While seemingly endless natural beauty and outdoor activities are in abundance on the Big Island, wild, raging nightclubs have never been the Island's strong point. In fact, they don't exist at all. Partying on the Big Island is usually casual and low-key, but still a lot of fun. Rather than dancing to techno with laser lights till the wee hours of the morning, those looking to party in Hilo or Kona will find themselves in bars and restaurants that offer drinks, dancing and a semi late-night social scene.
Begin your night on Big Island with oceanside cocktails — Photo courtesy of Taz
On the Big Island, the partying happens in either Hilo or Kailua-Kona, no where in between. Kona is the resort area of the Island, and home to the most bars and restaurants. Here, the oceanfront street Ali'i Drive is dotted with a variety of bars and restaurants, all offering clear views of the ocean. It's easy to walk between venues, bar hopping through the night. Since most of the area's hotels are also close by, you can walk to your room or take a short taxi ride.
Offering a full view of the ocean and a wide selection of beer, Humpy's Big Island Alehouse is one of the newer additions to Kona. Popular with locals and visitors alike, the Alehouse offers live music and dancing most nights of the week. Nearby is Lulu's, one of the longest standing bars in Kona. With pool tables, DJs and live music, Lulu's draws solid crowds of locals and visitors nightly. Catch deals on Tequila Tuesdays at Lulu's from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Brews at Humpy's — Photo courtesy of Humpy's Big Island Alehouse
Just a few minutes of a walk away from these last two bars is the Kona Brewing Company, where delicious pub fare and an abundance of freshly brewed beers on tap are available. Try the seasonal brews that change often.
Over on the east side in Hilo, the party scene is a little slower. Your best bet here for late-night fun is drinks at Cafe Pesto. Located in downtown Hilo, Cafe Pesto offers delicious tropical cocktails such as lilikoi margaritas via table service or their bar. Meanwhile, nearby Hilo Bay Cafe - resting right on Hilo Bay - also offers a lovely bar scene, where you'll find locals and visitors hanging out and socializing till closing time.
If you happen to be in Hilo on the first Friday of a month, the newly enacted Hilo First Friday & Art Walk combines creativity and nightlife. This is where you'll find the largest gathering of people in Hilo after dark, and various restaurants and bars in the area open later than usual. All offer live music and other entertainment.
An idea of the scene at Lulu's — Photo courtesy of jebb