Summer is approaching and restaurants and bars are opening back up for dine-in service. What better way to celebrate than a trip to one of these beautiful lakeside venues for beers and cocktails in the sun, or a romantic meal overlooking the water?

In fact, these venues are ideal for all types of indoor or open-air celebrations, or a corporate events to wow the socks off a new client. So for a convenient escape from city life, head to the banks of Lake Michigan!

1. Castaways On North Avenue Beach

Summer is here so pack your swimmers and let’s head to the beach. Bright, breezy, and full of fun, Castaways is a casual beach bar with island vibes in the heart of the city. Opening back up this month, the range of offerings at this open-air spot gives you the full lakeside experience. 


The patio offers amazing over the water as well as delicious food and ice-cold drinks from a host of vendors: an ice cream cafe, burger stand, and walk-up bar. The rooftop is the cherry on top of this venue — ideal for private parties, banquets, or corporate events for up to 500 guests.

castaways terrace

2. Theater On The Lake

Located next to North Avenue beach, right on the waterfront. With an insane maximum capacity of 1,500, Theater On The Lake is a truly unique venue, that could host a star-studded gala or an intimate social gathering featuring live music or theater. With views over Lake Michigan and the Chicago skyline, you're never short of a stunning view to marvel at.

theater on the lake

The iconic long and low beach house dates back to the 1920s and features exposed brickwork and sweeping arches inside, leading to a large outdoor patio overlooking the lake. Head down for a craft beer and a shrimp roll by the water, or get in touch to talk about your next private event.

theater on the lake shrimp roll

3. J. Parker

Perched atop the Lincoln Hotel, J. Parker offers a unique perspective with its 360-degree vistas over Lake Michigan and the city’s skyline. This high-flying bar offers excellent signature cocktails and a full menu of bar snacks and sharing plates. 

J parker outside patio

The indoor and outdoor spaces, both modern and stylish, can accommodate over 200 guests for all manner of private events, making J. Parker a stunning lakeside location for any party, private dinner, or special occasion, with full beverage and catering packages available.

j parker burger

4. Offshore

With the extraordinary claim of being America’s largest rooftop venue, Offshore occupies the entire third story of Navy Pier’s Festival Hall. The stunning location right on Lake Michigan offers unmatched views out across the water as well as back towards the city itself. Meanwhile, Executive Chef Michael Shrader brings to the menu all his experience training under Jeremiah Tower, a pioneer of Californian cuisine.

offshore terrace

Not a patch of the 36,000 foot space is wasted. The all-weather venue boasts a luminous bar and full-service restaurant complete with a 20,000 foot terrace, seven intimate fire-pit lounge areas, a gaming zone, and numerous event spaces for private gatherings.

offshore cocktails

So what are you waiting for? Grab up to 899 of your closest friends and get your event planned.

5. Miller Lite Navy Pier Beer Garden

Over on the East end of Navy Pier, you’ll find a different but equally appealing venue. The Miller Lite Beer Garden does exactly what it says on the can, providing a lounging space for beer-lovers on sunny days. 

miller lite beer garden

The 400-person space hosts daily entertainment, comfort food — like pizza, bratwurst, and burgers — a range of cocktails, and of course, buckets of ice-cold beers. It’s not just Miller Lite on the menu either; a range of craft and micro-brewed beers are on offer for the discerning drinker.

miller lite beers


Topics: cocktails, waterfront, al fresco dining, chicago, lake michigan

Written by Sam Sinha

The best venues in the world use Tripleseat to book events and streamline the planning process. Yours should too.
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