Who wants to go to sleep while visiting an island as spectacular as Hawaii? Night owl or not, this place is so rich and lively you'll want to stay up just to see what it looks like at every hour of the night. You might as well have a mai tai or two while you're at it.
It's no Honolulu, but Maui has a nightlife scene that could compete with most cities. You could say it's somewhere between Oahu (the busiest island with the most nightlife) and Kauai (where bars rarely stay open past 10 p.m.). The island of Maui has something for the luxury traveler and the budget backpacker, for the ones looking for a no-fuss tiki bar on the sand and others who are partial to the high-end ambiance of fine dining. Many of the bars and restaurants are located inside resorts and hotels. Kihei, located on the southwest shore, is home to so many night spots it's been dubbed the BARmuda Triangle. Don’t expect to find many clubs around here, though. Most liquor licenses only last until 2 a.m., even in the most populated areas, and the laidback vibe that attracts so many to the island definitely translates into the nightlife.
Maui bars are beachy and bright. You'd be hard-pressed to find anything but tiki-style hangouts save the few upscale lounges that are dotted around. After a day of snorkeling, seaside lounging, and hiking, treat yourself to one of those obligatory fruity cocktails at:
- Kahales: This Kihei bar is not only home to the longest happy hour on the island—running from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily—but is also the oldest dive bar on Maui. It's been serving up lime-garnished Coronas since the mid-'90s.
- Down the Hatch: Located on Front Street in Lahania, Down the Hatch is where you go for alcoholic shave ice and late-night seafood. The kitchen closes at midnight and the bar closes at 2 a.m.
- South Shore Tiki Lounge: From the tropical décor to the locally-inspired cocktails, this is everything you’d ever want in a Hawaiian tiki bar and more. It's almost always full of locals enjoying pau hanas (after-work drinks), and has won awards for its mai tai recipe. A local DJ beckons a bigger crowd after 10 p.m., but you can escape the chaos outside in the lanai area.
- Charley's Restaurant and Saloon: Visitors staying near the trendy town of Paia shouldn’t miss Charley's, a north Maui landmark that’s been around since 1969. It's known for its small-town charm and Hawaiian hospitality.
- Maui Brewing Company: Hawaii's largest craft brewing company has locations in both Kihei and Kahana. Although Maui Brewing Company now sells its beers on the mainland, some are only available at the Maui-located brewpubs and nowhere else.
- Leilani’s on the Beach: Part bar, part seafood grill, this laidback watering hole 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 west side hangout.
It's certainly no Vegas-style Hakkasan, but The Dirty Monkey is a lively Lahaina haunt that partygoers won't want to miss while bar hopping on Front Street. It has an impressive, neon-lit stage where DJs often play and a large, open floor on which to dance the night away. Sure, the Dirty Monkey is classified more under the "bar & grill" category, but arrive on a Thursday, Friday, or Saturday night and you may be treated to something a little more clubby. DJs take the stage as early as 3 p.m. Don't forget to take advantage of the extensive whiskey menu, featuring imports from all over the world. On weeknights, the calmer vibe allows for Jenga matches, shuffleboard, and occasional karaoke.
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 its famous tropical cocktails are a hit among both tourists and locals. If you’re feeling fancier, then Alaloa Lounge at the Ritz Carlton in Kapalua might be more your style. Live music is featured nightly from Thursdays to Mondays. You can also catch a live hula show at 5:30 p.m. daily at the swanky Lobby Lounge at the Four Seasons Resort in Wailea.
Every Friday, the whole of Maui County celebrates Maui Fridays, a nighttime festival filled with 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, it's held in Lahaina, followed by Kihei on the third and Lanai on the fourth Friday of every month. Maui Fridays are held year-round and are open to visitors and locals alike.
A trip to Maui just wouldn't be complete without attending a local luau, and as one of the island’s most popular activities, there are plenty to choose from. The conveniently-located and family-friendly Old Lahaina Luau on the beach has been called one of the most culturally-authentic luaus on Maui. Alternatively, the luau at the Feast at Lele on Front Street is served with five courses (inspired by the cuisines of Hawaii, New Zealand, Tahiti ,and Samoa).
Tips for Going Out on Maui
- Keep in mind that the bus on Maui doesn’t cover the entire island, but does weave through most of the popular hotels.
- 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. Stay close to your hotel or vacation home when going out to avoid paying expensive fees.
- Although it's illegal to drink alcohol in public in Hawaii, 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.
- Maui is generally safe for visitors at night. Minor petty theft can occur in the tourist-heavy areas, so hang on to your belongings when going out.