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Cornelius News

Cheers to The Hideaway LKN, new to the local bar scene

Nov. 27. By TL Bernthal. Three Lake Norman couples have opened a new bar in Cornelius that they hope will become the next great neighborhood bar along with being a venue to give back to the community.

The grand opening of The Hideaway LKN will be celebrated with live entertainment 8 pm – 2 am Saturday, Nov. 5; the bar is next to Sangam Indian Cuisine in the Shops on  the Green.

“We want to make this a neighborhood bar where anyone can come and be comfortable,” says co-owner Laura Messenger.

“Our intention is to offer a relaxing place with reasonable prices and various entertainment,” co-owner John Huffman adds. “Private parties are also offered and since most days we don’t open until 3 pm, we can offer complete bar to your group/office meetings and parties.”

The bar has seven TVs that will show sports and NFL games, Messenger says. “Whatever customers want.”

The theme is “Vintage Lake Norman.”

“We hope that we have created the ultimate spot for locals to come ‘hideaway’ from the troubles of real life and hang out with those they care about,” says Messenger.

The 1,000-square-foot indoor space is too small for a kitchen, but the owners are working with Ferrucci’s Old Tyme Italian Market and restaurants in the shopping mall to provide food choices to bar patrons.

Entpreneurs at heart

Three couples are the owners: John and Debbie Huffman of Huntersville, Tina and Jay Kleinschmidt of Cornelius and Laura and Ryan Messenger of Cornelius.

They are all entrepreneurs in different fields and came together through mutual friends to embark on The Hideaway LKN as a way to give back to the community and show their love to LKN, Laura Messenger says.

—The Messengers, who live in Crown Harbor, also own an online window coverings company, First Rate Blinds. They and their four children moved from Colorado and have lived all over, Laura says, but calling Lake Norman home has been their best experience.

—The Huffmans owned Hangar 33 bar and restaurant in Mooresville for about six years before selling it last year.

“I like a challenge and after meeting the other partners, I was convinced we can be very successful,” John says of the new opportunity.

John, who is the general manager for The Hideway LKN, retired from aircraft engine manufacturing, was a race car owner and driver for 20 years in the Midwest, and worked 10 years in motorsports marketing before this venture. The Huffmans had a bar business in Indiana, too.

“I always love to meet new people and hear their stories,” John says.

—Tina and Jay Kleinschmidt  live in Victoria Bay; they moved to Cornelius in 2008.  They are the beer experts. Jay  is a homebrewer and runs the Lake Norman Brewing Club. The couple own Southern Badger, which produces seltzer and beer.

Jay was an offshore commercial diver for 20 years and now works in the natural gas industry. Tina has been a CT technologist for 22 years.

Tavern culture

The Kleinschmidts, Wisconsin natives, want to bring some of the Wisconsin tavern culture to Lake Norman.

“There, bars aren’t just a place to go drink,” Tina says. “The local bars play a very important part in the community. It’s where people go after work, after church, after a wedding or after a funeral.”

“It’s often full of familiar faces and bartenders who have nicknames,” she says, “and usually have one for you, too. They know what you drink and have it on the bar for you before you take your coat off.”

Charity events and fundraisers for families or people going through a difficult time are commonplace at bars in Wisconsin, Tina says. “We take care of each other,” Tina says. “We wanted to be part of something that contributes to that kind of community, here in Cornelius.”