The Best Bars in Hawai‘i

Whether your taste runs to fruity tropical drinks, vintage wines, or a nuanced craft cocktail, from dive bars with live music to oceanside terraces with sunset views, the perfect island bar awaits.

2330 Kalakaua Ave #330, Honolulu, HI 96815, USA
Upscale food halls are having their day and here James Beard-winner and Michelin-starred chef Michael Mina takes a star turn. Of special note is the Myna Bird cocktail bar, inspired by Don the Beachcomber, the joint that kicked off the 1960s tiki craze. Expect rum, pineapple, and little paper umbrellas, of course, but also fusion touches like mezcal! Save space on your camera, as bartenders don’t hold back on the presentation. Strong, thoughtfully balanced drinks roll out in everything from cantaloupes to conch shells. Don’t miss the two-person, crowning glory of the Pacific Rim section: the Abandon Ship! It blends together two rums, chai tea, passion fruit syrup, Benedictine, and lemon.
49 N Hotel St, Honolulu, HI 96817, USA
From the team behind the hotspots Lucky Belly and the Tchin Tchin! Bar comes this casual approach to fine dining. Snuggle into this Honolulu Chinatown staple, below exposed brick walls and windows sheeting in soft light. Start with a playful craft cocktail like a peanut-infused Jim Beam Black with honey, angostura bitters, and Banane du Brésil. Then start exploring the seasonal menu, which can romp from garlic tuna spread to burrata with crisp artichokes and the Tavern Chop, a mélange of bacon, bay shrimp, avocado, radicchio, heart of palm, and corn sliced off the cob. Living up to the establishment’s name, the chefs do meat right, from the house-cured lamb-bacon sandwich to the delicious smoked prime rib dip.
4265 Rice St
This adorable structure built in 1930 shelters a microbrew pub. Start with one of its classic beers, like a malty lager or a dark Bavarian-style brew called Black Limousine. Kauai Beer Company (KBC) also serves kombucha on tap and root beer, both made in-house. Pair your beverage with snacks ranging from poutine-style fries with Gouda to a changing menu of sandwiches like pumpkin, beet, and chèvre, or a Cubano that’s crafted Hawaiian-style (think pork shoulder and seared Spam!). Opened in 2013 by Jim Guerber and his son Justin, this chill Kauai hangout spot appeals to residents and visitors alike. Be sure to check out its seasonal taps, featuring delicacies from an orange-zest-guava-star-fruit beer to hardcore hop-tastic beverages like KBC’s 200th batch: The Bicentennial Double IPA.
675 Auahi St #121, Honolulu, HI 96813, USA
The state’s first dedicated craft-beer café and boutique showcases over 500 brews in the up-and-coming Kakaako neighborhood. All seven Oahu breweries rotate through here, including Home of the Brave. This nearby brewpub not only produces great suds like the smooth Remember Pearl Harbor Lager, but it squeezes World War II memorabilia into its Brewseum ( The shop is especially strong on Hawaiian beers with seasonal flavors like Lanikai Brewing’s use of Surinam cherries in a sour or Honolulu BeerWorks drawing pad thai flavors into a Hefeweizen. Look for beers steeped in terroir too: Waikiki Brewing is smoking its own malt with local kiawe wood, while Aloha Beer salted a German-style Gose with ocean water!
39 N Hotel St, Honolulu, HI 96817, USA
An unmarked door in Honolulu’s Chinatown—between Bar 35 and Nextdoor—leads to this second-story watering hole. The name derives from the Chinese toast qing-qing (please-please), inviting guests to pull up a chair and stay a while. The booths, long bar, and rooftop patio make it easy, as do the excellent wine list and artisanal cocktails. Fancy a nibble while you sip? Snuggle into a white sofa underneath strings of Edison bulbs and dig into a Stinky Grilled Cheese (redolent with Taleggio and onion marmalade). Or choose among small plates drawing on French, Italian, Spanish, Greek, and Moroccan influences.
92-1001 Olani Street
Once the sacred retreat of King Kamehameha, who unified Hawaii, Ko Olina now also welcomes guests to the new Four Seasons Resort Oahu. Chef Ryo Takatsuka marries local flavors to Capri’s at this romantic restaurant, where outdoor tables soak up views of the sunset and stars. Wine Spectator gave it a 2017 award of excellence for its list, which runs especially strong on French, Italian, and Californian vintages. But don’t let that distract from its superb cocktail options like the Pompelmo (gin, grapefruit oleo, aromatic bitters, and egg white) or the Spritzer della Casa (Aperol, strawberries, Cocchi Americano Rosato, and basil tincture, finished with prosecco). The bar also serves an indulgent array of nonalcoholic drinks, including the Tutti Santi (Oahu passionfruit and Hawaiian honey graced with lime and sea salt).
2169 Kalia Rd, Honolulu, HI 96815, USA
Everything about the Blue Hawaii cocktail at the Shore Bird Restaurant says “tropical island paradise.” The icy blue color of the blue curaçao is enough to cool any sunburnt skin down and providing for a relaxed mood to enjoy the sun’s decent into the Pacific Ocean. The Shore Bird is a breezy outdoor restaurant where you can grill your own food, or simply sip on a beverage and enjoy pupus (appetizers).
