Castaways Bar & Grill

20s / 30s / Bar Food / Beach Bar / Burgers / Cover Bands / DJ / Dancing / Deck / Early 20s / Early 30s / Fish and Chips / Former Jocks / Frat Guys / Good Looking / Good for Groups / Great View / Hot Dogs / Jam Packed / Jocks / Late 20s / Live Band / Live Music Venue / Meat Market / Mid 20s / No Dress Code / Outdoor Area / Party / Restaurant / Sandals / Sandwiches / Sangria / Shorts / Singles / Sorority Girls / Sporty / Summer / Sunbathers / Swimwear / Tourists / Wall to Wall
Castaways Bar & Grill Situated on the upper decks of the behemoth boat-shaped North Avenue Beach House, Castaways Bar & Grill reaps the benefits of its locale, overflowing with the young, the athletic, and the bronzed the minute the weather warms. Chicago United States 41.913572 -87.624291
3.76 10
Castaways Bar & Grill - Beach Bar | Live Music Venue | Restaurant in Chicago.
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Ratings:
Lucas
Adriana
Jonah
Emma

Party Earth Review Situated on the upper decks of the behemoth boat-shaped North Avenue Beach House, Castaways Bar & Grill reaps the benefits of its locale, overflowing with the young, the athletic, and the bronzed the minute the weather... ... read full review

  • Train:

    Brown, Purple Express Lines: Sedgwick

  • Phone:

    773-281-1200

  • Links:

  • Hours:

    Daily 11am–11pm (Memorial Day to Labor Day)
    Closed for inclement weather at management’s discretion

  • Recommended as:

    • Day Spot

Party Earth Castaways Bar & Grill Review

The Scene

Situated on the upper decks of the behemoth boat-shaped North Avenue Beach House, Castaways Bar & Grill reaps the benefits of its locale, overflowing with the young, the athletic, and the bronzed the minute the weather warms.

Situated on the upper decks of the behemoth boat-shaped North Avenue Beach House, Castaways Bar & Grill reaps the benefits of its locale, overflowing with the young, the athletic, and the bronzed the minute the weather warms.

Although a number of amenities along the Beach House’s ground floor are available to beachgoers – including bike and volleyball rentals, showers, and snack food stands – partiers know to head straight for the stairs that lead to big burgers, stunning views, and lots of skin.

The shirtless-and-proud set sashays around the front of the boat, flaunting biceps and bikinis against a backdrop of the iconic cityscape and Lake Michigan, and redefining the historic notion of a Chicago meat market.

DJs and cover bands often perform on weekends, and many patrons spend the entire day on the open decks, pounding beers, exchanging digits, and dancing beneath the awnings of the long center bar.

After a scorched day in the sun, volleyball players and sunbathers bound up to the rooftop for a boisterous twilight cocktail and much-needed grill food, while the sounds of the water lapping off Lake Michigan help everyone forget how frickin’ cold it was last winter.

With panoramic views of beautiful skylines and beautiful people – beer-goggled and otherwise – Castaways Bar & Grill is an oasis of island spirit on the Lake Michigan shore.

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Tip from Lucas:

Where else in Chicago can you walk from your volleyball game to a boat and grab a beer with hundreds of swim-suited revelers?

  • Crowd

    Volleyball players, jocks, fraternity and sorority-types, sunbathers, and loads of tourists, early 20s to 30s.

  • Entertainment / Music

    Live music or DJs most weekends, though schedules vary. The Chicago Air and Water Show is held nearby, usually at the end of August.

  • Food / Miscellaneous

    Hot dogs, ice cream, and general snack food at ground level concession stands. American grill food at Castaways, including salads, burgers, and fish and chips.

  • Prices

    Appetizers $4–$9, salads and wraps $8–$13, burgers and sandwiches $7–$14. Beer $5.50–$6, wine and sangria $6–$6.50, beach cocktails $7.50–$9.

  • What to Wear / Dress Code

    Beachwear: shorts, swim trunks, swimsuits, flip-flops, sundresses.

  • Hot Nights / When to Go

    Sunny days between Memorial Day and Labor Day, especially on the weekends.

