25 Best Bars in Honolulu and Pearl Harbor, Oahu

Bar Leather Apron

Downtown Fodor's choice

This intimate, James Beard Award–nominated cocktail spot, oddly situated in the mezzanine of an office building, seats only six at the bar along with a few other tables. So you'll want to make reservations to enjoy bespoke cocktails that utilize only the finest liquors and ingredients. Owners Tom Park and Justin Park (no relation) have cultivated a reputation for their E Hoo Pau Mai Tai made with a five-year-old, raisin-infused El Dorado rum and another 12-year-old El Dorado rum, as well as coconut water syrup, spiced orgeat, ohia blossom honey, lime, vanilla, and absinthe—all served with a kiawe wood–smoke presentation.

Bevy Bar

Kakaako Fodor's choice

Tucked at the end of a row of new boutiques, Bevy is urban, modern, and furnished with upcycled materials (its benches are upholstered in denim jeans, and its tabletops feature flattened wine boxes). Locals in the know come for artisan cocktails created by owner and master mixologist Christian Self, who deftly concocts libations with obscure ingredients and complex flavors. Look for live music on some nights.

Duke's Waikiki

Waikiki Fodor's choice

Making the most of its spot on Waikiki Beach, Duke's is a bustling destination featuring live music everyday. This laid-back bar-and-grill's surf theme pays homage to Duke Kahanamoku, who popularized the sport in the early 1900s. Contemporary Hawaiian musicians like Henry Kapono and the Maunalua group have performed here, as have nationally known musicians like Jimmy Buffett. It's not unusual for surfers to leave their boards outside to step in for a casual drink after a long day on the waves. The cocktail menu is filled with Island-style drinks: try a sunset sour or coconut mojito while watching the Waikiki waves.

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Honolulu Beerworks

Kakaako Fodor's choice

Oahu's brewing scene has erupted in Kakaako’s industrial neighborhood, and one brewpub in particular has led the charge: Honolulu Beerworks. In a converted warehouse, owners Geoff and Charmayne Seideman and their crew brew nine beers—in addition to limited releases—such as the Pia Mahiai Saison (made with local oranges, other citrus, and Big Island honey) or the rich South Shore Stout. When you need some ono grinds (delicious food) to go along with your local brew, order the bar’s ahi dip. It’s a regular spot for many locals, particularly on the weekends. You might just make new friends sitting at one of the bar's long picnic tables, made from reclaimed wood.

Lewers Lounge

Waikiki Fodor's choice

Set back from the main entrance of the Halekulani hotel and decked out with dramatic drapes and cozy banquettes, Lewers Lounge is a great place for cocktails, both classic and contemporary. Standouts include Chocolate Dreams (made with Van Gogh Dutch Chocolate Vodka) and the Lost Passion (tequila, Cointreau, and fresh juices topped with champagne). Enjoy your libation with great nightly live jazz and tempting desserts, such as the hotel's famous coconut cake.

Mai Tai Bar at the Royal Hawaiian

Waikiki Fodor's choice

The bartenders here sure know how to mix up a killer mai tai. This is, after all, the establishment that first made the famous drink in the Islands. The pink umbrella–shaded tables at the outdoor bar are front-row seating for sunsets and also have an unobstructed view of Diamond Head. It's an ideal spot to soak in the island vibes just steps from the sand. Contemporary Hawaiian musicians hold jam sessions on stage nightly, and small bites are also available.

Maui Brewing Co.

Waikiki Fodor's choice

The craft beers produced by this Lahaina-based company are Island favorites, and a visit to this brewpub adjacent to the Beachcomber hotel's lobby means you don't have to island hop to sample its offerings at the source. Ask about limited-release drafts to imbibe the brand’s hidden gems, or order a flight of freshly brewed beers. Maui Brewing strives to source local ingredients for its beer and its food, and the menu here includes a poke bowl made with locally caught tuna, a kale salad that incorporates Waianae-based Naked Cow Dairy feta, and a Brewmaster pizza featuring Honolulu-based Kukui sausage.

