By Jared Curtis
Latitude 41 Bar & Grill
No shirt, no shoes, no problem
As the summer heats up, thousands of central Iowans will spend their days lounging on boats as they skim across the lake. Saylorville Lake, only a few minutes north of metro, seems to bring the biggest crowds and was packed with boats over the Memorial Day weekend. But if you need a break from the water or some grub to soak up all the beverages you’ve been consuming, drop anchor and stop by Latitude 41, Des Moines’ only floating bar and grill.
“The marina was sold five or six years ago, and then the Harbor Grill came in,” said owner Brad Lepley, who also co-owns the Crow’s Nest in Ankeny with his wife. “We bought a houseboat a couple of years ago, but the opportunity to take over this place came about. So now instead of enjoying my boat, I’m here.”
It’s safe to say that Latitiude 41 is the breeziest bar in town. A long L-shaped bar borders the bar area and kitchen. Tables and chairs for are aplenty relaxing in the sun, and boaters are encouraged to pull right and dock next to the bar, if you can find an open spot.
“The weekends and holidays are our craziest times,” Lepley said. “But it all depends on the weather.”
The bar offers decent prices, creating a Happy Hour vibe all day long. Although glass is not allowed, the bar does serve more than 15 different cans of beer, operates a full bar and has a wide selection of frozen/blended drinks like Pina Coladas, daiquiris and margaritas.
“We have some great Bloody Marys, and we do lots of bombs and shots here,” Lepley said. “I can’t even tell you how many cases of Red Bull we go through in a busy weekend.”
When Lepley took over, he changed the menu, offering a wide variety of made-to-order items including burgers, sandwiches, appetizers, pizza and wraps. The kitchen is open until 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and until 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. They serve breakfast on the weekends starting at 8:30 a.m. Along with the menu change, Lepley also started a Bike Night on Wednesday nights.
“Our Bike Night has been a great success; we bring about 400 bikers every week,” he said. “We have music until 10 p.m. and serve burgers and pulled pork sandwiches in the parking lot. We also have $12 buckets of beers (6).”
The bar hosts live music on Thursday and Saturday nights, with a DJ on Fridays.
“We had a lot of events lined up, but we have been having some flooding issues, so were not sure if we’ll have them or not,” he said. “Just keep an eye on the website for upcoming announcements.”
Since Latitude 41 is a seasonal bar, now is the time to enjoy the summer the best way you can — on the water.
“The scenery is the best around, so stop out and have a good time in a relaxing beach patio atmosphere,” he said. “We’re the only place in central Iowa like this. You have to go to Lake Okoboji or the Lake of the Ozarks to find anything better.” CV
Caption: Join the Saylorville Lake party all summer long at Latitude 41 Bar & Grill, 6170 N.W. Polk City Drive, Polk City. Hours are Monday through Wednesday, 3 p.m. to close, Thursday and Friday, 11 a.m. to close and Saturday and Sunday, 8:30 a.m. to close. For more information and upcoming events, visit www.latitude41barandgrill.com.