Riverside Wine and Imports
Taps: 14 / Bottles: 42
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: N
Ratings: 25 | Reviews: 24 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by PBRstreetgang:
4.3/5 rDev +3.1%
quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
A bit confusing to find this place if you are not familiar with the area, and the parking is very limited, but the sign by the road is obvious so at least you will know where to walk to once you can find a place to park.
The store is a little cramped, but I understand that they are trying to fit a wine bar, outdoor patio, dinner seating, wine cellar, and beer store in a relatively small property. Still, I appreciate the surrendering of space for more diversity in the establishment. It seems like this place is just as focused on beer as wine.
A great selection of beer is to be found here. Belgian beers both popular and rare, with the real jewels mixed in at modest prices. Most popular domestic craft breweries are here, along with a lot of extreme beer. They had many seasonals and beers I know had just hit the market but also a lot of older product; the open cases in the aisles and lack of anything marked down makes me wonder if the beer is properly rotated. The local favorites Great Lakes and Hoppin' Frog are well-represented and they even have Erie brewing products. You are welcome to make your own 6-pack, but only with the beers already marked for individual sale; however- the singles are vast and varied, offering almost every style you might be craving.
The staff will approach you and attempt to help you find what you are looking for. They seem fairly knowledgable, but speak to you in laymen's terms so as to not frighten off the less-beer educated customer. The bar in the front of the store is a nice touch with free popcorn, plenty of cold bottled beer and 5 taps- all interesting craft beer but a bit pricey. The outdoor porch has a view of the river and is very pleasent on a sunny day or warm summer night. If you want to have a craft beer with lunch or dinner in Kent, this is a terrific spot. But, if you're just looking for a store with a good choice of craft beer at decent prices it's a toss up with 101 Bottles just around the corner, they both close at 1am.
07-11-2007 23:47:38 | More by PBRstreetgang
More User Reviews:
3.3/5 rDev -20.9%
quality: 3 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$$$
Minor price adjustment: My last visit has caused me to find Riverside getting way too overpriced. The food is getting very expensive and I saw Founders Breakfast Stout on sale for $16/4pk when the rest of the state seems to be selling it at $11.99.
UPDATE for July, 2010.
After a long hiatus I started coming back here when I noticed some new niceties on tap (GI Sophie, GLBC Lake Eerie Monster). I think they have added 3-4 taps, their draft list is bigger than what I recall from last year.
The cooler beer selection has also seemingly improved. Every time I go now there's at least one or two things that I have never seen in OH before or would consider rare enough to justify buying when I had not planned to buy anything to take home.
They even had GLBC Christmas Ale on tap nearly all of July when most places only got a single keg for the July 23-25th Christmas in July celebration around the state.
The only lack of improvement was in food quality. I have not been impressed the last two times. I ordered "warm french bread" with olive oil and herbs for dipping and was apparently mistaken in expecting a nice french baguette. Instead I get a room temp. french roll that tasted frozen. When beer is king though, I guess I can forgive this.... or at least justify coming as long as I avoid the food.
I have been to Riverside to eat/hang out at least three times and have stopped by to just pick up beer a couple times as well. I was initially floored by the beer selection that this place has (even better selection of wine). They had many rarities and an overall large selection to beer (probably 6-8 coolers full).
I came back to enjoy the beer on tap and eat. They have 6-8 good beers on tap, and upon first viewing I was very impressed. The food was good (they offer fruit and cheese plates, though a little pricey). The environment is warm and cozy, the shelves of wine take up almost the entire space inside.
My rating would have been much higher but the last couple visits have caused me to be soured on Riverside a little. The beer selection on tap barely changed in the 6 months between visits. After a third visit inside I have determined that at least 2 taps must never change.
On that last visit we arrived around 9pm while live music was playing. It was nice but a little loud when the room only sat 6 tables. Our server seemed a little annoyed when a friend joined us after 10pm. After everyone had ordered their first drink she barely came back to our table, we had to flag her down to order a second beer and some food. By the time the food arrived it felt like we were being rushed, she brought a check without asking. It was about 10:30 or so but they are open until 1am. We only finished half of the food before the waitress tried to take it from our table in an effort to clean up. Meanwhile I was still wanting to order a third beer and add something from the cooler to our tab. We were again treated with disdain at wanting to add to our order, and at least one other server attempted to take our plate of food before we were finished with it.
The final straw was when someone came to tell us at 12:45 that they were locking the doors in 5 minutes and that we had to leave. I understand that everyone probably wanted to go home, but if your business hours say 1am, and if it's a drinking night (Saturday) when you ought to expect late customers, I was extremely offended that we were being forced out.
