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Hawaii Nightlife

Café Marc Aurel
28 North Market Street
Wailuku , Hawaii
Tel: 808 244 0852

This lovely French-style coffeehouse and wine bar would be more suited to New York, if it weren't for the tropical smoothies—ice cold, all-fruit creamy concoctions—that are perfect for a hot Maui afternoon. The organic espressos and killer gourmet cheese plates are a good change from the more typical island offerings, though most people come here for the wines—there are over 80 selections by the glass and an open tasting every Saturday. This cafe is a good place to get a snack (try the delicious salads and sandwiches) after 9 pm, and there's live music with no cover charge (Monday night's open mic can be hit or miss, try Tuesdays for Brazillian jazz). Be warned, this Market Street strip gets a little seedy at night.

Casanova Italian Restaurant & Deli
1188 Makawao Avenue
Makawao , Hawaii
Tel: 808 572 0220

This is good as it gets on Maui—a modest Italian restaurant in the little cowboy town of Makawao that turns into a funky bar–disco late at night. The crowd is sometimes very young—mostly early to mid-20s—but it's a sun-kissed and fun-loving scene. It's not a standing around or standing-off kind of place: People get up and dance (albeit to some really predictable music). Ladies Night (currently on Wednesdays, but call to confirm) is the hot ticket—women get in free and visitors (new blood) get a lot of attention.

142 Hana Highway
Paia , Hawaii
Tel: 808 579 9453

This divey saloon and pool hall, ceremoniously decorated with pictures of its patron saint, country singer and local resident Willie Nelson (who is rumored to be part owner), throws down a makeshift dance floor on the weekends. It's a haphazard sort of party, but the locals love to let their hair down here, making it the perfect spot to begin an island-style lost weekend. On occasion, Nelson does play here, sometimes with friends like Bonnie Raitt, who might be in town to perform at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center. It's unlikely you'll get into one of these private shows, but just stand in the parking lot for a free concert.

Open Mondays through Saturdays.

Doraku Waikiki
Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center, Third Floor
2233 Kalakaua Avenue
Honolulu , Hawaii
Tel: 808 922 3323

Waikiki is striving to become the new South Beach, so it's fitting that Kevin Aoki chose it as the location of his outpost of Lincoln Road sushi mainstay Doraku. Aoki, son of Benihana's Rocky Aoki, serves only mediocre food, but this large, comfortable restaurant and bar on the top floor of the refurbished Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center has found its niche as a place to see and be seen. It's often the first stop on the nightlife crawl, so order up a flight of sake (there are 20 options) or a classic cocktail, and see where the night leads. DJs spin on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays starting around 9 pm.

Sundays through Thursdays 11:30 am to 3 pm and 5 pm to midnight, Fridays and Saturdays 11:30 am to 3 pm and 5 pm to 2 am.

Haleiwa Joe's
66-011 Kamehameha Highway
Haleiwa , Hawaii
Tel: 808 637 8005

This North Shore standard with great sunset views over the harbor is a hub for local thirtysomething surfers, who come to sit at the bar and order pupus (appetizers), brag about the waves, and flirt with the few women in the room (in prime surfing season, men outnumber women here ten to one). This is sometimes fun for the ladies, sometimes not, but what action there is thins out significantly after 9 p.m. If you're hungry for more than a snack, there's a hearty dinner menu of island favorites like peel-and-eat shrimp and fried whole moi fish.

Hawaii Theatre
1130 Bethel Street
Honolulu , Hawaii
Tel: 808 528 0506

This beautiful old theater, a hub of entertainment since 1922, is still the place to go to catch live performances. The nightly shows range from big-name indie bands like Sigur Rós to traditional hula and Hawaiian music; there are also limited runs of Broadway musicals. It's the perfect venue for a romantic date or a cross-generational night out.

La Mariana Sailing Club
50 Sand Island Access Rd.
Honolulu , Hawaii
Tel: 808 848 2800

Luckily, no ambitious impresario has ruined this authentic tiki bar and restaurant, untouched since it opened in 1957 (balloon-fish lanterns have become so rare). It's set in an industrial area that will make you think you're hopelessly lost, but once you arrive you'll find it worth the search. The inside is cluttered with dusty memorabilia, and the location on the water means bug spray is a must, but settle in and order a delicious snack of ahi poke (a local dish of marinated raw fish) to have with your $3 drafts.

Masters of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Concert Series
Napili Kai Beach Resort
5900 Lower Honoapiilani Road
Lahaina , Hawaii
Tel: 888 669 3858

This concert series—held every Wednesday at 7:30 pm in the the pavilion at the Napili Kai Beach Resort—has produced three Grammy-winning albums. It's a unique opportunity to hear the best Hawaiian-style slack key guitar musicians perform, and a mellow, romantic alternative to a hectic luau or pick-up bar. Depending on who's playing (look out for Led Kaapana, Dennis Kamakahi, Ozzie Kotani, Owana Salazar, or George Kahumoku, Jr.), it can get crowded, but tickets are generally available the week prior.