Waikiki Brewing Company

Kakaako Fodor's choice

This company not only brews its own quality craft beer but also serves delicious food. This is its second location—the original is in Waikiki at 1945 Kalakaua Avenue—and it always offers nine beers on tap, including the Skinny Jeans IPA and the Hana Hou Hefe, to which orange peel and strawberry puree are added before fermentation. You can also buy six-packs at the bar to go. Here, the chef smokes meat in house using local kiawe wood, resulting in tender and flavorful beef brisket, pulled pork, chicken, and bratwurst. Accompanying barbecue sauces are made with Waikiki Brewing beer.

Aloha Beer

Kakaako

At this cool brewpub, you order everything at the counter and then grab a seat in either the industrial indoor taproom or the casual outdoor area. The HI Brau Room upstairs, which has its own speakeasy-style entrance, is definitely worth checking out for unique cocktails, too. With 12 beers on draft, including the Hop Lei IPA, Waimanalo Farmhouse, Froot Loops, and Portlock Porter, you can find something to your taste. If you’re hungry, there's also pretty good food—snacking boards, hearty sandwiches, small plates, and steak frites.

BREW'd Craft Pub

Kaimuki

The Kaimuki night scene got a bit livelier in 2014 with the arrival of this pub, which, after all, stays open until 2 am. It's a small place—you have to squeeze between nearby patrons to get to and from your table—but the wait staff is friendly and knowledgeable about the 150-plus beer menu. BREW'd also offers better versions of standard pub fare than you'll find at some places in town, including a good braised beef poutine.

Encore Saloon

Chinatown

Although this bar serves good Mexican-inspired food (try the pork carnitas burrito), it's best known for its impressive drinks menu featuring more than 50 varieties of tequila and mezcal. You can also get wine and canned beer.

10 N. Hotel St., Honolulu, HI, 96817, USA
808-367–1656
Nightlife Details
Rate Includes: Closed Sun.

Genius Lounge Sake Bar & Grill

Waikiki

Removed from the tourist traps along Kalakaua Avenue, the Genius Lounge is tucked away on the third floor of a former apartment building on Lewers Street. The extensive drink menu offers beer and wine, cocktails, homemade sangria, and, of course, sake. Locally inspired dishes are also available. Though small, the space is open to the outdoors and furnished with dark woods and lit by candles, making for an intimate setting for small gatherings and Friday-night dates. The crowd is mostly Asian visitors and transplants, but a daily happy hour (6–8 pm) lures office workers and pre-club prowlers.

Hideout

Waikiki

Located at the Laylow Hotel, one of Waikiki’s newer properties, this mini-oasis has a firepit, tiki torches, comfy couches, and palm trees swaying overhead. Although there's a full food menu, it’s best to come here for expertly mixed cocktails or mocktails and some pupu—perhaps the poke tacos or the pork belly Brussels sprouts. A daily happy hour from 4:30 to 6:30 pm makes things easier on the wallet.

Hula's Bar and Lei Stand

Waikiki

Hawaii's oldest and best-known gay-friendly nightspot offers panoramic views of Diamond Head by day and high-energy club music by night. Check out the all-day happy hour, which starts at 10 am. There's an abundance of drink specials on weekends and discounted pitchers of beer and cocktails on Sunday.  Food options include nachos, tacos, pork sliders, and more. Celebrity patrons have included Elton John, Adam Lambert, and Dolly Parton.

134 Kapahulu Ave., Honolulu, HI, 96815, USA
808-923–0669

J. Dolan's

Chinatown

The drinks and rotating beers on tap at this Irish, Cheers-like bar are reasonably priced by Honolulu standards, and its menu of New York–style pizzas, both classic and inventive, is a crowd-pleaser, too.

1147 Bethel St., Honolulu, HI, 96813, USA
808-537–4992

Lulu's Waikiki

Waikiki

Even if you're not a surfer, you'll love this place's retro vibe and unobstructed second-floor view of Waikiki Beach. The open-air setting, casual dining menu, and tropical drinks are all you need to help you settle into your vacation. The venue transforms from a nice spot for breakfast, lunch, or dinner (happy hour is 3 to 5 pm) into a bustling, high-energy club with live music lasting into the wee hours.

Mai Tai’s

Ala Moana

After a long day of shopping at the Ala Moana Center, the fourth-floor Mai Tai's is the perfect spot to relax. What you will find is live entertainment and happy hour specials for both food and drink. What you won't find is a cover charge or a dress code. To avoid waiting in line, arrive before 9 pm.

