Best alcoholic beverage


Annemarie Karabinus

Barrio’s margarita won “Best Alcoholic Beverage” in Best of Kent.

Harleyann McQuaid, Reporter

FIRST: Barrio’s Margarita

Barrio’s margaritas come in sweet flavors like “barrio paloma” with fresh lime juice and grapefruit to more savory styles like its “freaky tiki” made with jalapeño-infused El Jimador Blanco.

General manager Sara Fairbairn said the Kent restaurant sells over a thousand margaritas a week – and that’s not including drink pitchers.  

“We have the best happy hour in town, ” Fairbairn said. 

Barrio, which offers build-your-own tacos among other taco bowl options, sells its margaritas for $8. The restaurant also offers discounted margarita pitchers.  

“You get the most bang for your buck, but we also have more specialty margarita, if you want to spend a little bit more,” Fairbairn said. “As far as college students go, the cheaper, the better.”

The house margarita is a blend of El Jimador reposado, Triple Sec and house sour mix with options to add popular favors such as strawberry,  mango, raspberry and blackberry 

Fairbairn said the specialty margarita “sassy pineapple” with pineapple-infused Avion Silver, morita syrup and citrus juices is her favorite choice.  

“It’s spicy but citrusy margarita, and it has pineapple-infused tequila in it so it’s even better,” she said.

SECOND: The Loft’s Hulk

Though The Loft’s “The Hulk” green color goes along with the recent Fake Paddy’s and St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, the drink is still ordered year round. 

Customer Nikolajus Shukaitis said “The Hulk,” a large-portioned beverage featuring a shot of vodka, 7UP and Grizzly Energy Drink, is “one of the best.”

“The Hulk” at The Loft was chosen as the second- best “Best Alcoholic Beverage.” (Abigail Griffith)

“One of my favorites there is The Hulk – you gotta go try it,” he said. “It’s one of those things that you get with your friends when you are out on a Friday night. You order it and shoot it down with your friends. It’s just the memories that you make.” 

Along with “The Hulk,” The Loft also features special drinks such as its Rocket Pop, with UV Blue and grenadine. The bar also has free peanuts and a photo booth year round. 

“I like the atmosphere,” Shukaitis said. “They have a good selection of drinks.”

THIRD: Ray’s Long Island

The version of the classic Long Island Iced Tea at Ray’s Place is different from a lot of bars – the staff mixes the gin, rum, vodka, Triple Sec, coke, sour mix and lemon in-house, according to owner Charlie Thomas. 

 “We made it,” he said. “We don’t have a pre-mix like some bars. Everybody says it tastes good.”

This popular drink sells about 2,000 a week, Thomas said.  

Ray’s Long Island placed third in“Best Alcoholic Beverage.” (Abigail Griffith)

Ray’s Place has been a place for the community to stop in for a meal, watch the big game or sit at the bar with friends since 1937. The stop has had four owners and has seen thousands of customers. 

“It’s part of the community,” said Thomas, who has owned the restaurant and bar for 45 years. “Kent State Graduates from wherever have gone here over the years.”

This homemade Long Island Iced Tea has also been a consistent monthly special for years, according to Thomas. The drink costs $4.75. 

Harleyann McQuaid is a reporter. Contact her at [email protected]