Best Live Music in Honolulu

Best Places on Oahu to Listen and Dance to Live Music

The power of live music is undeniable. It makes folks feel good, it helps people relax, and it's the most fun type of music to dance to. Luckily for those in search of joy of sound, live music is on full display at a host of Honolulu nightclubs, bars and restaurants. From raging bars with rowdy live bands to upscale ocean side lounges with mellow music, Honolulu has it all when it comes to music venues. While many venues on the local music scene are clustered in the Waikiki area, terrific places to hear live music are also found on the North Shore.

Out on the North Shore Surfer, the Bar has live music is offered on a regular basis and karaoke happens every Sunday night. Opening at 6 p.m. daily, Surfer is part bar, part restaurant and part night club. Great happy hour cocktails are offers along with the full bar and classic Hawaiian cocktails.

In historic Haleiwa town is Banzai Sushi Bar. Delicious locally sourced sushi, a full sake bar, and hip crowd can be found all nights of the week at this small eatery. Live music happens on the lanai on weekends backed by surf videos on a large screen.

In Honolulu Duke's Canoe Club draws those in search of fun to great drinks, food and live music overlooking Waikiki Beach. The best places for live music on Oahu are as varied as the island's subcultures.


Hugely popular thanks to great music and incredible views of Waikiki Beach, this hotel nightclub is a sure bet any night of the year. Yet it's more than just a night club, you can also stop in for a few great cocktails before moving down the road. RumFire serves terrific European-Pacific cuisine, from fresh island fish and a grilled filet mignon to a wealth of flavor-packed tapas. Terrific cocktails and vintage rums add to the appeal, as does the daily happy hour, which often features DJ mixes and live bands. The atmosphere is upscale but friendly, and people often come with a group of friends for the most fun.

Recommended for Live Music because: RumFire offers delicious food and cocktails in a modern and hip atmosphere accented by live music.

Jade's expert tip: If you drive to RumFire, ask for parking validation.

Read more about RumFire →

Bringing the spirit of the Emerald Isle to the Aloha State, this lively pub and music venue provides all the trappings of the luck o' the Irish. Pints of Guinness are easy to come by; knock one back as you take in raucous performances of Celtic music, rock, and acoustic tunes that reverberate loudly through the small, square space. Music can be heard most nights of the week, so kick back with a beer and a beef cottage pie or a basket of fish and chips and enjoy the show. This Honolulu bar allows dancing, and friendly regulars chat each other and newcomers up.

Recommended for Live Music because: Kelley O'Neil's provides live music most nights of the week.

Jade's expert tip: Kelley O'Neil's offers whiskeys of the month, meaning special deals on certain ones for the month.

Read more about Kelley O'Neil's →

Set right along Waikiki Beach inside of the gorgeous Moana Surfrider Resort, this open-air bar offers the best of Hawaii, from balmy temperatures and gentle sea breezes to views of Diamond Head in the distance and terrific people-watching as well. This magical setting is right by the beach, as well as the resort's pool and hot tub. In the evenings, as the sun begins to set, folks gather for live music – both guitar and piano – and for hula dancing in the authentic manner. The combination of delights is a real sensory feast and an experience you won't soon forget.

Recommended for Live Music because: This beautiful beach side bar offers delicious drinks with spectacular views of the ocean and Diamond Head and relaxing live music.

Jade's expert tip: Arrive in time for sunset, the view is unbeatable.

Read more about Banyan Court →


Beer connoisseurs can find haven in Honolulu when they visit Bar 35. Situated in downtown Chinatown, this casual, upscale bar presents over 150 brews from over 20 different countries. Belgian to American, lager to porter, there is something that will suit every taste. Also, sake and a creative list of classic and house specialty cocktails are available. If you are daring, try their signature Cherry Bloom Princess or Red Lantern. Local DJs and live music keep the atmosphere upbeat and animated while catering to a mixed crowd. Happy is awesome here with exotic cocktails for just a few dollars, and the happy hour is actually hours.

Recommended for Live Music because: Bar 35 is unique. This dimly lit Chinatown bar provides live music, as well as private rooms to party in.

Jade's expert tip: Happy hour is 4 p.m. till closing on Mondays, 4 to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 6 to 10 on Saturday.

