Best Live Music in Kauai

Best Places on Kauai for Live Music and Dancing

The power of live music to make folks feel good is on full display at a host of Kauai night clubs. If listening to bands and vocalists show off their skills is how you like to spend an evening, you'll find that Kauai does things right. Multiple options let you tap into the venues that 10Best readers favor like Tahiti Nui, a tried and true nightlife spot for locals. Or you can get a taste of the city's offerings by visiting places like Stevenson's Library, which is known for its Jazz music, class, and high end fun.

While many venues on the local music scene are clustered in the Hanalei area, know that terrific places to hear live music can be found throughout Kauai. Over on the south side in sunny Poipu, Keoki's Paradise offers live music on weekends. The local scene flocks here to a bar where everybody knows each other's name for great food and good times. On the beach on the east side is Duke's Barefoot Bar, and after dark spot where locals and visitors gather to dance and eat with live music many nights of the week.

So no matter where you are you will be able to find after dark fun dancing and socializing with live music to set the mood. Our guide to the 10 best places for live music on Kauai is sure to satisfy.


At Lava's inside of the Sheraton Kauai, you can enjoy views of the sunset on Poipu Beach along with handcrafted and unique tropical drinks. Because it's located inside the Sheraton, there's a Sheraton dink of the day that changes daily. Happy hour happens daily from 3 to 5 p.m. and a late night happy hour from 9 to 11 p.m. Located near the resort's Ocean Pool and just steps from the beach, Lava's put's a Hawaiian style twist on the traditional bar and grill. Signature cocktails include the mai tai, lava flow, frozen coco mojito, and the kama'aina mango rita. Evening pupus (appetizers) include light fare such as salads, nachos and a hummus plate.

Recommended for Live Music because: Lava's serves exotic cocktails accented by live music with a gorgeous ocean view.

Jade's expert tip: There's two happy hours here. One from 3 to 5 p.m. and later from 9 to 11 p.m.

Read more about Lava's on Poipu Beach →

Stevenson's Library
Photo courtesy of Chris Corwin

Harking back to the days of its namesake – author Robert Louis Stevenson – this refined bar has the feel of a Victorian gentleman's club, thanks to dark woods, upholstered sofas, books, and parlor games. Other diversions include billiards tables, televisions, and a player piano. Single-malt scotches are a specialty, along with cognacs and ports. Best of all, live jazz performers play nightly, regaling patrons with soothing, satisfying strains. There's great ambiance which is unique to the rest of the nightlife on the island. Rather than beach casual, the Library is upscale, classy and high end, and resembles an old school lounge.

Recommended for Live Music because: This upscale, refined bar is unique from others on the island, and showcases live music in an elegant atmosphere.

Jade's expert tip: Dress formal for the Library.

Read more about Stevenson's Library →

A carefree, party atmosphere awaits at Tradewinds. Daily drink specials keep spirits lively, as does a lineup of local bands performing blues, bluegrass, rock, and Hawaiian music. They typically play on Fridays and during special events. Karaoke is also wildly popular, and the charismatic director will help you select one of over 4,500 songs to bring the house down. No food is served, but patrons can have food delivered to the bar from local restaurants should they get hungry. This is one of the more party oriented spots on Kauai, and it's a good place to let loose and dance the night away.

Recommended for Live Music because: Tradewinds offers drinks only - food can be delivered - as well as karaoke, live music, and dancing.

Jade's expert tip: Try one of the daily drink specials.

Read more about Tradewinds →

Hukilau Lanai Restaurant

Capture the laid-back spirit of the islands with an evening at this low-key restaurant, which boasts a comfortable lanai, gently illuminated by torches. It's a great place to catch live music and a delicious meal of local style dishes and seafood. The entertainment is usually traditional Hawaiian tunes, which can be heard on Wednesdays and Fridays from 6:30pm to 9:30pm. Here you can dress up a bit or go casual. Hukilau is a local staple for after dark fun and music, and you're bound to meet a few new people while you spend time here. Hukilau is a traditional dance.

Recommended for Live Music because: Hukilau is the go-to place for live music and cocktails six nights a week.

Jade's expert tip: Music is offered Tuesdays through Sundays from 6 to 9 p.m.

Read more about Hukilau Lanai Restaurant →

Kalapaki Beach
Duke's Barefoot Bar
Photo courtesy of dukes

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.

Recommended for Live Music because: Duke's is a Hawaiian staple for live music, cocktails, Hawaiian food, and dancing on the beach.

Jade's expert tip: Come early enough for the sunset, the venue is right on the water.

Read more about Duke's Barefoot Bar →

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 Live Music because: Part restaurant, part late night hang out, Hanalei Gourmet is always a good time.

Jade's expert tip: Happy hour runs from 3:30 to 5:30.

Read more about Hanalei Gourmet →

Tahiti Nui
Photo courtesy of the nui

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.

Recommended for Live Music because: Tahiti Nui is where the locals go for a fun night with strong drinks, live music, good times.

Jade's expert tip: Go casual for a night out here.

Read more about Tahiti Nui →

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.

Recommended for Live Music because: Keoki's is a unique tropical bar and restaurant that offers live local music on weekends.

Jade's expert tip: Call ahead to learn what music you'll find.

Read more about Keoki's Paradise →

This lovely North Shore lounge is a delightful destination if you simply want to relax with a fruit-tinged cocktail and the beauty of pastel-hued sunsets. However, the place also charms those who love island music and jazz rhythms. Music, in fact, is so prominent that the lounge itself was named after a song from the musical "South Pacific." On any given night, you'll likely encounter hula dancing, steel guitar, and contemporary Hawaiian tunes. Plus, Sunday's well-attended Jazz Jam draws some of the genre's top performers. This is one of the rare places on Kauai where you'll need and want to dress up to fit the level of class here.

Recommended for Live Music because: Happy Talk regularly showcases hula dancing, steel guitar, and contemporary Hawaiian tunes.

Jade's expert tip: Dress up for the Happy Talk, it's an upscale place.

Read more about Happy Talk Lounge →


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