Exploring the Nightlife in Hawaii

Are you hoping to spend some time enjoying a little exciting nightlife on your Hawaiian getaway? The islands not only offer spectacular scenery and nearly endless opportunities for recreational activities and attractions, but you can also find some outstanding nightlife on Oahu and Maui and a few hotspots on the Big Island.

Kauai is known primarily for its beautiful beaches and incredible rainforests, but it does have a few places where tourists can go out in the evening. Generally, this rural island shuts down after sunset, and most go to bed early. It’s best for those who prefer a more remote, tranquil adventure.


Oahu is where things are really rocking—the epicenter of Hawaiian nightlife. On any night of the week, you can find great live music and dancing at a host of venues, including restaurants, bars and lounges as well as the many hotels and resorts throughout Waikiki.

Many people like to start the night off by heading to happy hour at Moose McGillycuddy’s Pub for cheap, strong drinks, including some of the best mai tais on the island. If you decide to stay after happy hour, be aware that it tends to become packed with a more rowdy crowd, mostly college-aged kids in their early 20s; if this isn’t your scene, there are plenty of other places to patronize in the area.

Yard House in the Waikiki Beach Walk and RumFire in the Sheraton Waikiki are popular with locals and tourists, while The Banyan Veranda is a great spot for live Hawaiian music in a more laid-back atmosphere. Duke’s Canoe Club on the waterfront is perfect for sipping a tropical drink as the sun goes down. Hang out to listen to the sounds of the surf and enjoy nightly entertainment.

If you hope to dance the night away, head to the Ginza Club, which has a massive dance floor that’s open until 4 a.m.


Those who visit Maui will have a fairly good selection of bars, restaurants and clubs for a night out on the town.

The Sly Mongoose in Lahaina is a great local dive bar with cheap, strong drinks, and it’s good to know it’s the only bar with A/C on the island. While it’s a little rough-looking on the outside, friendly locals and even friendlier bartenders are found inside. It’s ideal for those who prefer less-touristy establishments and would like the opportunity to get to know the locals.

Kihei is the livelier area of Maui, and for those looking for an upscale, trendy experience, the Ambrosia Martini Lounge will easily fit the bill. Their specialty is the martini, of course, but they also have a wide selection of wine and beer. The crowd tends to be pretty diverse, including a mix of locals and tourists who tend to be looking for a cozy yet elegant setting for enjoying cocktails.

The South Shore Tiki Lounge in Kihei offers the stereotypical tiki bar look, but their drinks are amazing and the service is fantastic. Made with fresh strawberries instead of a mix, the Lava Flow is a unique version of the mai tai, served in tiki cups that can be taken home as souvenirs. With a nightly DJ starting at 10 p.m., it’s also a great place to dance.

Even though Irish and Hawaiian sounds like a strange combination, Mulligan’s on the Blue on the south coast does it surprisingly well. Here you’ll find Polynesian and Celtic hospitality blended to create a wonderful “Irish Aloha,” complete with Guinness, an ocean view and a nightly live band.

The Big Island

The Big Island, like Kauai, is renowned for its many outdoor adventures during the daytime hours. It certainly does not have as many options for nightlife as Maui or Oahu, but you can still find a few places to experience a little more excitement in the evening.

If you’re looking for live music, it can typically be found in resort restaurants and bars on the Kohala Coast, like the Kahakai Bar Oceanfront, which has unsurpassed water views. This is a great place to kick back and relax under the thatched roof with your toes buried in the sand floor. Even the resident green sea turtles take time to laze along the shoreline here.

Huggo’s on the Rocks offers dancing and live music on the weekends, but anyone who wants to sit and while away the night can park at a table as close to the water as one can get without getting wet. This spot tends to attract a younger, wilder crowd and is best for those really looking to party it up.

The Blue Dragon in Kawaihae is a good choice for music and dancing under the stars every night of the week. They have a large outdoor patio and excellent drinks that use fresh local fruit.

One of the best ways to spend an evening on the Big Island is to sit outside on a clear night and watch the stars while sipping from a glass of wine. The island is consistently ranked as one of the best in the world for stargazing, far away from light and air pollution in the middle of the magnificent Pacific.

Grab a couple of beach chairs and that bottle of wine and you’ll be set for the night.

The next day, though, you might need to refuel with some of the strong coffee that Hawaii is famous for. The good news is that you don’t need to wait until you get to Hawaii to try the famous Kona coffee. You can order it right now from Koa Coffee and try these world-renowned coffee beans before you even arrive on the island!

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Hawaii’s nightlife is just as exciting as its natural wonders. You’ll never be short of things to do, day or night!