Experiencing the local nightlife is a quintessential part to any Hawaiian vacation, and luckily Maui has a few more options than the quieter islands of Kauai and Big Island. Maui nightlife is somewhere between Oahu (known as the busiest island with the best nightlife) and Kauai (bars rarely stay open past 10 p.m.). The island of Maui has something for luxury travelers and budget travelers alike, as well as those who wish for a beachier feel or a fine-dining ambiance.
As an island that relies heavily on tourism, many of the bars and restaurants on Maui are inside of resorts and hotels. This means that not only can locals enjoy playing tourist if they choose, but visitors can hop to different spots to experience an array of unique accommodations—many of which are world-class and located right on the beach. Don’t expect to find many clubs on Maui, at least not in the mainland United States-sense. Most liquor licenses only last until 2 am, even in the most populated areas, and the laid-back vibe that attracts so many to the island definitely translates into the nightlife.
Kahales is extremely proud of its happy hour, as it should be. The Kihei bar boasts the longest happy hour on the island, daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Along with the impressive happy hour, this bar is also the oldest dive bar on Maui.
On Front Street in Lahania, Down the Hatch also offers drink specials, live entertainment and a late-night kitchen open until midnight.
South Shore Tiki Lounge is everything you’d ever want in a Hawaiian tiki bar and more, from the tropical décor to the locally-inspired cocktails. It is almost always full of locals enjoying pau hanas(after-work drinks), and has won awards for its mai tai recipe and happy hour. After 10 pm, a local DJ spins tunes and it gets even more crowded. If crowds aren’t your deal, head outside to the lanai area to get some fresh air. With freshly-blended lava flows to appease the tourists and $4 beer, wine and house cocktails during happy hour, you really can’t go wrong.
Visitors staying near the trendy town of Paia shouldn’t miss Charley's Restaurant and Saloon, a north Maui landmark that’s been around since 1969. Charley’s is known for its small-town charm and old Hawaii-style hospitality.
In the mood for beer? Maui Brewing Company has locations in both Kihei and Kahana, with a rotating list of beers brewed locally by the company. While they have expanded to commercially sell their beer on the US mainland and further, the local pride is strong; some of their brews are only available at the Maui-located brewpubs and nowhere else. Not to mention, they are the largest craft brewery based exclusively in Hawaii.
Though Leilani’s on the Beach is part restaurant, part bar, part ocean-side grill, the bar is where you want to be for a breezy, casual atmosphere with killer drinks and amazing views. Right on Kaanapali Beach, Leilani’s location makes it the perfect hang out for anyone staying on Maui’s west side.
The Tiki Bar and Grill at the Kaanapali Beach Hotel offers live music and hula dancing every night, along with a daily happy hour. The bar prides itself on being the very first outdoor beach bar to open on the island of Maui, and their famous tropically-inspired cocktails keep both locals and visitors coming back for more.
If you’re feeling fancy, plan on grabbing drinks at the Alaloa Lounge at the Ritz Carlton in Kapalua. Maui No Ka Oi Magazinenamed it the best lobby lounge on the islands, and live music is featured nightly from Thursdays to Mondays. You can also catch a live hula show every night at 5:30 at the swanky Lobby Lounge at the Four Seasons Resort in Wailea.
The Dirty Monkey is Maui’s favorite sports bar. A younger crowd usually frequents this neighborhood joint on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays—they come for the shuffleboard tables and Jenga matches and stayfor the live DJ. There is always a good selection of sports playing on the many television sets and the live band entertainment begins as early as 3 pm. For picky drinkers, the Dirty Monkey features an impressive list of about 100 different whiskies and 15 craft beers on tap.
Every Friday, the whole of Maui County celebrates Maui Fridays, a nighttime festival celebrating the island’s food, crafts, music and community. On the first Friday of the month, the celebration takes place in the town of Wailuku just west of Kahului. On the second Friday of the month, the party heads to Lahaina, followed by Makawao in central Maui, Kihei on the southwest shore and Lanai. Maui Fridays is open to visitors and local alike, and is the perfect way to get an authentic feel for Maui County’s unique regions.
Also on Fridays, Lahaina Galleries hosts Art Night on Front Street in Lahaina. Complete with drinks, food and often works of art created especially for the event, Friday Art Night features a specific Maui-based artist every week. Check out the gallery’s schedule of events for more information.
A trip to Maui isn’t complete without attending a local luau, and as one of the island’s most popular activities, there are plenty to choose from. The Old Lahaina Luau on the beach is conveniently-located, family-friendly and considered one of the most culturally-authentic luaus. The Feast at Lele on Front Street is known for quality food—we’re talking five courses of dishes inspired by Hawaii, New Zealand, Tahiti and Samoa.
Tips for Going Out at Night
- Keep in mind that the bus on Maui doesn’t cover the entire island, though if you’re staying in the resort areas you should be covered. For the most part, bus drivers on Maui are friendly and experienced, so don’t be afraid to ask which directing you should be headed in.
- While previously confined to the busy island of Oahu, ride sharing services such as Uber and Lyft have begun to expand to the outer islands as well. On Maui, it may take a while to get a driver depending on where you are, but it is generally cheaper than a taxi if you aren’t in a hurry.
- Taxi drivers on Maui are usually well-informed and outgoing. If you’re staying at a hotel, the front desk will most likely be able to call a taxi for you when you need it.
- Stay close to your hotel or vacation home when going out to avoid paying expensive taxi fees.
- Technically it is illegal to drink alcohol in public in the state of Hawaii, but you’ll often see people trying to bend the rules on the beach. If ticketed, you could face a fine of up to $300. If you’re found driving with an open container, that number increases to $2,000 and possible DUI charges.
- Except for the occasional rare exception, Maui is typically safe at night for visitors. Minor petty theft can occur in the tourist-heavy areas, so hang on to your belongings when going out.