  • Close By

    Corcoran's Grill (1615 N Wells Street) has giant TVs, a big beer garden, and daily drink specials.

Castaways Bar & Grill User Reviews

Average rating:
Terrible music, Excellent location
Clarissa D. Aug 28, 2013
Chicago has some happening beaches, and Castaways is located right along one of the most active stretches. During the summer, North Avenue Beach is always crowded, and Castaways serves as the main meetup spot. The place is shaped like a boat and has drinks that are only slightly overpriced, but the music here can be terrible. On weekends, there is often some random cover band, delivering poor attempts at top 40 hits from ten years ago. This leads to a crowd with the singular purpose of getting drunk outdoors. Which is perfectly fine on a summer day - you come to Castaways for the convenience of being right on the beach - not for well-mixed cocktails, gourmet food, or life-changing music.
Second best to Spring Break Panama City?
Trisha F. Jul 16, 2013
Castaways is a fabulous place to be in the summertime, and especially on holidays such as Fourth of July, Memorial Day etc. The downstairs is great for people who need to take a break from the beach (since it is located on the beach). Here you can, stand in the shade, grab a burger or other "bar type" finger food or you could grab a non alcoholic or alcoholic drink. The upstairs section is usually more "happening" as there is a DJ. The radio station 103.5 Kiss FM can be found there a lot too. The upstairs section by the DJ reminds me of being on spring break in Cancun or Panama City because everyone is dancing in their swim suits and making new friends with the people around them. Lots of times, t shirts and headbands are given away from the DJ too. If you need to take a break for the dancing, you can sit at one of the tables and order food and/or have a drink The bathrooms are usually pretty gross since people walk in barefoot and spread sand everywhere. Overall, great place to be in the summer!
Booze Cruise
Danielle M. Feb 20, 2013
f you are lucky enough to stumble into Chicago between the months of June and August than Castaways needs to be on your to do list. Located on North Lake Shore Drive, it sits on the upper deck of a boat. Here, you can enjoy delicious drinks from AMF to a Margarita while gazing out at beautiful Lake Michigan. The ambiance tends to be similar to that of a beach house in Cabos San Lucas, filled with 20 somethings who throw back drinks as the midwestern sun beats down on them. If you can dig that kind of vibe, then by all means throw on your ray bans and dive into the delicious variety of bar food items. Might I be as bold as to recommend the chips and guac? Make sure to bring along some sunscreen since you can sit out in your bathing suit and drink away the summer. For the locals, being at Castaways is like being on a vacation in your own city. It is the perfect place to go and enjoy a sunny Chicago summer’s day. If all the heat and margaritas get to you, you are but mere feet away from the lake. Take a dip and continue on your day in the sun. The two downsides to this summer haven: Transportation: Getting there can be a bit of an obstacle, while there is paid parking, public transport does not run too close to this locale. Price: The drinks and food are a bit overpriced, but what can you expect, you are paying for the view. Overall if you are in the mood to truly enjoy the beautiful Chicago summer, this is the place to be. With a party-hardy atmosphere, and a view that makes you feel like you are in a tropical paradise, this is Chicago’s own little slice of heaven.
Location makes it worth it!
Brinda G. Dec 11, 2012
You know what, the drinks and food are overpriced, the music is from a frat party in the 90s, and there are lots of bros, but the location is worth it. On a warm, sunny day, you can almost forget that you’re in the middle of the country—the sand and blue water look better than they have any right to. And the money you’re shelling out is for the location. It’s definitely a fun experience to sit on the roof with a cold drink, especially after being in the sun all afternoon. You also get a great people-watching spot…for that, I will put up with everything else!
Location, Location, Location.
Jayson M. Aug 22, 2012
If hanging out with packs of dudes knocking back beers and calling everyone “brah” is your version of hell, then avoid Castaways on weekends. It’s a big boat on the beach, there’s lots of eye candy, and even when the music is some tool singing a crappy rendition of Jimmy Buffet (who is an ear-bleeder to begin with) at least you can enjoy the view. Major college scene, plenty of skeevy old dudes checking out ladies a half-century younger than them. It is gloriously awful and I love it. Come with realistic expectations and leave hammered.
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