Words by Rachel Campbell
Kent is a hub for local music. Being a short distance from Cleveland tends to force the larger acts up north, but that doesn’t mean we don’t get our fair share of great shows. Check out a list of local venues and bars with live music below for the next time you’re looking for something to do in Kent.
*Note: Age restrictions vary at each business — some are 21 and over all the time, some vary based on special events or time of day — so check out their policies before going.
1. The Kent Stage (175 E. Main St)
This historic building may be recognized as a haunted place , but that doesn’t stop it from holding “Rocky Horror Picture Show” nights and more notably a slew of live acts. From indie locals to hip-hop to folk favorites, chances are you’ll find something you’ll like at The Kent Stage The Kent Stage.
2. The Stone Tavern (110 E. Main St.)
Like many bars, The Stone Tavernhas karaoke nights as well as stand-up comedy, but they also join the ranks of bars with stages. This small locale is bursting with original artwork that lines the walls and a cute little stage perpendicular to the bar. Grab a booth or table and kick back to some live music.
3. Euro Gyro (107 S. Depeyster St.)
Pizza and pop-punk seem to be a trend at this pizza parlor/bar/venue combo. Shows are all ages and free with a $5 suggested donation to help the touring bands make it to their next show. The only thing you’ll find on Euro Gyro’s websiteis what you’ll be ordering while rocking out, but that shouldn’t stop you from dropping in to see what’s going on. There are various Facebook events floating around, but why not tap into your adventurous side and wander downtown to find out for yourself? These shows are some of Kent’s best-kept secrets, so you’ll never know what you’ll find once you get inside.
4. JB’s (246 N. Water St.)
JB’s is next to, and under the Brewhouse, and both locations offer drinks and live entertainment. Brewhouse hosts comedy nights and karaoke with an occasional band every now and then, but JB’sis the prime location for live music. JB’s and Brewhouse offer everything from country to rock and metal and have become known for dubstep nights.
5. Checkers – N – Trophies (352 W. Elm St.)
A self-proclaimed DIY business, Checkers–N–Trophies, spans a wide range of genres with their live entertainment including hip-hop, punk, country, bluegrass, metal and folk. It’s open every day except Sunday from 5 p.m.–2 a.m. Although there may not be live music every night, there are still drinks and food to be consumed.
6. Bar 145 (100 E. Erie St.)
This restaurant is one of the many to join the downtown scene recently, and it has a prime location across from Acorn Alley II. They’re known for burgers, bands and bourbon, but are a self-proclaimed “Gastro Pub,” or rather “a bar that serves good food.” This good food includes tons of crazy food combinations like Roasted Bone Marrow and Caramelized Onion Soup. In terms of music, they have six nights of entertainment, consisting of acoustic acts through the week and full bands Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
7. The Outpost (4962 State Route 43)
The Outpostis a bit out of Kent, but still brings in great entertainment nonetheless. It follows the trend of being a venue and bar with tons of great shows weekly.
8. The Rusty Nail (7291 State Route 43)
This restaurant falls on the other side of Route 43, away from The Outpost. With a name like The Rusty Nail, you’re bound to get an interesting experience. Daily specials, like $5 appetizers on Mondays and Ladies Night Thursday where it’s $2 off all drinks, make food part of the draw. In addition to a lounge with karaoke every Friday, it’s a great local place to catch a sweet show.