Overall if you come at the right time you'll find some really amazing beer in the coolers, but it might be some time before I try to stop in to eat and stay again.
03-26-2010 19:46:33 | More by Spider889
3.85/5 rDev -7.7%
quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | $$
While living in the northeastern ohio area, I found myself as a regular at this place...I loved it, but to but honest, it is somewhat hit or miss...they routinely have at least two to three good beers on tap, but I always found myself wanting more...the guy that owns this place is more of a wine guy (and they have a pretty damn good selection and he is always ready to recommend something) but he also knows a little something about beer. With that said, I found myself thinking (on more than one occasion) 'why in the hell does he have that selection on tap?!?!' While there is a limited selection of taps, and they don't always make sense paired togheter...there is usually something worth your time. The service, being a college town, is somewhat of a roatating door, and they don't always know there stuff (I'll let that slide), but on an upside, they are always ready to help.
The selection is good for beer, and better for wine...overall, a good place to check out...especially on there deck once summer hits...
07-08-2009 04:29:10 | More by Goldopelgt
4/5 rDev -4.1%
quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | $$
Well Riverside is easily accessed off of Rt 43 going through Kent. You walk in with a quaint little bar to your left with about 14(?) taps with some pretty good beers rotating in and out. To your left there is a line of coolers with some single bottles and some bombers. There used to be another row of coolers behind the bar but unfortunately those have been removed! If you walk past the coolers with the bombers and singles there is a wall with built in coolers running down it. Pretty nice representation from the regions craft brewers, but its hit or miss wheather you will find something that gives you hard on just finding it. Still a nice store and totally worth checking out. I normally stop here and grab a couple samples of some of the drafts ($1 for 2oz pours) and grab a bottle or two and head over to 101 Bottles for some take-home beers.
03-10-2009 04:32:59 | More by drgonzo3705
2.95/5 rDev -29.3%
quality: 4 | service: 1 | selection: 3.5 | $$
*** I wanted to add a little perspective to the largely worthy praise that this place has been receiving, and hopefully do so a bit more fairly than certain more severe posters! ***
I'm a Kent townie and I still go back to visit family a couple of times a year. Every time I'm in town, I pretty much have to hit both Riverside and 101 Bottles.
Riverside has a solid 6-pack selection and a decent bomber selection, but surely their greatest feature is their rotating list of taps. Unfortunately they don't do growler fills, however, so it's tough to enjoy many of their always high-alcohol drafts without having to find a ride. If they did growler fills, it would totally kick them up a notch.
Sadly, their selection of single bottles, 22oz. bombers, and 750ml champagne bottles was greatly reduced last year when they cleared out some of their coolers to make room for more seating. They now have plenty of tables (not to mention an absolutely killer patio for the summer), but a reduced beer selection. Since I'm more of an at-home drinker, this change was a bummer for me.
Their prices are decent, but I think that 101 Bottles overall has a better selection at slightly lower prices.
The service at this place is problematic. I would break it down as a student/local divide in the attitude of the owner. From my experience, he will not pay any (positive) attention to a person he views as a student, but will provide thoughtful conversation about beer and wine to a person he perceives as older or more likely to spend a greater amount of money.
In my view, even if your service is good to some customers, taking a bad attitude toward so many others makes you look like an ass and discredits your establishment. I'm a little too old to look like a student now, but I've definitely observed both sides of this guy's attitude, which is a most unfortunate perspective for the owner of a major beer locale in a college town.
On the personal tip, I was once in there putting together a mix-a-six pack (back when there was more of a singles selection), and the bottom of the box broke out, dropping a bottle (of Lagunitas IPA or something similar) to the floor and breaking it. Dude comes around the corner like I just killed his mother and starts asking all kinds of questions about what happened. Even after closely inspecting the box the store had provided and establishing that it was indeed faulty, he looked at me with a lot of suspicion. I'm thinking, this guy's a joker! A bona fide Beer Advocate is in your store and all you can find the time to do is be rude and condescending. Not good.
At any rate, Riverside has a very solid selection, especially on draft. But they're bumming me out more and more each time I go there because the decrease in inventory seems to be balanced only by an increase in attitude. More often than not, I'm deciding to skip the attitude and go with the college kid behind the counter at 101 Bottles.
