The beer and the boys are back in town

Ben Wolford

“It was a lot of fun here this summer — don’t get me wrong,” said Christian Gatautis, a senior marketing major. He spent the summer in Kent, opting not to go back to his hometown of Chesterland.

“But it’s nice to see people back,” he said.

It’s unclear how many students flooded the streets of Kent for the first Thursday of the school year. (This reporter was more eager to join them than to cover them.) But flood they did.

They went to the game, and then they went downtown.

They purchased beer at 101 Bottles of Beer on the Wall yesterday — more than they have there all summer. “Our main customer base is back,” the cashier said.

Having them back means different things to different people.

For one letter-to-the-editor writer on South Prospect Street, it means a whole lot of crap in her front yard.

“I’ve had to hose puke off my lawn,” she wrote. And, “some guys were trying to make a bonfire specifically to burn snow so they wouldn’t have to shovel it.”

At Guys Pizza, it means a packed order counter at their South Water Street storefront.

“You can definitely tell that they’ve had a summer off of drinking,” said Steve Greenaway, a senior marketing major at Kent State Stark campus. Greenaway worked last night at a time when they can sell four pizzas in a half hour.

As the semester goes on, he said, customers learn to hold their alcohol a little better.

“I’ve been here 27 years,” said Joe Ricciardi, who owns the Venice Café with his sister Josephine. “I hope every day is a thirsty day for college students over the age of 21.”

Darren Haggenjos, a bartender at the Zephyr Pub, worked 11 to close last night. He said they’d be busier than last Thursday.

Smokin Tattooz, however, would not be. They close at 9 p.m.

“We don’t tattoo drunks,” said owner Jeremy Cales.

He tells them to come back in the morning so they don’t regret it. Plus, they don’t sit still when they’re drunk.

In the summer, Kent is quieter. The bars are slow, and campus is barren.

But now the students — the lifeblood of this city — are back. And this morning, they’re hungover.

–Ben Wolford