Bars booming with return of students

Samantha Tosado

Abra Williams-Witzky | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: Ron Soltys

Imagine walking in to a bar during the early summer days of June and July.

Not a single customer is in sight.

There is no music, and the bartenders are just staring, patiently waiting for anyone to walk through the door.

Now imagine walking into the same bar during the school year — only this time people are everywhere. The music is blaring, and patrons are pushing and shoving just so they can buy their first round of drinks.

The bar atmosphere has returned.

With the first weekend of the school year quickly approaching, many Kent State students are wondering what this year will be like for the bar scene. Or better yet — what bars are going to be appealing that were not during the summer.

“Our tips triple in the fall compared to the summer months,” said Erin Rossi, senior marketing major and bartender at The Brewhouse. “We cut our staff in half for the summer.”

Rossi said The Brewhouse is more wild during the school year, with an occasional brawl here and there.

“It is definitely by far a lot more rowdy,” she said. “There are a lot more fights and puking. You have to cut more people off. People are a lot more scandalous.”

The smoking ban that went into effect Dec. 7 also affected attendance, as sales decreased for some bars that didn’t have a patio.

“We don’t have a porch,” Rossi said. “A lot of people want to be outside in the summer to smoke.”

Even though The Brewhouse — and other bars — may slow down during the summer, their school year sales are what keep the bar running and the customers wanting more.

“When I first turned 21, The Loft was my favorite bar,” senior theater major Clint Elston said. “But over the years it got really crowded during the fall semester, and that turned me off.”

While some bars are struggling to keep customers during the summer, others don’t seem to have a problem with keeping customers’ attention.

“The nights are busier, but it’s not that big of a jump,” said Michael Pierce, bartender at the Zephyr Pub.

The Zephyr Pub offers a patio outside where customers can drink and smoke peacefully without the chaos many college bars have to offer.

“We are typically way busy all the time with the patio,” Pierce said. “We have a nice place to smoke, and that usually attracts most of our customers.”

Pierce also added during colder months the patio is obviously less inviting. However, that doesn’t stop an excessive amount of people from wanting to come inside.

“In the summer you would see people that don’t normally come here because of the patio,” he said. “Other than that it’s pretty much the same type of crowd.”

Pierce admits that the Zephyr Pub isn’t your typical college student bar, but at the end of the day, it is pretty popular.

“A lot of older people come here,” he said. “The age difference ranges, which I think is really cool.”

While a patio may play an important role for some, good deals are a key factor in trying to reel in others.

“Tuesday nights is our ladies night,” said Jamie Kelly, senior communications studies major and bartender at the Water Street Tavern.

Kelly said the bar gets about the same amount of customers year round, but sales decrease a little during the summer.

She said that the Water Street Tavern’s busiest time is during the month of October because of Homecoming and Halloween weekend.

“It’s by far one of the best bars in Kent,” she said.

From fights and good deals to rowdiness and patios with smoking, all these bars have something in common.

They are all ready to serve and welcome back Kent State students.

Contact features reporter Samantha Tosado at [email protected].