10 Best Bars on Kauai for Drinks, Dancing and Live Entertainment
By Jade Eckardt
Kaua`i is perhaps the most mellow of the main Hawaiian Islands, especially after the sun sets below the horizon. Although it's mostly known for it's perfect sandy beaches and clear blue water, there's still a good array of bars and lounges that offer dancing and live music. Although wild dance clubs with bright laser lights and loud bass are absent from the island, there is a generous amount of places to dance and socialize to local bands and music.
For those looking for laid back fun, check out Kauai's answer to the local dive bar. In Hanalei locals and visitors mingle together enjoying conversation, drinks, and live music at the local staple Tahiti Nui and Hanalei Gourmet. Also in Hanalei is Bouchon's Hanalei, offering good food and nighttime live local music and dancing in a modern restaurant atmosphere.
Out on the east side overlooking Kalapaki Beach is Duke's Barefoot Bar, which provides tasty and strong cocktails and beers right on the crescent shaped beach and surf break. Nearby is the Nawiliwili Tavern, and Rob's Good Time Grill, both providing a venue for sports on the big screen, full bars, and live local music on the east side in Lihue.
Days spent on Kauai's beautiful beaches, hiking its trails, and swimming in waterfalls will come to a perfect end with after dark dancing and fun.
10 Rob's Good Times Grill
Having trouble deciding what to do with your night? Rob's is always a good choice, and you'll find plenty to occupy your time. Naturally, the bar can set you up with your favorite poison, and the bartenders will probably introduce you to a few island drinks you haven't experienced before. There's also food to munch, TVs to watch, karaoke to partake of, live performers to enjoy, and dancing to be done. Reasonable prices and sociable patrons add to the fun as well. Rob's is located on the east side of the island, making it a short drive from most hotels. Open late to satisfy the night owls. (808-246-0311)
9 Nawiliwili Tavern
This relaxed neighborhood hangout is open late and offers plenty of late-night fun. Dancing, pool, darts, video games, TVs, and a rousing night or two of karaoke can all be found. Of course, sitting back with a cold one or a cocktail and taking it all in is permitted too. Friendly and laid-back, regulars make you feel right at home. Centrally located near the beach in Lihu`e, the tavern is located near many hotels, providing and easily accessible place to unwind. Kauai's gay community has made the first Saturday of each month their own with plenty of karaoke and drink specials. (808-245-1781)
8 Keoki's Paradise
Illuminated by tiki torches and surrounded by trickling streams and tropical vegetation, this lively, open-air establishment proves irresistible to patrons. The welcoming ambiance complements the menu, which boasts a wealth of fresh fish and steaks. Plus, Keoki's bar is a fantastic hangout for those who want to drink, socialize, and munch on appetizers and light fare. On weekends (usually Thursday to Sunday evenings), you'll catch live bands playing terrific Hawaiian tunes and folks dancing to the catchy rhythms. There's room for dancing and the establishment allows for people to have fun and let loose. Located on the south side, fun and beautiful. (808-742-7534)
7 Hanalei Gourmet
Although this casual restaurant serves food all day, it's also known for its nightlife scene. The venue holds court in a former schoolhouse, and it almost seems like sacrilege to enjoy loud music in the space. Still, patrons kick back at the bar and rock to live music, which is played several nights a week. The repertoire varies, so you may encounter jazz, island folk, or even rock when you come. Enjoy what's available, and if the munchies hit, take advantage of burgers, appetizers, fresh fish, and other light fare. Call ahead to find out what type of music to expect. (808-826-2524)
6 Duke's Barefoot Bar
The bar, like the restaurant at Duke's Canoe Club, takes advantage of the place's beachside locale and open-air ambiance. It's a great place to hang out with friends on its own or either before or after dinner upstairs. On weekends, local performers entertain guests with terrific Hawaiian music, and the place comes alive with folks grooving, dancing, and chatting. If you're enamored of the tropical experience but don't do alcohol, they also offer a menu of virgin drinks, full of island fruits and goodness. Duke's is located on the east side, which makes it a short drive from just about all hotels on the island. (808-246-9599)
