people strictly enforce traffic in and out of the bar.

Along with the extra staff there is also extra alcohol on hand. Mike Beder, owner of Water Street Tavern, said they have to order extra of the favorites.

When traveling out to the bars, keep these things in mind:

  • Avoid face paint — unless you’re Shrek in your ID
  • Avoid oversized costumes that will bump into others
  • No weapons (fake weapons also)
  • Fake IDs will be taken away
  • Bring backup forms of identification

“We pretty much double and triple most of our orders, especially on the more popular items,” Beder said. “The most popular items are Bud Light, Miller Lite, Captain Morgan, Jack Daniels, Crown Royal and Grey Goose.”

Spiroff said she thinks Yuengling will be the most popular beer on draft at Ray’s due to the recent excitement over its distribution in Ohio.

Ray’s Place and Water Street Tavern are not doing anything different with entertainment from any other weekend night because of the over-sized crowd.

“It’s so hectic, we don’t try to do any costume contests,” Beder said. “We have all three of our floors open, and there is a web cam in the bar and it gets broadcast to the Stater’s website. Really on Halloween the customers are the show. It’s just fun looking at everyone’s costumes.”

Both Biley and Spiroff praised Ray’s for going all out for Halloween.

“Our owner Charlie always goes all out with Halloween decorations, and our jukeboxes are easy to get to for the perfect music,” Spiroff said.

Biley said Ray’s looks awesome and is very festive. She said all of the unique beers offered are a huge draw for customers.

Last year, the unexpected happened at Ray’s when it caught on fire.

“There was a decoration above the pool table that caused smoke, and the whole place had to evacuate,” Biley said. “We opened back up in a half-hour or so, but everyone was so drunk no one understood they had to put their beers down and get out. People kept lingering so I guess it was kind of comical.”

Beder recollected a Halloween when someone was caught urinating in the bar.

“A guy dressed up as a priest was trying to urinate behind one of the tables and a bishop was covering him,” Beder said. “It’s kind of funny. You get used to the environment and nothing looks weird, but every once in a while you step outside your shoes for a second, and it’s kind of weird to watch people in these costumes acting like everything is normal.”

Contact Max Secre at [email protected].