If days spent lounging in the warm waters of the Pacific and the Fairmont Orchid's pool prove too strenuous, take heart – you can get away from it all at the hotel's eminently pleasant Kahakai Bar Oceanfront. Featuring a thatched roof and a floor of sand, this bar is the definition of casual and relaxed. Even the honu (Hawaiian green sea turtles) think so; they frequently come to laze along the shoreline near the bar in the afternoons. If you're hungry, order something tempting from the pupu menu. People looking to quench their thirst will love the fruity Sunset Cocktail.
Local Expert tip: Bring a camera, the views can't be beat.
Let go of your worries with the "Fredrico," the signature cocktail of this casual bar, which makes its home at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel. The view and setting here is absolutely amazing, with an expansive beach to gaze at as well as a gorgeous sunset if you make it in time. Hang out after dinner for a tiki torch lit atmosphere on the peaceful Kona coast.
Local Expert tip: Try the organic beet gazpacho and the mai tai.
Few things better complement a respite in paradise than an expertly mixed margarita and views of the surf rolling in. Fortunately, the Big Island boasts a place where you can enjoy both – festive Tres Hombres, which comes complete with a beach bum's ransom of surfing memorabilia. Here, Coronas are always ice cold, tequila is always potent, and chiles rellenos are always spicy. A "light" menu is available for those trying to count calories.
Local Expert tip: Come hungry and ready to drink.
Just across the street from the ocean is this relaxed venue, where live music can be heard Friday and Saturday. Classic rock and a selection of Hawaiian favorites are tops on the aural menu, and the food version offers plenty of variations on shrimp, chicken, steak, and pasta to sate your appetite. In addition to live acts, karaoke and belly dancing provide additional entertainment. Wander in from Coconut Marketplace and enjoy the show!
Local Expert tip: Catch live music on the weekends, and be brave enough for karaoke.
As the Big Island's only gay bar, Mask has a solid roster of regulars, and it's one of the friendliest, most happening dance clubs around. Everyone is out to have a good time, so expect a lively crowd and check your inhibitions at the door. Arrive ready to dance your toes off, and you'll have a blast!
Local Expert tip: Here is some of the best dancing around.
The pub at the Big Island's most famous brewery (choices are slim, but fame is fame, right?) is a terrific place to wind down after shopping. Brewery tours are quick and personal – an added bonus is that visitors over 21 get to sample the products. Kona's on-premises brewpub serves cold mugs of the brewery's top sellers, including Fire Rock Pale, Pacific Golden Ale, and Longboard Lager, and the cozy setting easily pulls you in, making it difficult to leave. Great Hawaiian influenced pub grub – pizzas, salads, and sandwiches – is also available.
Recommended for Bars because: Kona Brewing Company brews delicious local beers, and serves quality bar style food in a lovely atmosphere.
Local Expert tip: Go with a brew that's uniquely in season, the rest is always on the shelves.
One of the Big Island's top dance clubs, Lulu's can attribute its popularity to any number of factors – its ocean-side location, awesome open-air deck, or state-of-the-art lighting and sound. A favorite with the young and pretty sect, the bar stays hopping until well after old fogies have hit the sack, and professional DJs spin the hottest dance tracks until 1:30am or so. The menu features a variety of munchies, known as "pupus" to the local crowd.
Local Expert tip: This is one of the hippest spots for the serious party crowd in Kona.
Don't let appearances deceive you � there are no burgers and fries at this unassuming strip mall restaurant and bar, but you will find dishes like stuffed chicken breast with bacon and pine nuts, and artichoke, garlic, and cream cheese ravioli. Lunch features salads, sandwiches, and comfort food entrees (try the vegetarian pot pie). An even balance of meat and meatless plates keeps everyone happy, and the waitstaff are happy to suggest wine pairings for your meal. There's a full bar here along with local beers. This isn't a wild all night bar but I nice place to stop in and hang at the bar and meet people while enjoying quality drinks.
Local Expert tip: Try a local beer.
The younger, wilder sibling of the famous seafood eatery next door, this spirited joint is a terrific place to wind down the day and usher in the evening. Indeed, Huggo's on the Rocks is a popular outdoor bar and dance club whose specialty drinks and beautiful clientele always ensure a great time. A light bar menu features fajitas, salads, sandwiches, and tasty appetizers and offers a cure for the late night munchies.
Local Expert tip: Get ready to party!