5 Bouchon's Hanalei
Spacious and relaxed, this hip spot boasts an industrial feel, thanks to aged brick, exposed ductwork, and copper accents. It also features expansive windows, which fill the place with light and island views. Sushi and sashimi capitalize on fresh seafood, and entrees include pastas, fish, steaks, ribs, and chicken. In addition, live bands play several nights a week, everything from blues to reggae, rock to island-flavored tunes. Shows begin around 8:30pm or 9pm, although you're welcome to come and hang out at the bar with friends or have a bite to eat before the action gets going. A great North Shore gathering spot. (808-826-9701)
4 Stevenson's Library
Harking back to the days of its namesake, author Robert Louis Stevenson' this refined bar has the feel of a Victorian gentleman's club, thanks to dark woods, upholstered sofas, books, and parlor games. Other diversions include billiards tables, televisions, and a player piano. Single-malt scotches are a specialty, along with cognacs and ports. Best of all, live jazz performers play nightly, regaling patrons with soothing, satisfying strains. The ambiance is classy and upscale, and this is a perfect place to dress up a bit and relax. Located on the sunny south side and close to the resorts along Poipu Beach. (808-742-1234)
3 The Saloon
Mosey into The Saloon in the quiet south side town of Kalaheo. As part of Kalaheo Steak and Ribs, The Saloon keeps up with the heavy western theme decorating the entire building. The Saloon is one of the few places for nightlife in this part of Kauai, and that's why even for a small town bar, it gets busy with locals and visitors on the nights live music and karaoke are offered (there's a general love for karaoke across the islands). The full bar can mix up any drink you might like after dinner at the steakhouse, or along with the appetizer menu in The Saloon. Appetizers in The Saloon are expected bar food such as varied types of ribs, steak or veggie skewers, and chicken wings. Open 'till 12 am on weekend nights, The Saloon is one of the few places in the area to close its doors that late. Karaoke offers a selection of about 8000 songs, and draws a loyal array of locals along with a warm welcome to visitors. The Saloon Schedule Thursday: Live music with Wailoa from 6 pm 'till closing. Friday: Karaoke with Trish from 7 pm 'till closing. Saturday: Karaoke with Ernie from 7 pm 'till closing. Last Saturday of each month: Live music with The Goats from 7 to 10 pm. ((808) 332-4444)
2 Tahiti Nui
This colorful, relaxed place provides a healthy dose of local style and an authentic taste of traditional Kauai. The comfortable hangout welcomes folks craving homestyle sustenance, as well as those who come to enjoy a tropical drink and great entertainment. Every night, there's some sort of activity, be it karaoke performances, bands playing local tunes, or impromptu dancing. Fun-loving patrons and a casual ambiance guarantee its appeal in the eyes of North Shore natives and visitors alike. This is a staple with locals who live on the North Shore but visitors frequent the joint too. Located in the heart of Hanalei town. (808-826-6277)
1 RumFire Poipu Beach
Located inside of the Sheraton Poipu, RumFire Poipu Beach is a contemporary bar and restaurant experience with amazing views of the resort's Ocean Courtyard, Poipu Beach and the Pacific Ocean. As the newest addition to Kauai, and it's the sister of the original RumFire in Waikiki on Oahu. Offering nearly 180-degree ocean views from all of its 240 seats, RumFire is Kauai's newest hot spot for locals and visitors alike. Known for its exotic tropical cocktails, like mai tais, guava and coconut muddled drinks, mango mojitos and lycheetinis, RumFire offers some of the most exciting drinks on the island. Open Tuesday through Saturday, RumFire's menu serves food rooted in Hawaiian cuisine with an international influence that will satisfy and excite any palate. (808.742.1661)
About Jade Eckardt
Raised on the Big Island of Hawaii, Jade has traveled the world and doesn't intend to stop, yet the Hawaiian Islands are still her favorite place. She spent seven years living on Oahu and exploring the island. A regular visitor to Kauai, Jade recently authored a full-length Kauai guide book. She is a writer and photographer, whose work has been published in numerous regional and national magazines. When she's not writing, Jade enjoys a good beer, a good surf, and time in her garden with her son.
Read more about Jade Eckardt here.
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