There’s nothing quite like sitting at a beachside bar, sipping on a cocktail, and enjoying a view over a beautiful expanse of clear water. 

No, we’re not talking about Barbados, but Chicago. Where else can you find the unique blend of exquisite urban eateries from some of the country’s top chefs, and the stunning waters of Lake Michigan?

We’ve picked out some of the best restaurants that provide excellent views out over the water, so you can experience the best of both worlds. Let’s just hope the weather holds out long enough to enjoy the view!

Shore Club Chicago

Take a trip over to North Avenue Beach for some of the best views out over the water, and the most mouthwatering seafood in town, at Shore Club

shore club

You can take in the expansive views through the floor-to-ceiling windows in the spacious dining room, or from the giant outdoor patio, right next to the beach. 

shore club interior

Both spaces offer dining from the club’s menu of waterside classics from around the world, including appetizers like salmon ceviche or jumbo shrimp cocktail, to signature seafood salads, to Thai chicken lettuce wraps or mini tacos for sharing. Finish off with fresh gelato or a key lime pie for a meal to remember.

shore club seafood platter

You won’t find a better spot for a combo of excellent hospitality, top-notch nosh, and outstanding views over Lake Michigan. And if you’re looking to hire out any of the spaces for a private party or dinner, get in touch with the team of event specialists today.

Castaways on North Avenue Beach

No list of waterside eateries is complete without Castaways, just a few hundred yards down the beach from Shore Club. This beach bar and grill couldn’t be closer to the water, and it offers a variety of options for hungry revelers. 


From the beachside patio, you can order a refreshing treat from the ice cream cafe, or a filling sandwich from the burger stand, as well as all manner of chilled beers, wines, and cocktails from the walk-up bars. 

castaways burger

The rooftop patio serves up a full grill menu of appetizers, salads, burgers, and seafood mains. It’s an excellent spot for a romantic meal but is also ideal for private parties, banquets, or corporate events for up to 500 guests.

castaways cabana


For a more food-focused venue that also offers excellent views over the water, Woodwind is an excellent choice. Chef Matt O’Neill delights diners with his playful concoctions, including plenty of seafood options — such as seared scallops with fava bean romesco — as well as meaty mains from the grill, from the Woodwind burger, to chicken and waffles, to pork belly tacos.

woodwind menu

All of this can be enjoyed while you gaze over Lake Michigan and beyond from 18 floors up in the restaurant’s elegant modern dining room. Woodwind boasts five event spaces including a delightful rooftop terrace, that can be rented individually or combined to host up to 600 guests. 

woodwind kitchen

So whether you’re hosting an intimate private dining function, a birthday bash, or a corporate cocktail gala, Woodwind is a classy choice complete with excellent views over the water.

woodwind view

Topics: ocean views, al fresco dining, beach, illinois, chicago restaurants, 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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