The waterfront deck at Reggies' 63rd Street Beach location in August 2019. Credit: Maxwell Evans/Block Club Chicago

WOODLAWN — A waterfront bar and eatery at the 63rd Street Beach house has expanded to include a balcony, cabana seating and watersports rentals, fulfilling a co-owner’s vision for the space — for now.

Reggies on the Beach, 6300 S. DuSable Lake Shore Drive, opened in August 2019, selling food and drinks at 63rd Street Beach.

The waterfront location was an expansion from Reggies’ home base at 2105 S. State St. — known for its live shows and rooftop bar— and opened during the beach house’s 100th year.

A 50-seat rooftop balcony opened in late June after negotiations with the Park District, co-owner Robby Glick said. It will occasionally be closed for weddings and other scheduled events, but it otherwise will be fully available to Reggies on the Beach, he said.

Opening the balcony “took us proving that we could run a business and run it properly with minimal issues,” Glick said. “We’ve always had our eye on [the rooftop] — customers would always say, ‘You should try to get that space up there.’ We were like, ‘Yeah, that would be awesome.”

A panoramic view of Reggies on the Beach’s new cabana space (left) and its deck, taken from the rooftop balcony. Credit: Provided

Also new to Reggies on the Beach this year are cabanas with lounge chairs and a table in a 50-by-50-foot area next to the main deck. They can be rented for $10 an hour per person or for $35 for four hours and $60 for eight hours.

The business has expanded beyond food and drink to include Reggies Waves, which offers kayak, jet ski and paddleboard rentals.

Jet skis are $75 per 30 minutes on weekdays and $99 on weekends. Kayaks and stand-up paddleboards are $25 per hour for up to three hours.

Prices “have lowered since we first opened” as Reggies got a feel for the rental market, Glick said. “They’re pretty reasonable, especially compared to everybody else on the lake. Obviously, you have to be completely sober to rent any of those.”

Though this season has seen more visitors than any in Reggies pandemic-affected time at 63rd Street Beach, it’s also been a “challenge” because of Obama Presidential Center-related road work, Glick said.

A traffic lane on DuSable Lake Shore Drive, the stretch of Hayes Drive closest to 63rd Street beach, a parking lot at 1987 E. Hayes Drive that serves as a popular gathering spot and portions of the beach’s parking lot have all been closed.

The road closures have caused confusion for potential customers, and the traditionally busy beach parking lot has seen even more crowding, given the limited space and closure of nearby lots, he said.

“It’s a scene out there,” Glick said. “There’s a lot of people hanging out — kind of like a carnivalesque feel. Vendors are lining the parking lot, and it’s fun and everyone’s chill, but it’s very hard for our staff and customers to park there.”

Reggies offers a shuttle to the beach from its 2105 S. State St. location in an effort to address the confusion, Glick said.

Reggies on the Beach will be open through September and possibly into early October, depending on how long nightly temperatures stay above 40 degrees or so, Glick said. Last year’s season ended Oct. 3, he said.

The lakefront bar hosts free live music 7 p.m. Thursdays and 4 p.m. Sundays.

Upcoming shows include the rockabilly group Old Grand Dad this Sunday, funk-soul outfit Sugarman Allstars July 14 and the experimental rock band Blue Dream July 24.

This year’s rapid expansion has left Glick satisfied with Reggies on the Beach in its current form, but it’s possible it’ll expand further in the years to come.

“I think this is it, but you never know,” Glick said.

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