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Castaways Bar & Grill’s lakefront view
Castaways Bar & Grill [Official Photo]

11 Great Lakefront Spots for a Meal or Drink in Chicago

Snag a seat at one of these beachside summertime hotspots

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Castaways Bar & Grill’s lakefront view
| Photo by Castaways Bar & Grill [Official Photo]

Summer in Chicago brings a myriad of festivals, warm weather and an atmosphere that makes this season in the city one of the world's best. Capitalize on this by finding a meal or drink with an aquatic backdrop of Lake Michigan, where scenic lakefront views combine with food and beverage to create a memorable summer experience. This map highlights some of the best options. For riverfront dining selections, head here.

If you feel any are excluded, leave a comment or send a note to the tipline.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Waterfront Café

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6219 N Sheridan Rd
Chicago, IL 60660
(773) 761-3294
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Waterfront Café is a genuine urban oasis near Edgewater. This spot is worth a visit for the atmosphere and live music from local performers on a lakefront stage.

Waterfront Café near Edgewater
Waterfront Café [Official Photo]

2. The Dock at Montrose Beach

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200 W Montrose Harbor Dr
Chicago, IL 60640
(312) 742-5121
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Downtown doesn't get to have all the fun. The Dock at Montrose features American fare with a few tacos thrown in for good measure.

Perfect beach weather today!

Posted by The Dock at Montrose Beach on Saturday, 22 July 2017

3. The Lakefront

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2401 N Lake Shore Dr
Chicago, IL 60614
(312) 414-1313
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The Lakefront, an upscale tavern at Theater on the Lake, opened in 2017 and offers brunch, lunch, and dinner menus from chef Cleetus Friedman (City ProvisionsFountainhead). The restaurant’s Skyline Patio, open seasonally, seats 80.

4. Shore Club

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1603 N Lake Shore Dr
Chicago, IL 60610
(312) 635-8058
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This three-in-one lakefront hotspot reopened for the season in May. Its large patio is freshly renovated and diners can expect beach-inspired dishes such as crispy lobster tacos and grilled baby octopus, as well as plenty of drinks and events.

Outdoor seating for groups at Shore Club
Shore Club [Official Photo]

5. Castaways Bar & Grill

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1603 N Lake Shore Dr
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 281-1200
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North Avenue Beach was reborn when Castaways opened, providing tourists and surburbanites a base of operations during summer weekend. It's a great place for a private event.

Lounge seating at Castaways
Castaways Bar & Grill [Official Photo]

6. Caffe Oliva

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550 E Grand Ave
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 612-0734
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Off the bike path at Ohio Street Beach, Caffe Oliva serves Mediterranean-influenced cuisine. It’s run by the same folks as the Dock on Montrose.

Caffe Oliva’s lakefront seating
Caffe Oliva [Official Photo]

7. Offshore

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1000 E Grand Ave
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 535-6660
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This 36,000 square-foot bar and lounge on the third floor of Navy Pier’s Festival Hall has the nation’s largest rooftop deck, according to management. The space includes retractable glass walls to shield customers from the elements, seven fire pits, and seating for groups to drink and socialize. The bar opened in late May.

Offshore at Navy Pier
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

8. Riva Crabhouse

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700 E Grand Ave
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 644-7482
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The menu from executive chef Octavio Reynoso at this Navy Pier restaurant includes beachy favorites like jumbo lump crab cakes, Alaskan red king crab legs, and “colossal” white shrimp with potato gnocchetti, mushrooms, and thyme butter sauce.

Outdoor seating at Riva Crabhouse
Riva Crabhouse [Official Photo]

9. Pier 31

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This spot off 31st Street Beach opened in 2013 and offers music and a family-friendly menu with hot dogs and other sandwiches.

Imagine this is you. On our deck, with a drink, food and an amazing view. You don't have to just imagine it, you could live it. We open today at 11AM, and we cannot wait to see you!

Posted by Pier 31 Restaurant on Monday, May 27, 2019

10. Lake Shore Cafe

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4900 S Lake Shore Dr
Chicago, IL 60615
(773) 288-5800
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Jazz and a Friday seafood buffet keep packing customers in at this Hyde Park hotspot. The fried catfish is popular with patrons.

