The Cocktail Corner opens in South Lake Tahoe with affordable, high-end offerings.


Patio at Tahoe Cocktail Corner
Patio at The Cocktail Corner (Brian Walker)

By Natasha Bourlin

Now, when someone tells you to go to the corner, you’ll happily skip there. It’s no punishment anymore. It’s a craft cocktail bar with mouthwatering, gourmet menu items.

As of September 2020, The Cocktail Corner has elevated cocktails and affordable fare to heights rivaling its location.

Owned by Luca Genasci of Lake Tahoe AleWorX fame, his new endeavor fills a void. While microbrews are ubiquitous on Tahoe’s south side, finding a finely crafted cocktail was much like hunting for unicorns.

So, Genasci took over the space adjacent to his OG AleWorX at the Y, turning it into a single destination for thirsty Tahoe gatherers.

“Craft cocktails are becoming cutting edge in the culinary world,” Genasci says. “We looked at what would be a complement and add to the pie chart of local offerings and saw a need for a higher-end craft cocktail bar on the Y side.”

He explains that beverage trends have shifted from craft beers being all the rage to cocktails having all the hype. Genasci wants to be a local leader in that realm.

Bartenders concoct hype-worthy cocktails such as their Original Old Fashioned, comprised of smoked-glass cinnamon and in-season wood chips, Russell’s rye whiskey, bitters, Oleo syrup, raw sugar, lemon and orange peel, then garnished with a Luxardo cherry.

A dazzling array of martinis are also poured, like their Jungle Bird with Jamaican rum, Campari, pineapple juice, lime juice, Oleo and dried pineapple garnish.

The Cocktail Corner signature drinks (Brian Walker)

Feeling chilly? Grab a steaming Kentucky Cocoa or Hot Apple Pie.

Oh, by the way, these drinks intentionally won’t soak up your funds. Most cocktails are in the $10-or-under range.

Genasci intends on keeping the cocktails exciting, perhaps offering a seasonal menu as well. His focus on catering to the community is priority, however. He never wants a regular to come in for their favorite drink and not have it on the menu.

“I love my team, what I do and the social elements . . . and using them as a vehicle to give back to the community,” Genasci explains.

I love my team, what I do and the social elements . . . and using them as a vehicle to give back to the community

Fine Fare

Now that you’ve drank up an appetite, check out the menu.

Fresh from the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, Chef Spencer Bender worked with Genasci to develop their cuisine. They strived to create local-friendly, affordable foods starting in the single digits.

You’ll see an emphasis on shareable gourmet platters featuring meats (including the smoked variety) and cheeses. Gourmet toasts are offered for brunch like the Rosemary Ricotta with rosemary-roasted grapes, ricotta cheese, balsamic vinegar and honey.

Rosemary Ricotta with rosemary-roasted grapes, ricotta cheese balsamic vinegar and honey_ Brian Walker.
Rosemary ricotta with rosemary-roasted grapes, ricotta cheese balsamic vinegar, and honey (Brian Walker)

Heartier appetites can try their smoked duck breast with roasted citrus dressing, micro greens and poached pears, or the vegan portobello mushroom sliders on pretzel buns topped with basil aioli and arugula.

“I think in South Lake Tahoe, we settle for mediocrity more than we should,” Genasci opines. He was intent on raising the bar with Cocktail Corner.

Its expansive outdoor patio invites conversations among the sky-scraping pines. Inside, wood, brick and rustic decor surround the skilled bartender and his guests.

Nearby, the first Lake Tahoe AleWorX location beckons beer drinkers. Oh yeah, a super cool feature of the new hotspot? You can order from the AleWorX food and drink menu while at Cocktail Corner, and vice versa.

It’s like the best of both worlds for imbibers.


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