Read more about Bar 35 →

In tribute to Duke Kahanamoku, Hawaii's renowned swimmer, surfer, and Olympic athlete, this casual bar and restaurant in the Outrigger Waikiki offers patrons a wealth of island culture. Memorabilia, live Hawaiian music, fruity cocktails, and fresh local seafood are among the attractions that have folks returning again and again. Food is served all day, and the bar scene is constantly hopping, populated by lively barkeeps and folks from all walks of life. Celebrities occasionally make an appearance too, and the ocean side setting just seems to make mingling that much easier. This is a great place to feel the Hawaiian vibes and dance, eat and drink.

Recommended for Live Music because: Duke's is a Waikiki staple, offers great food, drinks and live Hawaiian music by the ocean.

Jade's expert tip: They've dubbed happy hour "aloha hour."

Read more about Duke's Canoe Club →

Surrounded by stately palm trees and manicured grounds and looking towards the ocean in the distance, this upscale establishment offers a perfect bridge between daytime leisure and nighttime pleasures. Ideal from the afternoon onwards, the place is a treat for wine, cocktails, and nibbles, when savory morsels accompany well-mixed drinks, and the sun begins to sink beneath the horizon. The Victorian architecture is a refreshing change from the rest of Waikiki, and the venue is shaded by a large beautiful banyan tree. When evening finally comes, musicians play live jazz and other soothing melodies, and folks revel in the civility of it all.

Recommended for Live Music because: Shaded by a banyan tree and overlooking the ocean, The Veranda is a lovely venue to enjoy live music.

Jade's expert tip: The Sheraton Princess Kaiulani offers free validated valet parking.

Read more about The Veranda →

Surfer, the Bar
Photo courtesy of Jade Eckardt

Always a good bet for nightlife, Surfer, the Bar is Turtle Bay Resorts new endeavor into nighttime entertainment. Opening at 6 p.m. daily, Surfer is part bar, part restaurant and part night club. Great happy hour cocktails are offers along with the full bar and classic Hawaiian cocktails such as the lava flow and the mai tai - their strongest drink. Live music is offered on a regular basis and karaoke happens every Sunday night. Other forms of entertainment like "Talk Story" on Wednesdays offer guests an inside look at the life of people in the surf industry via live interview. Call ahead of time or check the website for nightly happenings.

Recommended for Live Music because: Surfer, the Bar has live music most nights of the week and showcases a variety of genres.

Jade's expert tip: Happy hour is from 6 to 7 daily for appetizers and drinks.

Read more about Surfer, the Bar →

Banzai Sushi Bar
Photo courtesy of Tristan Kenney

Sushi, sushi, and more sushi - all made from locally caught fresh fish and seafood can be found at the North Shore's Banzai Sushi Bar. And yes, there's definitely a full bar boasting a varies amount of beers, wine and specialty cocktails. Live music happens throughout the week and it's best to check beforehand what's going on that night. In addition to the delicious menu and casual Hawaiian ambiance, Banzai Sushi is also a hot spot for nightlife. From a mellow bar scene to wild dance parties boasting unique and fun themes, Banzai Sushi is an all around fun place.

Recommended for Live Music because: Banzai Sushi serves amazing sushi, a wide array of sake, and has lives music on Friday and Saturday nights.

Jade's expert tip: Happy hour is 5 to 6 p.m. daily and they don't take reservations on Friday and Saturday.

Read more about Banzai Sushi Bar →

Located right on the edge of both the ocean and pool at Turtle Bay Resort, The Point is the place you'll want to hang at to get your night started with cocktails or to wrap up the day with an ocean side dinner. With amazingly strong mai tais with a special Turtle Bay mix, an array of local beers on tap, and a huge selection of signature tropical drinks, The Point is the best place on the North Shore for lunch of dinner by the sea or sunset drink. You can hang out of a couple hours after dark enjoying the big screen TV with sports and chatting with the friendly bartenders. Entertainment at dark varies on different nights of the week, including live music, fire knife dancing, hula dancing and other shows. You can watch surfers catch waves right there and go for a stroll along the water's edge. This is a perfect place to get the night started whether you're staying at the hotel or just passing through the North Shore.

Recommended for Live Music because: The Point is located directly over the ocean, with a pool, dining tables and bar in full view of a surf break and the sunset.

Jade's expert tip: Cocktails are served from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., food is served from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and a luau takes place every Sunday.

Read more about The Point at Turle Bay →


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