Murphy's Bar & Grill

Downtown

On the edge of Chinatown and the financial district, this bar has served drinks to such locals and visitors as King Kalakaua and Robert Louis Stevenson since the late 1800s. The kind of Irish pub you would find in Boston, Murphy's offers a break from all the tropical, fruit-garnished drinks found in Waikiki, and it's definitely the place to be on St. Patrick's Day. Friendly bartenders and waitstaff serve Guinness on tap, pub food favorites, and Irish specialties like corned beef and cabbage and shepherd's pie. If you time it right, you can try their incredible house-made pies, which are served only on Friday and quickly sell out.

RumFire

Waikiki

Locals and visitors head here for the convivial atmosphere, the trendy decor, and the million-dollar view of Waikiki Beach and Diamond Head. Come early to get a seat for happy hour (3–5 pm daily). If you're feeling peckish, there's a menu of tasty, Asian-influenced small plates. RumFire also features original cocktails, signature shots, and daily live music. On Friday and Saturday nights, the bar gets even livelier once local DJs start spinning.

Sky Waikiki Raw & Bar

Waikiki

This bar 19 stories above the city offers nearly 360-degree bird's-eye views of Diamond Head, the Waikiki beaches, and the classic coral Royal Hawaiian hotel. It’s also one of the best spots to take in a Waikiki sunset. Be sure to order the popular SkyTai cocktail as you enjoy the views. There are also happy hour drink specials daily and a limited menu featuring fresh seafood. The indoor club, where resident DJs spin on Friday and Saturday nights, exudes contemporary-L.A. chic.

The Manifest

Chinatown

With exposed red brick, big skylights, and rotating exhibitions of work by local photographers and painters, The Manifest has an artist’s loft feel to it. It's a café by day and a cocktail bar and night club by night, so it serves a good cup of joe as well as quality cocktails.

The Tchin Tchin! Bar

Chinatown

This chill bar gets its name from the Chinese expression “qing, qing” (which means “please please”), often used as a toast; soldiers returning from the Chinese Opium Wars introduced it in France and throughout Europe. With an extensive wine menu—by the glass and the bottle—plus a selection of single malt bourbon, whiskey, and scotch, it's an ideal spot for a drink or tapas-style food. The bar’s rooftop lanai is the best place to sit, romantically lit with string lights and featuring a large living wall flourishing with ferns.

39 N. Hotel St., Honolulu, HI, 96817, USA
808-528–1888
Nightlife Details
Rate Includes: Closed Sun. and Mon.

Tiki's Grill & Bar

Waikiki

Tiki torches light the way to this fun restaurant and bar overlooking Kuhio Beach. A mix of locals and visitors heads here for happy hour and, later, to enjoy its kitschy cool, casual vibe. There's great nightly entertainment featuring contemporary Hawaiian musicians playing lively and popular cover tunes. The drinks menu is extensive and (not surprisingly) tiki-focused. Don't leave without sipping on the Lava Flow (rum, coconut milk, pineapple juice, strawberry puree) or noshing on coconut shrimp, ahi poke, or macadamia-crusted fish of the day. And if you love the tiki vibe, you can purchase an array of whimsical merchandise, including the colorful tiki mugs. If you're here during the holidays, ask the host about the "Christmas bar." 

Waiolu Ocean Cuisine

Waikiki

Hawaiian bars should have two things: stellar views of the sunset over the ocean and equally stellar mai tais. This lounge has both, as well as nightly live music, ranging from contemporary to Hawaiian, Thursday through Sunday. Come either for sunset or for the late-night happy hour, but it's best to reserve a table: seats are scarce once the music starts at 6:30 pm, and an attractive crowd starts showing up around 8.

Wang Chung's Karaoke Bar

Waikiki

Dubbed the "Friendliest Bar in Waikiki," a visit to this charming karaoke joint is a must on any trip to the island. The positive vibe comes from owner Dan Chang, who personally welcomes his guests to this LGBTQ-friendly establishment. The bar is in the lobby of the Stay Hotel and has a full kitchen cranking out Asian- and Latin-inspired dishes. It's known for a lively late-night crowd and innovative cocktails. The list of karaoke songs is extensive, and the place gets jammed, so arrive early if you really want to add your name to the list and sing a song.