Lake Shore Cafe features live jazz performances
Lake Shore Cafe [Official Photo]

11. Parrot Cage Restaurant

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7059 S South Shore Dr
Chicago, IL 60649
(773) 602-5333
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Washburne Culinary Institute students prep the meals here inside the South Shore Cultural Center where they serve "modern American cuisine." There's a popular Sunday brunch.

Parrot Cage Restaurant inside the South Shore Cultural Center
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1. Waterfront Café

6219 N Sheridan Rd, Chicago, IL 60660
Waterfront Café near Edgewater
Waterfront Café [Official Photo]

Waterfront Café is a genuine urban oasis near Edgewater. This spot is worth a visit for the atmosphere and live music from local performers on a lakefront stage.

6219 N Sheridan Rd
Chicago, IL 60660

2. The Dock at Montrose Beach

200 W Montrose Harbor Dr, Chicago, IL 60640

Downtown doesn't get to have all the fun. The Dock at Montrose features American fare with a few tacos thrown in for good measure.

200 W Montrose Harbor Dr
Chicago, IL 60640

3. The Lakefront

2401 N Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60614

The Lakefront, an upscale tavern at Theater on the Lake, opened in 2017 and offers brunch, lunch, and dinner menus from chef Cleetus Friedman (City ProvisionsFountainhead). The restaurant’s Skyline Patio, open seasonally, seats 80.

2401 N Lake Shore Dr
Chicago, IL 60614

4. Shore Club

1603 N Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60610
Outdoor seating for groups at Shore Club
Shore Club [Official Photo]

This three-in-one lakefront hotspot reopened for the season in May. Its large patio is freshly renovated and diners can expect beach-inspired dishes such as crispy lobster tacos and grilled baby octopus, as well as plenty of drinks and events.

1603 N Lake Shore Dr
Chicago, IL 60610

5. Castaways Bar & Grill

1603 N Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60614
Lounge seating at Castaways
Castaways Bar & Grill [Official Photo]

North Avenue Beach was reborn when Castaways opened, providing tourists and surburbanites a base of operations during summer weekend. It's a great place for a private event.

1603 N Lake Shore Dr
Chicago, IL 60614

6. Caffe Oliva

550 E Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
Caffe Oliva’s lakefront seating
Caffe Oliva [Official Photo]

Off the bike path at Ohio Street Beach, Caffe Oliva serves Mediterranean-influenced cuisine. It’s run by the same folks as the Dock on Montrose.

550 E Grand Ave
Chicago, IL 60611

7. Offshore

1000 E Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
Offshore at Navy Pier
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

This 36,000 square-foot bar and lounge on the third floor of Navy Pier’s Festival Hall has the nation’s largest rooftop deck, according to management. The space includes retractable glass walls to shield customers from the elements, seven fire pits, and seating for groups to drink and socialize. The bar opened in late May.

1000 E Grand Ave
Chicago, IL 60611

8. Riva Crabhouse

700 E Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
Outdoor seating at Riva Crabhouse
Riva Crabhouse [Official Photo]

The menu from executive chef Octavio Reynoso at this Navy Pier restaurant includes beachy favorites like jumbo lump crab cakes, Alaskan red king crab legs, and “colossal” white shrimp with potato gnocchetti, mushrooms, and thyme butter sauce.

700 E Grand Ave
Chicago, IL 60611

9. Pier 31

Chicago, IL

This spot off 31st Street Beach opened in 2013 and offers music and a family-friendly menu with hot dogs and other sandwiches.

10. Lake Shore Cafe

4900 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60615
Lake Shore Cafe features live jazz performances
Lake Shore Cafe [Official Photo]

Jazz and a Friday seafood buffet keep packing customers in at this Hyde Park hotspot. The fried catfish is popular with patrons.

4900 S Lake Shore Dr
Chicago, IL 60615

11. Parrot Cage Restaurant

7059 S South Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60649
Parrot Cage Restaurant inside the South Shore Cultural Center
Google Streetview

Washburne Culinary Institute students prep the meals here inside the South Shore Cultural Center where they serve "modern American cuisine." There's a popular Sunday brunch.

7059 S South Shore Dr
Chicago, IL 60649

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