2424 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815, USA
Every afternoon about 5:30 PM, islanders and connoisseurs of sunsets arrange themselves at their favorite beach side vantage point on the west and south shores of Oahu for a chance to see the legendary “green flash”. In all of my years of living in Hawaii, I have only seen it twice, but sometimes I think it was a result of a very strong Mai Tai and staring at the sun too long. If you’d like to try for a glimpse of this phenomenon, you might as well be sitting in a comfortable spot with a great drink in hand. SWIM is a poolside bar with views over the statue of Duke Kahanamoku out to Waikiki beach. On an upper deck of The Hyatt Regency Waikiki, you are above street level so nice treetop and beach views are yours. I recommend the Lychee Martini ( pictured). The pupus are really good here too and if you plan it right, might serve as dinner. If not, hop over to SHOR American Seafood Grill. Visible across the pool with indoor or outdoor seating, start with amazing Baby Kona Abalone with garlic herbed butter, the tremendous seafood tower or the catch of the day you pair with a sauce you select from the list like Pineapple Shiso Relish, Hamakua Mushroom, Soy Radish etc. Insider Tip : Valet your car gratis with purchase – so get your ticket stamped and tip your valet.
1936 S King St
Cocktails in Hawaii are likely to evoke tiny umbrellas, wedges of pineapple, and unnatural-colored liquid. Honolulu bar Pint + Jigger takes a different tack, mixing up cocktails like the Smoking Gun margarita, with smoked macadamia nut simple syrup and aged tequila. They also have an extensive whiskey list, nearly two dozen beers on tap, and another 40 in bottle, representing both local microbrews and globally known favorites. The gastropub menu is also a standout, serving many bar food classics like burgers and fish-and-chips made in-house, with suggested cocktail and beer pairings.
69-1081 Ku'uali'i Pl, Waikoloa Village, HI 96738, USA
If searching for turtles, sticking your feet in warm afternoon sand, and sipping a mai tai are your idea of a perfect day on the Big Island of Hawaii, you’ll want to loll about at Lava Lava Beach Club. A place where locals and tourists both feel comfortable to take a break, the adirondack chairs perched in the sand are a welcoming sight on the sunny shores of Waikoloa. The beach club’s island atmosphere and carefully crafted cocktails, including a coconut, ginger, pineapple, lilikoi-flavored Gilligan’s girl or the Okole Maluna (bartenders daily special), make this spot in the sand a special place. Patrons can also chill out with a Hawaii beer and energize from a “farm-to-beach” inspired menu that includes as many ingredients sourced from the Big Island as possible.
744 Front St, Lahaina, HI 96761, USA
Fleetwood Mac front man Mick Fleetwood is behind this bar and restaurant, located on a third-floor rooftop in Lahaina. Here, guests sip drinks under beige umbrellas while taking in views of the dreamy blue Pacific. To pair with award-winning cocktails like the Heart of the Jungle (Cynar, Velvet Falernum, coconut rum, and lemon juice), which comes in a tiki artichoke, executive chef Eric Morrissette serves a menu of elevated bar bites, fresh local fish, and meatier dishes like filet mignon with peppercorn reduction. If you’re not a cocktail person, know that the robust drink menu also features beers from Maui Brewing Co. and Kohola Brewing as well as exclusive wines like Krug Brut from Reims, Luberri Gran Reserva rioja, and even a Chateau Musar red blend from Lebanon.
605 Lipoa Pkwy, Kihei, HI 96753, USA
At Maui Brewing Co. in Kihei, visitors can take hour-long tours of the brewhouse, cellar, and packaging line, then adjourn to the tasting room with views of Haleakala and Molokini. There, they can sample beers, ciders, wines, and specialty cocktails while playing board games or simply taking in the vistas. Also on-site at the brewery is a restaurant with 36 craft and specialty beers on tap, plus a menu of burgers, fish tacos, and pizzas with MBC’s Bikini Blonde lager in the crust. Go for the live entertainment or the twice-daily happy hours, when you can enjoy steep discounts on house beers, classic cocktails, pizzas, and select appetizers.
75-5664 Kaahumanu Place
Located in the Courtyeard King Kamehameha Kona Beach Hotel, in walkable distance to shops of Kailua-Kona and right on the waterfront, the Billfish Bar is a great meeting place to plan the afternoon, or pause and rest before for an evening. The poolside establishment is a rejuvenating place to sit and recharge, or take a cooling dip. Mai-tini, Kona Itch, and the King Kamehameha Big Island Punch are eye catchers on the menu, but I’d opt for the lilikoi mimosa—a tropical twist on the brunchy champagne beverage. The bar also has a full food menu that includes fish tacos, salads, poke, nachos, and pizzas.
64-1066 Mamalahoa Hwy, Waimea, HI 96743, USA
Inspired by Hawaii itself, the Big Island Brew Haus blends Island-grown ingredients into their own creative concoctions like Mele Mai Bock, Pau Hana Pale Ale, and Overboard Ipa. Like any pub, the Big Island Brew Haus brings people together over porters, stouts, and lagers. Live music creates a livelier atmosphere and the food selection keeps people around for dinner. Tacos are the main event on the menu, but there are plenty of other choices from vegetarian dishes to grilled Big Island steak. For the extra thirsty folks, the Brewhaus provides beer to-go in refillable jars. The jars are great for the environment and encourage people to keep coming back.
2255 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815, USA
For an evening out that includes tropical concoctions, a brilliant sunset venue, a warm and passionate atmosphere, and a beachside locale in Waikiki, I enjoy spending an evening at RumFire at the Sheraton Hotel. The people watching is plentiful with swimmers in an infinity pool, beachcombers wandering by, and surfers in the ocean beyond the beach. Lanky palm trees sway overhead while Diamond Head stands prominently in the distance. RumFire is the perfect way to relax at the end of a day.
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