Mulligan's on the Blue
100 Kaukahi Street
Wailea , Hawaii
Tel: 808 874 1131

Strange but true: A lot of young people from Ireland work on Maui. You can find plenty of them at this popular Irish restaurant and bar (which sometimes morphs into one of the island's more unlikely nightclubs). Every night there's something different, from reggae musicians to Irish folksingers to trance DJs. There is nothing really Hawaiian about this experience, but the crowd is friendly and mixed in almost every way—Irish and non-Irish, 20s to 40s, locals and tourists—and it's a good place to meet people and actually chat.

Open daily 8 am to 1 am.

Nightlife at the Sheraton Waikiki
Waikiki Sheraton
2255 Kalakaua Avenue
Honolulu , Hawaii
Tel: 808 922 4422

You've got two pretty great nightlife options at the Sheraton Waikiki: The Hanohano Room, on the 30th floor and surrounded by glass walls, is a restaurant and classic Waikiki nightspot with breathtaking views. It hasn't changed much since the '70s; the nightly live entertainment (which starts between 7:30 and 9) features the same smooth jazz, Hawaiian classics, and boozy lounge standards your parents probably danced to. If your style is more barefoot than dress-up, hit the beachfront restaurant and lounge, Rum Fire, for tapas-style plates of Mexican-Hawaiian cuisine and yummy rum-based cocktails under the stars. Weekend DJs and dancing keep the guests on the lower floors of the hotel up late.—Cathay Che

Waikiki Sheraton
2255 Kalakaua Avenue
Honolulu , Hawaii
Tel: 808 922 4422

Although the legendary Hanohano Room on the 30th floor of the Waikiki Sheraton has closed, this open-air restaurant and chill-out lounge on the beach has more than taken up the slack, even pinching the crowds away from the long-standing beach bar favorite in Waikiki, Duke's at the Outrigger Waikiki. Expect to dine on tapas-style plates of Mexican–Hawaiian cuisine while perched on daybeds and sip yummy rum-based cocktails under the stars. The best part? It's open daily until midnight, with live music, weekend DJs, and dancing on the sand.—Cathay Che

Sunset on the Beach
Honolulu , Hawaii

Visitors often wonder about the 30-foot screen on Waikiki Beach at the spot known as Queen's Surf, across Kalakaua Avenue from the Honolulu Zoo parking lot (believe us, you'll see it). The answer: Since 2001, the city has sponsored free movies here every Saturday and Sunday at sunset, in an attempt to bring locals back to Waikiki. Food vendors set up stalls adjacent to the area, though people often come with their own picnic baskets. You'll see folks staking out spots with blankets and chairs starting in the late afternoon, but it's also possible to wander up and find a place on the sand even after the film has started. The intensity of the crowd depends on the popularity of the movie; family films draw the noisiest masses. See the website for a schedule.

39 N. Hotel Street
Honolulu , Hawaii
Tel: 808 599 2552

There's Chinatown by day—a loud, bustling, pungent open market—and then Chinatown by night, populated by young hipsters who seem more Tokyo or New York than Honolulu. The center of the scene is this club/arts center co-founded by world-famous DJ Harvey, where fashionistas dance in the gallery and mingle outside on the open-air deck. Entry fees vary, but are usually under $20; the cheapest nights are Tuesdays, when a live jazz quartet plays. Up-and-coming young designer Zana Tsutakawe also hosts monthly sample sales here for her clothing line, Akane (

505 Front Street
Suite 212
Lahaina , Hawaii
Tel: 808 661 9873

Timba, an open-air bar and weekend dance club, has brought Maui's nightlife to a new level. Located oceanfront directly above Pacific'o restaurant on Lahaina's Front Street, this modern, one-room hangout has a wood-beamed ceiling and plenty of black and white leather sofas that are perfect for sitting back and surveying the crowd. But the best tables are those on the outdoor balcony with sand and sea views. Thursday nights, you'll find groups gathered for pau hana (after work) drinks. Friday and Saturday nights are more of a raucous pickup scene, when both local and international guest DJs (bigger names on holidays and long weekends) spin hip-hop, house, and soul; the dancing goes on until the wee hours. Finding parking on a busy night is not easy, since the hard-to-navigate garage fills up quickly—between the parking challenges and the cocktails, we recommend calling a cab.—Cathay Che

Open Thursdays through Saturdays 9 pm to 2 am.

Weekend Lounge
Hotel Wailea
555 Kaukahi Street
Wailea , Hawaii
Tel: 808 874 0500

Once a staid golf resort, the Hotel Wailea has been born again after a boutique hotel makeover in 2009. Its Friday and Saturday night parties also are a push to attract a younger, sexier crowd, and it works. The lounge is set up inside the hotel's circular, open-air lobby, where the low chairs and tables provide a relaxing perch for taking in the view high over Wailea out to the ocean. The gathering starts around 5:30 pm; be sure to stake your claim before the sun sets (usually between 6:30 and 7:30) for the best mood lighting. The drinks skew tropical—Lilikoi Spritzers (that's passion fruit) and Citrus Mintinis—and are all organic. DJ's Deejays start spinning dance music around 10, and occasionally the music is live, but because this is a small, intimate hotel, shenanigans wrap up promptly at midnight.—Cathay Che

Open Fridays and Saturdays 5:30 pm to midnight.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.