Cheers to The Hideaway LKN, the new kid on the 28031 bar scene

The Hideway owners:Jon and Debbie Huffman, Tina and Jay (not pictured) Kleinschmidt, and Laura and Ryan Messenger.

Nov. 4. By TL Bernthal. Three Lake Norman couples are opening 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.


The Messengers own 52 percent of the business with the Huffman and Kleinschmidts owning 24 percent each.

The initial investment in the bar is around $60,000, Laura Messenger says.

They’ve hired five bartenders and  bar manager Farrah Lund. The bathroom artwork was done by bartender Chloe Hawk.

New kids

The Hideaway LKN is banking on its location as the only full-service bar along Torrence Chapel peninsula to be a draw.

Dogs are welcome on the patio.

“While we love our fantastic local beer and wine bars, breweries and restaurants here in Cornelius, we are really excited to have a full bar,” Tina Kleinschmidt says. “So many people don’t really like to drink beer or wine, but with those places acting as a meeting place for so many, whether for business or pleasure, we’re very happy we will be able to offer mixed drinks and really fun speciality cocktails for those looking for another option.”

The Hideaway has 16 taps, bottles and cans, including non-alcoholic and gluten-free options, as well as a variety of wines, she says.

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.”


Location: 20910f Torrence Chapel Rd., Cornelius.

Hours: 3-11 pm Monday – Thursday; 11 am -2 am Friday and Saturday; 11 am – 11 pm Sunday.

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Photo The Hideway LKN


9 Responses to “Cheers to The Hideaway LKN, the new kid on the 28031 bar scene”

  1. Welcome to the “Neighborhood!”

    Wishing you much success.

    Posted by Karen Tovar | November 4, 2022, 2:32 pm
  2. Hope you have at least one dark beer selection beside guiness stout. ESB, porter, Dunkel, brown ale,would do. Thx

    Posted by Glenn McLeroy | November 5, 2022, 1:01 pm
  3. A group of Seniors from Westbranch in Davidson are looking forward to welcoming you as a local hangout tonight 😊

    Posted by Katherine | November 5, 2022, 3:42 pm
  4. I’m excited to hear you’ll be serving non alcoholic drinks! Been looking for a bar atmosphere where I can have a “drink” while enjoying ppls company!!

    Posted by Deborah | November 5, 2022, 4:36 pm
  5. Hey Laura & Ryan!
    David & I met you & your family at Chateau Morrisette earlier this year.
    Great to hear of the opening of your bar. I know you & Ryan are excited. David & I are looking forward to visiting.

    Posted by Derinda Green | November 6, 2022, 6:14 pm

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