OAHU, HAWAII — Several hundred restaurants and nightspots on Oahu can cause one of the biggest vacation dilemmas for visitors: “Where do we go tonight?” As the sun sets on Oahu, the night heats up and revelers begin planning their evening’s festivities. Oahu’s nightlife scene can best be described as a non-stop mix of high-energy entertainment and parties… all under one twinkling night sky.
Enjoy the sounds of Hawaiian music, dance the night away at a club, be entertained by a night show, or sing at a karaoke bar – there’s a choice for everyone. For some drama, the Hawaii Opera Theatre, the Hawaii Theatre and a number of Broadway-style productions may fit the bill. But no matter what age, fun and excitement won’t be hard to find among the spectrum of technicolor venues.
Ryan’s Grill is the casual yet sophisticated spot to be at any day of the week. Ryan’s attracts an eclectic crowd with its wide selection of micro/macro brews on tap, and an unsurpassed selection of tequilas and single malt scotches visitors won’t find elsewhere in Honolulu. (808) 591-9132 or www.ryansgrill.com
Finding an Irish pub in a tropical paradise might seem difficult, but the locals have discovered Murphy’s Bar & Grill is where everyone feels a bit Irish. A historical landmark established in 1896, restaurateur Don Murphy combines a tropical atmosphere with Irish tradition. Sports fans know that this is the place to cheer on favorite teams for televised games.
(808) 531-0422 or www.gomurphys.com
With more than 110 specialty beers from around the world, specialty cocktails and innovative, gourmet pizzas, Bar 35 has become one of Oahu’s hot pau hana spots. On First Fridays, an art celebration held in downtown Honolulu on the first Friday of every month, Bar 35’s fully stocked indoor bar and outdoor beer garden are packed with young professionals and hipsters.
(808) 537-3535 or www.bar35hawaii.com
Located adjacent to Bar 35 are thirtyninehotel and Next Door. Thirtyninehotel is an art gallery during the day and a club at night that features some of Hawaii’s best jazz musicians. Newly renovated, thirtyninehotel boasts a mod indoor bar and swanky outdoor deck complete with wooden loungers and large umbrellas. Next door to Bar 35 and thirtyninehotel is Next Door, a multimedia venue that hosts live bands and musicians, as well as local and nationally renowned DJs spinning dance and hip-hop music. Thirtyninehotel – (808) 599-2552 or www.thirtyninehotel.com Next Door – (808) 548-6398 or www.nextdoorhnl.com
Since opening in 2008, Kanpai Bar & Grill has quickly become one of the island’s most popular sports bars. Serving delicious, award-winning local dishes and nightly drinks specials, Kanpai stays packed until it closes at 2 a.m., seven nights a week. (808) 593-9202 or www.kanpaibarandgrill.com
Popular local hangout, The Shack, launched a new location in Waikiki at the Waikiki Trade Center on Kuhio Avenue. The Shack Waikiki is The Shack’s largest location and includes a dance floor, stage for live music, billiards, and arcade games. The Shack Waikiki offers daily food and drink specials. (808) 921-2255 or www.shackwaikiki.com
The Sheraton Waikiki is home to one of Oahu’s hottest nightspots, RumFire, which blends traditional bar and grill ingredients with private fire pits, unparalled views of Diamond Head and Waikiki Beach and a signature Rum Tower offering one of the world’s most comprehensive rum selections. RumFire also offers nightly entertainment, and Phoenix, a gay night, on the last Sundays of the month. (808) 922-4422 or www.rumfirewaikiki.com
Recognized as a fixture on the Waikiki scene, Hula’s is known as a cultural icon and a welcome refuge for Hawaii’s gay community. Throughout the week, guests can enjoy nightly drink specials, pool tournaments, dancing, and lots more. Set sail every Saturday on Hula’s gay catamaran cruise. (808) 923-0669 or www.hulas.com
Located in Aloha Tower Marketplace, Chai’s Island Bistro features fine dining in a relaxing local atmosphere with top local entertainers performing seven days a week. The sweet sounds of some of Hawaii’s most popular entertainers can be heard, complementing the creative and innovative menu of Chef Chai Chaowasaree. (808) 585-0011 or www.chaisislandbistro.com
Describing Duke’s Waikiki as beachfront is almost too simplistic. With a no-shoes-required policy, sand, sun and tropical winds are popular company to guests walking in right out of the ocean. Guests can enjoy its lively bar scene from early afternoon into the evening. Local bands play Hawaiian music nightly. (808) 922-2268 or www.dukeswaikiki.com
