If you’re looking for an extensive variety of late-night bars full of clubbing and dancing on a Kauai vacation, you may want to rethink your travel plans. Those wanting a more vibrant nightlife may be better suited for Waikiki on the island of Oahu.
Kauai still has a lot to offer once the sun goes down. Visitors to the Garden Isle will have plenty of unique options from neighborhood hangouts to craft cocktails—just don’t be surprised when last call is a bit earlier than you might be used to.
Located in Lihue just a short drive from the airport, Duke’s is known for its open-air dining with ocean views and killer cocktails. While Duke’s has two sections, a restaurant and a connecting bar, the bar is definitely where you want to be for that famous aloha vibe and happy hour (daily from 4 p.m to 6 p.m).
Catch some local musicians playing in the bar on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Sundays during happy hour and late night live music on Fridays and Saturdays from 8:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Don’t miss out on trying their La Piña cocktail, a fresh blend of pineapple, coconut, and two types of local rum served in a whole pineapple.
A bar rich in both history and tradition, Tahiti Nui has been family-run in the town of Hanalei since 1963. There is live music every day of the week and special events such as line dancing and a family-style luau on Wednesdays, just to name a few. Come in from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. nightly to take advantage of happy hour with $8 mai tais, $3 beers, and $3 well drinks.
What beer-lover doesn’t enjoy checking out the local brews while traveling? At Kauai Island Brewery & Grill inside the Port Allen Marina Center, you can sample more than 10 of the bar’s own craft beers on tap as well as a couple of rotating guest beers. If you’re not into beer, the full bar also serves cocktails and wine (you will want to stay for the upstairs game room with retro pinball machines and gaming consoles anyway). The first Monday of the month is open mic night and happy hour is served from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. every day.
Tucked within the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa in Koloa, Stevenson’s Sushi and Spirits is a true hidden gem. The luxury-meets-plantation feel of this bar is tied together with a 27-foot carved koa wood bar, an outdoor seating area, and a cocktail list full of premium spirits. The sushi menu is served from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. nightly, but the lounge is open until midnight. For those traveling as couples and craving a bit more intimacy or a quiet scene, this may be the spot for you (minors are only allowed in until 9 p.m.).
Tiki Iniki in Princeville on the north shore offers American, Polynesian, and Hawaiian fusion with an old-school tiki bar feel. Serving up a huge menu of colorful drinks in a variety of fun tiki glasses, Tiki Iniki is open every day from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. (and yes, they do have several flaming drinks on the menu). If the exotic drinks, beers, and unique vibes don’t pull you in, maybe the fact that they source some ingredients from local farmers will.
Trees Lounge in Kapaa is known for a laid-back vibe and abundance of live local music. Enjoy almost any genre of music you can think of, from live jazz to latin music, country, reggae, blues, and dance. Open Monday through Saturday 5 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. (closed Sundays).
It doesn’t get any better than a good sports bar situated right on the beach. JJ’s is the place to be for Monday night football and relaxed views of Kalapaki Beach in Lihue. They’ve got all the island staples from mai tais to lava flows, as well as a full lunch, dinner, and pie menu. The substantially sized interior and outdoor patio makes this spot great for bigger groups too.
Kalapaki Joe’s sports bar claims to have the best happy hour on the island, and with $0.25 wings and $5 cocktails served daily from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., they make a strong case. This place is known for televising live UFC fights at their locations in Poipu and Lihue, making it a popular spot with locals. In addition to a broad list of cocktails, wine, and beer, Kalakapi’s also serves up breakfast, lunch, and dinner with something for the whole family.
Located inside the Rice Shopping Center in Lihue, Rob’s Good Times Grill is a local favorite with something fun going on every night of the week. Not to mention, it’s one of the only spots on the island open until 2 a.m. on select nights. Go for extended hours during football season, karaoke Mondays, swing dancing on Tuesdays, Wednesday night crab dinners, trivia night on Thursdays, steak dinners on Fridays, and club dancing with a DJ on Saturdays, all with happy hour and live music sprinkled in between.
You’ll find Kalypso Island Bar and Grill right off of Kuhio Highway in Hanalei. A happy hour of reduced drink prices and select pupus is featured daily from 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., running until closing time on Wednesday nights. Pair your drink with some of their Hawaiian-style pub fare and enjoy the casual feel on the open-air patio.