By Lauren Wulf

Chicago in the summer is all about being outdoors, near the lake and taking advantage of the fleeting warm weather. Castaways Bar and Grill is an iconic summer staple. The huge ship that sits at North Avenue beach is like a beacon to beach goers everywhere. Aside from its prime location for soaking up sun and refueling after a long day at the beach, here are a few things to know.


The 411

Castaways Bar & Grill / North Avenue Beach
1603 North Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 281-1200

Castaways is located in the heart of North Avenue Beach. The first level of Castaways features an ice cream café, beachside burgers and casual walk-up stands. The rooftop features appetizers, sandwiches, salads and desserts.



Aside from the non-alcoholic drinks and the beer and wine menu, Castaways offers a ton of fun, summer time libations. Here are a few of the main attractions:

• Vodka Lemonade
• Arnold Palmer
• Mai Tai
• Castaway’s Long Island Ice Tea
• Very, Berry, Berry
• Margarita
• Daiquiri
• Pina Colada
• Summer Sangria (fruit included!)



Lying on the beach and soaking up the sun is exhausting. When you need to get some strength back, there’s a wide array of fuel options. From the sidewalk cafe/walk up stands to food from the Riva Crab House on Navy Pier, there a quite a few delicious choices. Here’s a sample platter:

• Queso Dip
• Chicken Tenders
• Popcorn Shrimp
• Nachos
• Burgers
• Wraps
• Salads
• Chicken Sandwiches
• Corona Fish & Chips
• Seafood Chopped Salad
• Crab Cake Sandwich



With Castaways prime, lakefront location, it makes for a great spot to participate sports, social clubs and city of Chicago events. Many Chicago recreational sports leagues call North Avenue their home base. Volleyball nets and tournaments are located steps from Castaways on the beach. Concerts, volleyball tournaments, skate competitions and other music and sporting events take place on North Avenue Beach throughout the summer.

Air & Water Show
/ August 18–19, 2012

One of the most famous events at North Avenue Beach is the Chicago Air and Water Show. The Chicago Air and Water Show presented by the City of Chicago and Shell is the largest free show of its kind in the United States. The show can be viewed along the lakefront from Fullerton to Oak Street, with North Avenue Beach as the focal point. Get an amazing view of the show from Castaways decks. More information about live broadcasts and show information can be found on

Private Events

Castaways is an ideal location for corporate parties, special events and casual gatherings. Private events are available for groups of 50 to 500.

There is no rental fee, only a food and beverage minimum. Private parties can only be held on weekdays.

Also, check out the Castaways Cabanas. New this year, the cabanas are available to rent daily from Memorial Day to Labor Day (Capacity: 10-12 people).

Lauren Wulf, CBS Chicago

Lauren Wulf writes about living in Chicago on a budget on her website, A Poor Girl’s Guide Chicago.