WTGW 1/22/14: Bar 145, Kent

Standard

OK, after three solid weeks of ethnic foods and non-bar & grill establishments, we figured it was fair game to hit up a place known for good old American staples: bourbon and burgers.

Or, in our case, scratch the bourbon and give us martinis. Which, along with the build your own burger, happen to be $5.00 on Wednesdays at Bar 145 in Kent.

It’s like this special was tailor-made for our WTGW adventures.

Let’s just say this place may have been a bit more dangerous if it were summer again and we were more likely to want to stay out past 10:00. Because they definitely didn’t skimp on the alcohol in said martinis, even at the reduced price. And there’s a patio. Somehow I think those two factors alone will put this one in the Friday Flashback contention basket in the near future.

Stage. Which none of us had near enough alcohol to go dance on. Unfortunately.

Stage. Which none of us had near enough alcohol to go dance on. Unfortunately.

Anyway, back to this week’s visit. I should probably preface this whole review by saying that Kent is a college town – so honestly I really wasn’t sure what to expect with this place. It bills itself as a Gastropub, specializing in burgers, bands and bourbon. So, in a college town that could really have several meanings. Like either the uber-trendy hipster-in-training crowd had taken over and would therefore shoot daggers at anyone new who enters not wearing a beret, or this is the one “nice” restaurant in town that you look forward to taking your parents to when they come in to visit because you can’t afford to eat there on your own any other night.

Come on, don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about.

I’m glad to say Bar 145 is neither of those. Well, maybe you’d still take your parents there – but honestly the price tag on our bills seemed relatively cheap for dinner and a few drinks, even to my definitely-no-longer-a-college-student budget. Mine and Shane’s tab was $41, after tip, and we each had two drinks, a build-your-own-burger, and he had an extra side. Now a lot of that had to do with the Wednesday $5 specials … but still, I’d say save this one for your own night out, kids, and make mom and dad splurge elsewhere. *wink, wink*

On a Wednesday night in January the place was a nice mix of students (many of whom wore their KENT sweatshirts like a giant name tag, how cute), townies out for a evening date, and groups of young professionals hitting up the end of happy hour. A book club was meeting at one table – at least that’s my guess, unless six people pulling the same book out of their purses was a huge coincidence. And in which case I really should have played the lottery on the way home. And of course the guy wearing the vintage Miami Vice t-shirt at the table next to us … I’m not sure what category he belongs in, so I’m just giving him one of his own.

Now I’m not a bourbon drinker, but the list for that beverage took up one whole side of valuable real estate on the drink menu, so I’d consider that extensive. Shane and Ted stuck to draft beer – which I imagine tasted, well, the same as it always does, and that’s a good thing. As I mentioned before, Amanda and I each did two rounds of martinis – and agreed that the first round we ordered (grasshopper and chocolate covered banana) were better than the second (birthday cake and campfire). But the latter had better “flair” on the rims.

OK, that just sounded dirty.

Graham cracker covered marshmallow and rim on the Campfire martini. That's what I mean by "flair."

Graham cracker covered marshmallow and rim on the Campfire martini. That’s what I mean by “flair.”

Birthday cake martini for the soon-to-be birthday girl

Birthday cake martini for the soon-to-be birthday girl

Some people *ahem*  my husband  *ahem* found the menu to be a wee bit confusing, mainly because it was filled with “fancy” words like “duck con feit,” “potato croquettes” and “buttered brioche.” Which I found hilarious considering he had no problems at a Japanese restaurant a few weeks ago, but whatevs. After much whining and impatient flipping of the menu he finally settled on building his own burger … and was really happy with it. Shocker, right?

Table of goodness

Table of goodness

Amanda and I also went the build-your-own route, although without the fanfare and heavy sighing act Shane put on first. Our biggest decisions of the evening were between toppings like spicy cream cheese or aged gouda, honey garlic spicy sauce or basil pesto. #firstworldproblems

Ted ordered off the menu (always has to be different, right?) and had the Apple Pie burger. He wasn’t thrilled with it, but chalked it up to the fact that it had sounded interesting enough to catch his attention and at least he tried something new. Plus it came with a really big knife, so basically anything he said for the rest of the evening we were not going to disagree with.

There's a burger under that knife somewhere

There’s a burger under that knife somewhere

Shane and his famous peace sign

Shane and his famous peace sign

Ted learns the fine art of gang signs

Ted learns the fine art of gang signs

CAPSULE

Picked by: Steph
Drink options: Excellent. Pick your poison – cocktails, beer, bourbon – and they likely have it. $5.00 martinis on Wednesdays (normally $8.00).
Food: It’s essentially grown up, fancy bar food.  To some (*ahem* … oh, wait, we did this already – so you know who I mean) the menu may seem a bit daunting for a “burger joint” – but the “build your own” option is a nice juxtaposition to that. Since we all ordered burgers we’ll have to go back again to try other entree dishes.
Service: Good. As with most restaurants in college towns, most of the servers appear to be students – but at least they are attentive and do know the menu.
Overall: We all voted for a return visit.

Next Pick: Amanda

Bar 145 on Urbanspoon

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