In hindsight, would anyone have picked last winter to open up a new business in Tahoe? Given the record-setting weather, probably not. However, that's exactly what Kathleen and Rob Martens did in December of 2016.
"We really credit the locals for getting us through that first winter," mentions Kathleen. "They're why we're still in business today."
Perhaps that connection to locals is why they've earned the moniker the "Incline Cheers," named after the popular television show.
"We love it," added Kathleen. "We have our locals who come in on specific days and we even have people who come in and bring a book to read just because they like the atmosphere."
Having a bookshelf full of books for patrons to read was a must for Kathleen, a retired schoolteacher of 33 years. In addition to the reading lounge, a self-serve area where people can go and pour their own glasses of white and red wines accompanies the large bar in the middle of the room.
Behind the main bar sits the large chalkboard that highlights the featured wines as well as the running list of drinks that friends have purchased for other friends to redeem at a later visit.
"We saw it at another bar and loved the idea behind it," adds Kathleen. "People get creative and have fun with it, too, sometimes using different names as a joke."
While Kathleen focuses on the marketing of the bar, Rob, a retired IT professional, focuses his efforts behind the scenes, making sure that the wines chosen are also accompanied by beer options, should customers want something different.
Rob met Kathleen while the two were still living in Maryland, and when Kathleen proposed the idea of moving fully out to Incline Village two and a half years ago, Rob didn't hesitate. "We love it out here. I had no hesitations."
When asked what is the best thing about living here, both of them agreed that it was the people. Because of the support they have seen from the local community, they make it a point to support other local businesses and organizations. Whether it is Tahoe Family Solutions, or Lake Tahoe School (to name a few), the one stipulation has to exist — they have to be local.
That support has also extended into their ongoing events and entertainment. Coming up on April 28, they are going to be hosting their first art show featuring two local photographers (Sarah Ladeira and Steve Ellsworth) and a Bay Area artist (Alexandra Conway), who is the niece of one of the bar's local customers.
In addition to this event, other events such as their live music every Saturday, pop up Chilean soup Tuesdays, or their Easel and Wines nights that add to the character of the bar. When the weather warms up the patio also gives an added element to the experience.
While both Kathleen and Rob would love for more people to experience what they have created, they both are content to keep serving up a growing relationship with their locals.
As Kathleen puts it, "We're bringing the community together one glass at a time."
Glasses Wine Bar is located at 760 Mays Blvd. #8 in Incline Village and can be found online at glasseswinebar.com.