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Castaways Summer Kick Off

By Hanna Aronovich in Food on May 31, 2006 1:56PM

With Memorial Day behind us and a streak of days breaking 80 degrees, we think we can say summer is on its way. And, nothing says summer in Chicago quite like drinking a $6 margarita overlooking the lake. That’s right, we’re talking about Castaways Bar & Grill, and as crowded and cliché as it might be, it’s a Chicago summertime landmark.

If you’ve lived in Chicago for more than a minute, then you undoubtedly know about this seasonal spot atop the North Avenue Boathouse. But we’re fans of stating the obvious, so here goes:

At 1603 N. Lake Shore, Castaways (which opened Memorial Day weekend) serves typical bar food all summer long. Burgers, wraps, nachos, chicken wings and spicy fries all grace the menu. And, maybe it’s because it’s the only restaurant at North Avenue Beach to grab some grub, but we think it’s pretty good. Sip on a selection of beer, or opt for a fruity margarita, pina colada or vodka lemonade.

Castaway_2w.jpg On the downside, it’s crowded, especially when the weather’s nice. Lack of tables and super slow waitstaff are a pain. It makes us wonder why there aren’t more beachfront restaurants dotting the shores.

There’s usually a live band, and we must admit, very few can pull off successful covers of Neil Diamond, U2 and Prince. The band playing on Memorial Day was no exception - we weren’t fans. But sitting on the opposite end of the boat, we could barely hear the music.

Private events are also held on board, including the July 12th fundraiser for PAWS Chicago. Tickets to the event include dancing, cocktails, a dinner buffet and silent auction. Or, there's a Michael Jackson tribute June 9.

So, quit rolling your eyes, and get your beach on. And, bring some sunscreen and shades – it’s gonna be a hot one!