Just the scent of La Bamba's authentic Mexican cuisine will have your taste buds dancing in anticipation of the good things to come. Substantial portions of all the hearty standards ensure that no one goes hungry, and you'll be hard-pressed to finish off a plate of chiles rellenos or aromatic fajitas in one sitting. It's even more trying given that all entrees come with sides of beans and rice. Still, no one complains since the abundance of food only makes the affordable prices that much nicer.
Local Expert tip: Happy hour is 3 to 5 p.m.
Hip, gleaming Bar Acuda is a chef-run business that has taken the island by storm. Intent on creating stylish atmosphere and scrumptious food, the North Shore place is a great destination for dinner and drinks with friends or with a romantic interest. Diligently searching out top ingredients, chef Jim Moffat crafts them into dishes like lobster-stuffed squid, roast chicken panzanella, and slow-braised beef short ribs. A carefully chosen wine list highlights vintages from western Europe and the western US, and a fantastic social scene is part and parcel of the goings-on. Note that the bar is closed on Mondays. This is by far one of the best spots for a groups of friends to hand out at night.
Recommended for Happy Hour because: Bar Acuda is Kauai's newest and most modern eatery, serving an eclectic selection of food and drinks.
Local Expert tip: They're only open for dinner, so plan accordingly.
This relaxed neighborhood hangout is open late and offers plenty of late-night fun. Dancing, pool, darts, video games, TVs, and a rousing night or two of karaoke can all be found. Of course, sitting back with a cold one or a cocktail and taking it all in is permitted too. Friendly and laid-back, regulars make you feel right at home. Centrally located near the beach in Lihu`e, the tavern is located near many hotels, providing and easily accessible place to unwind. Kauai's gay community has made the first Saturday of each month their own with plenty of karaoke and drink specials.
Recommended for Happy Hour because: This is Kauai's answer to the neighborhood bar where everyone knows each others names and good times are had.
Local Expert tip: Fun option for a pool table and karaoke.You can probably catch your favorite sports game here.
Having trouble deciding what to do with your night? Rob's is always a good choice, and you'll find plenty to occupy your time. Naturally, the bar can set you up with your favorite poison, and the bartenders will probably introduce you to a few island drinks you haven't experienced before. There's also food to munch, TVs to watch, karaoke to partake of, live performers to enjoy, and dancing to be done. This is the type of local bar where everyone knows each other, and it's a casual place. Reasonable prices and sociable patrons add to the fun as well. Open late to satisfy the night owls.
Local Expert tip: Two daily happy hours, 3 to 6 and 8 to 10.
Illuminated by tiki torches and surrounded by trickling streams and tropical vegetation, this lively, open-air establishment proves irresistible to patrons. The welcoming ambience complements the menu, which boasts a wealth of fresh fish and steaks. Plus, Keoki's bar is a fantastic hangout for those who want to drink, socialize, and munch on appetizers and light fare. On weekends (usually Thursday to Sunday evenings), you'll catch live bands playing terrific Hawaiian tunes and folks dancing to the catchy rhythms. Fun and beautiful, the atmosphere is made up of a waterfall, stream, fish and turtles, and other man made yet natural wonders.
Local Expert tip: Aloha hour runs daily form 3 to 5.
Although this casual restaurant serves food all day, it's also known for its nightlife scene. The venue holds court in a former schoolhouse, and it almost seems like sacrilege to enjoy loud music in the space. Still, patrons kick back at the bar and rock to live music, which is played several nights a week. The repertoire varies, so you may encounter jazz, island folk, or even rock when you come. Enjoy what's available, and if the munchies hit, take advantage of burgers, appetizers, fresh fish, and other light fare. Call ahead to find out what type of music to expect.
Recommended for Happy Hour because: Part restaurant, part late night hang out, Hanalei Gourmet is always a good time.
Local Expert tip: Happy hour runs from 3:30 to 5:30.
This colorful, relaxed place provides a healthy dose of local style and an authentic taste of traditional Kauai. The comfortable hangout welcomes folks craving homestyle sustenance, as well as those who come to enjoy a tropical drink and great entertainment. Every night, there's some sort of activity, be it karaoke performances, bands playing local tunes, or impromptu dancing. Fun-loving patrons and a casual ambiance guarantee its appeal in the eyes of North Shore natives and visitors alike. This is one of those tried and true local spots where residents have been flocking to forever. It's definitely a local watering hole.
Local Expert tip: Go casual for a night out here.
The bar, like the restaurant at Duke's Canoe Club, takes advantage of the place's beachside locale and open-air ambiance. It's a great place to hang out with friends on its own or either before or after dinner upstairs. On weekends, local performers entertain guests with terrific Hawaiian music, and the place comes alive with folks grooving, dancing, and chatting. If you're enamored of the tropical experience but don't do alcohol, they also offer a menu of virgin drinks, full of island fruits and goodness. You can take a romantic walk on the beach after dancing to cool off and get some privacy.
Local Expert tip: Aloha Hour is from 4 to 6 p.m. daily.