With views of ships arriving and departing Honolulu Harbor, Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant provides great scenery with good beer, food and music. Patrons can choose to dine in its restaurant with indoor, outdoor or harborside bar seating. Local bands play a variety of music nightly. (808) 599-4877 or www.gordonbiersch.com
Hula performances and Hawaiian music are elegantly presented by two former Miss Hawaii’s, Kanoelehua Miller and Debbie Nakanelua, at House Without A Key, Halekulani’s popular gathering spot for guests and locals alike. One of the favored traditions of the original Halekulani – sunset cocktails and Hawaiian music under the century-old Kiawe tree – has been preserved here. (808) 923-2311 or www.halekulani.com
Set on the docks of Koko Marina in Hawaii Kai, Kona Brewing Company’s Oahu location serves up its award-winning beers and delicious gourmet pizzas, pupus, sandwiches, salads, and desserts. From Wednesday to Sunday, relax to live, local music as you enjoy Kona Brewing Company’s handcrafted draft beers that can only be found in Hawaii. (808) 394-5662 or www.konabrewingco.com
Shopping followed by drinks: a great combination offered at Ala Moana Center’s Mai Tai Bar. This lanai bar is the perfect retreat to relax after shopping. Sit back and relax in plush tropical furniture while enjoying the sweet sounds of live island music. (808) 947-2900 or www.maitaibar.com
The most popular drink in Hawaii is the Mai Tai, and what better place to enjoy it than where it originated. The Mai Tai Bar is located beachside at The Royal Hawaiian, A Luxury Collection Resort, the legendary “Pink Palace of the Pacific.” Hawaiian music is played nightly from 4:30 to 10:30 p.m. (808) 923-7311 or www.royal-hawaiian.com
Club-goers who are not yet of legal drinking age can still enjoy Waikiki’s energetic nightlife at LuLu’s Waikiki. The popular Waikiki bar and eatery offers live acoustic, Hawaiian, hip-hop, rock, and reggae music throughout the week for those 18-and-older. (808) 926-5222 or www.luluswaikiki.com
More than the traditional luau dance performance, “Creation – A Polynesian Journey” incorporates special effects and illusions in its storytelling. The story explains how the islands of the South Pacific were created and shows the birth of the first man and woman from the earth as told by ancient legends. Guests will enjoy stories about a Polynesian voyage of love, battles of Fijian and New Zealand warriors and the coming of Hawaii’s statehood. (808) 922-5811 or www.princess-kaiulani.com
John Hirokawa, internationally acclaimed Hawaii illusionist, stars in Magic of Polynesia, a spellbinding stage production that features Waikiki’s largest cast of Polynesian dancers, spectacular magic illusions, music and state-of-the-art sound and lighting. Shows are daily in the OHANA Waikiki Beachcomber Hotel. (808) 971-4321 or www.magicofpolynesia.com
Society of Seven has headlined at the Outrigger Waikiki Main Showroom for more than 30 years and has the distinction of being the longest-running nightclub act in Waikiki. This dazzling group performs Broadway and Las Vegas-style numbers, dishing out steamy hot music and tropical humor. (808) 923-4450 or www.outriggerwaikiki.com
Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort & Spa’s Waikiki Starlight Luau takes places on the resort’s rooftop garden five nights a week and features hula and Polynesian dancing by Tihati Productions. The luau includes a dinner buffet featuring a modern twist on traditional luau fare. (808) 949-4321 or www.hiltonhawaiianvillage.com/luau
Paradise Cove Luau is set on 12 beachfront acres on the west side of the island. Before the Polynesian revue and Dance of Fire show begins, visitors are invited to walk through a small thatched village, try their luck at Hawaiian games and participate in craft demonstrations. (808) 842-5911 or www.paradisecovehawaii.com
Located on the grassy ocean lawn of The Royal Hawaiian, A Luxury Collection Resort, the Monday night Aha Aina dinner show is composed of three spectacular acts. Guests will experience traditional Hawai‘i with time-honored activities such as kapa-making (cloth made of pounded bark), dine on exquisite pupu, and witness the Helumoa story unfold in a dramatic performance commemorating Waikiki’s rich history and culture. (808) 923-7311 or www.royal-hawaiian.com
At the Polynesian Cultural Center, not only will guests be able to visit the Polynesian villages, they’ll also experience an authentic Hawaiian luau including a sneak peek at Polynesian entertainment to follow at the “HA: Breath of Life” night show. A full day of island fun awaits guests at the Polynesian Cultural Center. (800) 367-7060 or www.polynesia.com