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End a exquisite Big Islan day with tropical drinks and "talking story" at the island's best bars



After a long day of beach time, sight seeing, and cruising around the Big Island, it will be time to relax and enjoy some tropical drinks or a local beer at some of the hottest bars. At the island's best bars visitors and locals alike come together to "talk story" (socialize and chat) while enjoying drinks and pupus (appetizers) while observing the nightlife. Choices can be tough to make when it comes to food and drink, and here at 10 Best we know that. So we've compiled a list of the Big Island's ten best bars so you can have a fun and relaxing end to a fun and relaxing day.

If you're looking to relax in an upscale bar and restaurant with a delightful array of unique cocktails, local beers, and wines, drop by the Hilo Bay Cafe. Nestled in an unassuming strip mall in Hilo, the modern and chic decor transports you to a place that isn't just about beaches and surf. On the opposite end of the spectrum is Lulu's in Kailua, Kona, a classic bar in the way that the pool table keeps guests entertained for hours, the music is always loud, and the bar pours till the late night hours. This is a good choice if you want to dance. Also in Kailua, Kona is Huggo's on the Rocks. A wonderful bar on the ocean catering to an eclectic mix of both locals and visitors looking to meet people, dance, and watch the sun go down from the joint.

Whatever you're looking for, 10 Best has it covered here with out top ten bar list for you to enjoy when the hot Hawaiian sun sinks below the horizon.


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Kahakai Bar Oceanfront


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.

Read more about Kahakai Bar Oceanfront →


Gazebo Bar


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.

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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.

Read more about Tres Hombres Steak and Seafood Cantina →


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Bongo Ben's Island Cafe


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.

Read more about Bongo Ben's Island Cafe →




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.

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Kona Brewing Company: Kailua-Kona Pub & Brewery


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.

Read more about Kona Brewing Company: Kailua-Kona Pub & Brewery →


Lulu's


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.

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Hilo Bay Café


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.

Read more about Hilo Bay Café →


Huggo's on the Rocks


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!

Read more about Huggo's on the Rocks →


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Meet 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...  More About Jade

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