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10 Best Places for After-Dark Fun on the Big Island



The Big Island may not deliver nightlife like Honolulu, but it offers its fair share of nightlife. On the east side in Hilo you'll find local style bars and hangouts where you can mingle with Big Island residents and enjoy great drinks accompanied by conversation. In Kailua-Kona those in search of after dark fun can have their pick between low key bars, elegant lounges, and truly raging night clubs. Relax and enjoy a cocktail while watching the sunset or dance till the wee hours of the morning, and pick from the array of offerings on the Big Island.

Over at the Kona Brewing Company at the other in Kailua, truly amazing beer and food add up to a perfectly fun, but still somewhat mellow night. For those looking for a classy and elegant night out, head out to the Lava Lounge located ocean side in a beautiful resort.

Over in Hilo on the East Side, a quintessential dive bar called the Hilo Town Tavern draws locals in on weekends nights. Dancing and live music prevails on weekends, and the crowd is a window into local culture. Also in Hilo is Pineapples, a new hip restaurant with an eclectic cuisine, hot bar, and live music throughout the week.

On the Big Island nightlife can be found from the east to the west side. Whether visitors are looking to dance all night long or relax by the sunset, the Big Island delivers.


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As a family owned and operated restaurant in downtown Hilo, Pineapples brings fresh, local ingredients to a menu of Pacific Rim cuisine. Located in Hilo's historic Pineapple Building, the restaurant take advantage of an open air, corner location with a full view of the hip neighborhood. A full bar pours exotic tropical cocktails such as the Coconut Dream and the Kohala Cooler. The menu features a combination of Pacific Rim, Mediterranean and Asian inspired dishes. Whether you're in the mood for olive tapenade, vegetable tempura, a curry, or steak or fish plate, you'll find a varied selection of dishes to choose from. Pineapples embraces its community featuring artwork in the restaurant by local artists from One Gallery, located across the street. Live music is features Tuesdays through Sundays, with an array of local musicians.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: Pineapples is one of the newest spots in Hilo for live music and late night fun.

Jade's expert tip: Pineapples offers a 10 percent discount to active duty military personnel.

Read more about Pineapples →




At the bottom of Big Island's Kalapana Highway outside of Pahoa lies Uncle Robert's Awa Club, the district's newest foray into socializing, food, shopping and nightlife. In fact, it's the only place to shop for miles around until returning back to Pahoa. Named after the patriarch of the Keli`iho`omalu family that's lived on the four-acre compounds for decades, Uncle Robert's has taken off and turned into a hot spot for locals. Each Wednesday evening the outdoor market takes place and draws a wide array of local farmers, artists, craftsman, and entertainers. Among the shopping and food, live music jams all night long and people dance and drink beer from the "donation bar." This is an ideal place to experience the local culture. It's fast become a gathering place for people not only to eat and shop, but to socialize, share and expand their connections.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: This night market, bar and live music stage is a place to experience truly unique, local style nightlife.

Jade's expert tip: Don't arrive at the market till around dark.

Read more about Uncle Robert's Awa Club →




Oceans Sports Bar & Grill is a sports bar, restaurant, and after dark hot spot all in one. Located across from the ocean in Kailua-Kona, "Oceans," as it's been dubbed by the locals, is great for couples or family meals during the day but turns into a late night place to hang out for the 21 and over crowd. Friday and Saturday nights are best for those looking for a party, and on these nights guests will usually find live music, a DJ, and themed nights. Several pool tables can be found here, which can be utilized at any time of day. Multiple large flat screen TVs deliver sports games and happy hours has drinks and food.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: Oceans is part sports bar, part night club that offers live music, DJs, pool tables and a dance floor.

Jade's expert tip: Live music and DJs are offered at Ocean's on Thursday through Saturday evenings.

Read more about Oceans Sports Bar & Grill →


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Blue Dragon Restaurant & Musiquarium


Blue Dragon Coastal Cuisine & Musiquarium is known for giving guests a really good time. Always crowded with locals and visitors alike dancing away the evening and taking breaks for bites of delicious food. The menu is locally based and presents local fish, meats and produce. The menu also notes which items are vegetarian, vegan and/or gluten free. The live music is a big draw here, and often times the place turns into a club like atmosphere. Children are welcome and there's a keiki menu, but it's best to bring them earlier on in the night before the party scene gets going.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: Blue Dragon is a new venue along the Kona Coast that offers a unique music and dance platform along with great food and drinks.

Jade's expert tip: Check out their website for the week's musical guests.

Read more about Blue Dragon Restaurant & Musiquarium →


Huggo's on the Rocks


The younger, wilder sibling of the famous seafood eatery next door called Huggo's, 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 under a thatched roof 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. Watch the sunset, and whales jump in season. Located in the heart of Kailua, you can easily walk to other bars and clubs and explore the town. (808-329-1493)

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: Huggo's is a Kona staple that is the after dark alternative to it's sister restaurant, and offers dancing by the ocean.

Jade's expert tip: Get ready to party!

Read more about Huggo's on the Rocks →


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. Check out the seasonal brews and take advantage of them before their gone.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: Kona Brewing Company brews delicious local beers, and serves quality bar style food in a lovely atmosphere.

Jade's 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 →




Around 6 p.m. on the first Friday of every month, the First Fridays Hilo Art Walk takes place in the downtown Bayfront area of Hilo on Big Island. The somewhat sleepy town comes alive as locals and visitors alike come out to celebrate everything local and creative. From vendor booths on the streets selling handmade jewelry, pottery, paintings and clothing, to bars and art galleries opening up for live music and poetry readings, Hilo Art Walk is an awesome addition to the Hilo nightlife. Each First Friday, the crowds are larger than the last, the vendors are more abundant and more people arrive for open mic performances. Live music happens on the street and in many a bar and restaurant.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: First Friday in Hilo is a night for celebration of all things art related, highlighted by live music, dancing, and socializing.

Jade's expert tip: Have drinks and dinners beforehand at Pineapples or Cafe Pesto right in the area.

Read more about First Friday Hilo Art Walk →


Hilo Town Tavern
Photo courtesy of Pete


The Hilo Town Tavern is Hilo's answer to the classic dive bar. The full bar with local beers on tap can make just about anything a guest could want, but don't expect anything too fancy or gourmet. There's always an equal blend in here of college students, locals, regulars and visitors. Open mic happens every Tuesday night with no cover charge. A porch area provides space and fresh air, while a pool table and game room a big draw for a lot of people. The menu has standard bar food offerings but with a local twist. Live music happens most nights of the week, with official concerts - booked popular bands - taking place also. Look around town for flyers or call to find out about those. A dance floor happens most nights of the week, and patrons can feel free to let loose on it.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: Hilo Town Tavern is the east side's answer to the quintessential dive bar, but offers live music and dancing.

Jade's expert tip: Open mic is always fun and happens on Tuesday nights.

Read more about Hilo Town Tavern →




"For beer lovers, by beer lovers" is the slogan at Humpy's Alehouse where a huge array of beers on tap and really good bar food make for happy days and fun filled nightlife. Humpy's is the new spot in Kailua Kona for live music and nighttime entertainment. DJs and live bands both grace the stage. Located on Kailua's main and front street along the ocean, the pub is centrally located to be enjoyed while shopping, at the beach, or eating elsewhere along the strip. It's a popular hangout with both locals and visitors alike so you'll get the best of both worlds.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: Humpy's is a local style ale house offering DJs and live music throughout the week.

Jade's expert tip: Check out the website to find out about live music nights.

Read more about Humpy's Big Island Alehouse →


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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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