Oahu is the best of all the Islands for nightlife. The locals call it pau hana, but you might call it happy hour (the literal translation of the Hawaiian phrase is "done with work"). On weeknights, it's likely that you'll find the working crowd, still in their business-casual attire, downing chilled beers even before the sun goes down. Those who don't have to wake up in the early morning should change into a fresh outfit and start the evening closer to 10 pm.

On the weekends, it's typical to have dinner at a restaurant before hitting the clubs around 9:30. Some bar-hoppers start as early as 7, but partygoers typically don't patronize more than two establishments a night. That's because getting from one Oahu nightspot to the next usually requires transportation. Happily, cab services are plentiful, and rideshares like Uber and Lyft give Honolulu a San Francisco feel.

You can find a bar in just about any area on Oahu. Most of the clubs, however, are in Waikiki, near Ala Moana, and in Chinatown, near downtown Honolulu. The drinking age is 21 on Oahu and throughout Hawaii. Many bars will admit younger people but will not serve them alcohol. By law, all establishments that serve alcoholic beverages must close by 2 am, although you might get lucky and stumble into a secret all-night party. The only exceptions are those with a cabaret license, which can stay open until 4 am. Some places have a cover charge of $5–$10, but with many establishments, getting there early means you don't have to pay.

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  • 1. Bar Leather Apron

    Downtown | Bars/Pubs

    The bar at this intimate cocktail spot on the mezzanine of a downtown Honolulu office building seats only six, so you'll want to make reservations...Read More

  • 2. Bevy

    Kakaako | Bars/Pubs

    Tucked at the end of a row of new boutiques in Kakaako, Bevy is urban, modern, and furnished with up-cycled materials; its benches are upholstered...Read More

  • 3. Honolulu Beerworks

    Kakaako | Brewpubs/Beer Gardens

    Oahu's brewing scene has erupted in Kakaako’s industrial neighborhood, and one brewpub in particular has led the charge: Honolulu Beerworks...Read More

  • 4. J.J. Dolan's

    Chinatown | Bars/Pubs

    This place bills itself as an “Irish pub with New York pizza from two guys in Chinatown.” Those two guys are J.J. and Dolan, respectively, the...Read More

  • 5. Lewers Lounge

    Waikiki | Bars/Pubs

    A great spot for predinner drinks or post-sunset cocktails, Lewers Lounge offers a relaxed but chic atmosphere in the middle of Waikiki. There...Read More

  • 6. Mai Tai Bar at the Royal Hawaiian

    Waikiki | Bars/Pubs

    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...Read More

  • 7. Pint + Jigger

    Moiliili | Bars/Pubs

    This spot has cultivated a regular following with nearby college students and thirtysomethings since its opening by doing two simple, but essential...Read More

  • 8. Polynesian Cultural Center Alii Luau

    Themed Entertainment

    Although this elaborate luau has the sharpest production values, there is no booze allowed (it's a Mormon-owned facility in the heart of Laie...Read More

  • 9. Waikiki Brewing Company

    Kakaako | Brewpubs/Beer Gardens

    This company not only brews its own quality craft beer but also serves delicious food. Although the original is still operational in Waikiki...Read More

  • 10. Addiction Nightclub

    Waikiki | Dance Clubs

    Traditional banquettes offer intimate seating for VIP tables, and bottle service lends a New York City nightclub feel at The Modern Honolulu...Read More

  • 11. Aloha Beer Co.

    Kakaako | Brewpubs/Beer Gardens

    At this cool brewpub, you order everything at the counter and then pick a spot to sit in either the industrial indoor taproom or the casual...Read More

  • 12. Anna O'Brien's

    Moiliili | Bars/Pubs

    Generations of college students have spent more than an evening or two at this legendary two-story, smoky dive near the University of Hawaii...Read More

  • 13. Boardrider's Bar & Grill


    Tucked away in Kailua Town, Boardrider's has long been the place for local bands to strut their stuff. Look for live music—reggae to rock and...Read More

  • 14. BREW'd Craft Pub

    Kaimuki | Brewpubs/Beer Gardens

    The Kaimuki night scene got a bit livelier when BREW’d Craft Pub opened in 2014 (it was particularly welcomed by the neighborhood’s craft beer...Read More

  • 15. Downbeat Lounge

    Chinatown | Bars/Pubs

    This dimly lit but welcoming lounge is the soulful little sister of the trendy all-night Downbeat Diner next door, and owned by the same people...Read More

  • 16. Duke's Waikiki

    Waikiki | Bars/Pubs

    Making the most of its spot on Waikiki Beach, Duke's presents live music everyday. Contemporary Hawaiian musicians like Henry Kapono and Maunalua...Read More

  • 17. Encore Saloon

    Chinatown | Bars/Pubs

    Hawaii isn’t a hotbed for quality Mexican cuisine, so when Encore opened in 2016, it was a welcome addition to Chinatown’s already buzzing bar...Read More

  • 18. Fia Fia Luau

    Themed Entertainment

    Just after sunset at the Marriott Ko Olina Beach Club, the charismatic Chief Sielu Avea leads the Samoan-based Fia Fia, an entertaining show...Read More

  • 19. Genius Lounge Sake Bar & Grill

    Waikiki | Bars/Pubs

    Removed from the tourist traps along Kalakaua Avenue, the Genius Lounge is tucked away on the third floor of a former apartment building on...Read More

  • 20. Germaine's Luau

    Themed Entertainment

    More than 3 million visitors have come to this luau, held about 45 minutes west of Waikiki in light traffic. Widely considered one of the most...Read More

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