As the first snow falls for the season, I wonder if I really am too late to talk about the one option for sitting waterside in Cedar Rapids on a nice day. But I embrace memories of sitting in Venice on a cold day, watching everyone eat their lunches and drink their espressos and remind myself that it’s not too late to take in the outdoors.
Driving down I-380, the bright Sag Wagon sign is illuminated off J Street exit, and you can see the twinkling of the white string lights that adorn the patio. Even if the nice breeze off the lake has turned into more of a chill, it’s worth a stop.
Don’t miss the layered shadow box bar tables as you enter the door barring the New Belgium Brewery logo, and pull up a wrought-iron tricycle bar stool. The menu is small and the drinks are simple, but the small bar offers unique wall hangings and vintage bikes to check out to keep you busy. Not only that, but this “small bar” offers multiple sitting areas to enjoy if you want to move to the picnic tabled lakeside garage, outdoor patio, or dock top tables.
The menu offers a few light options such as paninis, wraps, subs and salads. Create your own pizza or choose one of the four specialty pizzas they offer. But if you are a cyclist, the crowd this bar was originally designed for, you don’t need more food than that if you want to put on another 30- 50 miles to the next stop. A cold beer, a quick bite and relaxing by the lake is all you need before you head off for the rest of your ride.
What do I like about it now that the seasons are changing? This brick bunker is surprisingly cozy that makes a few friends and strangers in one place seem like an intimate gathering.