When I listen to people talk about Kent’s musical hey-day in the 1970’s with live bands playing in clubs all over town I get a pang of band envy. I want a chance to hear this generations Joe Walsh building callouses on his fingertips in the convenience of my hometown too. The Kent Stage has kept hope alive with their booking of interesting and often slightly off-beat bands both new and old, so lift your cup and raise a toast to their continued success. But I also heard that one of our other rising stars in downtown Kent, the Water Street Tavern, is also throwing their stage into the local music scene with live music planned for every Friday night from 7pm till 10pm with no cover charge. And with a new restaurant partner, Russo’s Kitchen, opening soon customers of Water Street Tavern will be a part of Kent’s musical and culinary revival.
I learned all this news about the Water Street Tavern from owner Mike Beder who helped sponsor the comedy headliner last week at the Kent Stage. It turns out Mike and the headliner were friends way back in their undergraduate days at Kent State and some 10 years later they’re both rising stars in their own fields.
I continue to be impressed by how Mike has steadily grown his business with smart choices at every turn and this one looks like another winner. For all the folks that think the best days of downtown Kent are behind us Mike is working hard to prove them wrong. He’s shown that if you put out a great product and manage your business well you can be very successful in Kent. My thanks to Mike for being our poster child for Kent’s future.
The chef/owner, Dave Russo, is opening the kitchen at my place (Water Street Tavern). We’ll do some of the standard bar fare but also he’ll bringing some of his signature items- jambalaya, po’ boy sandwiches, pizzas, meatloaf, etc. We won’t be doing a full service thing, it will be a pick-up window in the bar. This will keep prices low- $5-$8 for sandwiches and $8-$12 for entrees, which should be appropriate for the area, and with money being tight, I think people will appreciate not having to tip a server. We’re a few months from opening, but I think it will be a great addition to my bar and something distinct for the downtown.
Friday Live Music
Here’s the Winter/Spring/Early Summer calendar:
2/20 Warren Henry’s New Orleans Jazz Quartet
2/27 15 60 75 (The Numbers Band)
3/6 Rio Neon
3/13 Up ‘Til 4
3/20 Alex Bevan
3/27 The Twistoffs