03-09-2009 18:15:28 | More by TaddyPorter
4.15/5 rDev -0.5%
quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | $$
Riverside Wines & Imports is an appropriately named shop/bar on Mantua near Kent State campus just a short way from I-76. There is a small private lot in front.
The interior is segmented into a bar, aisles with beer/wine/food, and a dining area. There is also a large patio overlooking a river and train tracks. The inside has large windows facing the street and the walls are painted with a vineyard feel. The bar is to the left and is pretty small but comfortable.
Riverside has 14 beers on draught, featuring goodies such as Hoppin' Frog B.O.R.I.S The Crusher, Gonzo, Southern Tier, Dragon's Milk, Founders, Corsendonk and others. They also have around 400 bottled beers, many in singles from the likes of Stone, Bell's, GLBC, and Hoppin' Frog domestically, as well as imports from Belgium, Germany, the UK etc. A very thorough selection all around.
Service here is great. The owner was the bartender/cashier/waiter on my Saturday afternoon visit and took pains to learn everyone's names and provide good service. He knew the beers pretty well too.
I did not try any food on this visit.
All in all this place is highly recommended for anyone in the Akron/Canton area. People who denounce a place with a great bottle selection and well thought-out draught list plus a friendly owner based on a "snobby" perception should be careful what they call the kettle. I'd go back in a heartbeat.
03-19-2008 21:44:54 | More by Dogbrick
4.35/5 rDev +4.3%
quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | $
This is my favorite local bar - what you might call my "Cheers". To start, Riverside seems to specialize in wines, but they also stock an impressive and reasonably priced array of beer. They sell by the bottle, pack, case, and even keg.
Although there are lots of bottles here, I really go for the draughts. There are 14 taps which can be just about anything depending on when you go. Recently, they seems to keep Gonzo Imperial Porter and Dragon's Milk on tap. Both are excellent choices in my book. If none of the tap offerings tickle your fancy, you can select any of their single bottles and have it served at the bar.
Most of the staff seems to be reasonably knowledgeable about their beers and proper serving techniques and are good for a bit of conversation when it's not too busy.
The bar only seats about 10 people and there is a modestly sized tv to allow for viewing of football (very important). When it's warm enough, there is a sizable patio out back which looks over the Cuyahoga River. If your arm is properly warmed up, you can throw grapes at passing trains on the other side of the river, altough Riverside doesn't officially sanction such endeavors.
01-14-2008 03:07:00 | More by 77suburban
3.65/5 rDev -12.5%
quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | $$
This place is great. It's a restaraunt, a bar and a beer and wine store. They also have some liquor but it's limited. They have a good selection of Rogue, Stone, Bell's and other mainstay breweries in Northern Ohio. They have a good selection of 6-packs and a healthy selection of singles. They also have a couple of beers on tap. I saw a couple of Great Lakes beers on tap but they also had one of my favorite stouts on tap with Bell's Kalamazoo Stout. I'll have to go back soon to try it on tap. Prices are good. If you want to enjoy the beer there you can but you have to add a little to the price. If you get a chance to stop here, do it.
12-25-2007 21:03:53 | More by jeffmonarch
4.5/5 rDev +7.9%
quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$$
Riverside is a great bar/beverage store. They have over 400 kinds of beer in bottles and 14 on tap. Some reviewers have stated that the owner and staff were snobby. I have been there many times and this has never been my experience. I have always been treated well there. The owner, Bob loves to talk about beer, sports or whatever. Yes, there have been times when he was too busy to talk to me, so what. Theres always someone to talk with.
The bar area is small but I have always had enjoyable conversation with the other patrons. Parking is terrible on Friday and Saturday nights, cant deny that but if Im looking to take home some beer I just wouldnt go on those nights. And if Im looking to hang out, I go early and grab one of the good parking spots.
They have a happy hour where on-tap beer is dollar off. And there are some great beers on tap; Always a few Belgians, Southern Tier, Flying Dog, Great Lakes and Thirsty Dog (hey it is Ohio, gotta support the local brewers) They even have Framboise; a Raspberry Lambic on tap. You can get a 2 oz taste of something for a dollar if youre not sure you want to commit five buck to a pint glass.
All the beer is in coolers. I have never seen dust on the bottles. The beer is rotated and always within date. The aisles are indeed narrow but I think they are making the best of the space available. Also since the aisles are narrow you can strike up conversations with other beer fans.
This is a great store with great selection. I highly recommend this place as a bar or a beverage store.
11-24-2007 13:22:13 | More by CDBeerDisappear
Riverside Wine and Imports in Kent, OH
92 out of 100 based on 25 ratings.