Oahu

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. 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

  • 2. 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

  • 3. 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

  • 4. 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

  • 5. 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

  • 6. Hideout

    Waikiki | Bars/Pubs

    The Hideout is a mini-oasis on the outdoor lobby level of the Laylow Hotel, one of Waikiki’s newer hotels. Technically, it’s not a rooftop bar...Read More

  • 7. Hula's Bar and Lei Stand

    Waikiki | Dance Clubs

    Hawaii's oldest and best-known gay-friendly nightspot offers panoramic views of Diamond Head by day and high-energy club music by night. Patrons...Read More

  • 8. Lulu's Waikiki

    Waikiki | Bars/Pubs

    Even if you're not a surfer, you'll love this place's retro vibe and the unobstructed second-floor view of Waikiki Beach. The open-air setting...Read More

  • 9. Maui Brewing Co

    Waikiki | Brewpubs/Beer Gardens

    Maui Brewing Co. has been a longtime Hawaii craft beer favorite. And while you can get the Lahaina-made beer in local grocery stores and restaurants...Read More

  • 10. Moana Terrace

    Waikiki | Bars/Pubs

    Three floors up from Waikiki Beach, this is a casual, open-air terrace where some of Hawaii's finest musicians play every evening. Order a drink...Read More

  • 11. RumFire

    Waikiki | Bars/Pubs

    Locals and visitors head here for the convivial atmosphere, trendy decor, and the million-dollar view of Waikiki Beach and Diamond Head. Come...Read More

  • 12. Sky Waikiki

    Waikiki | Music Clubs

    This may just be the club Oahu has been waiting for. Sky Waikiki sits 19 stories above the city, just below Top of Waikiki, the strip’s iconic...Read More

  • 13. The Study

    Waikiki | Bars/Pubs

    It's tricky to find the Study at the Modern Honolulu—it's behind a huge, revolving bookcase in the lobby behind the registration desk. It's...Read More

  • 14. Tiki's Grill & Bar

    Waikiki | Bars/Pubs

    Tiki torches light the way to this restaurant and bar overlooking Kuhio Beach. A mix of locals and visitors head here on the weekend to get...Read More

  • 15. Waiolu Ocean View Lounge

    Waikiki | Music Clubs

    Hawaiian bars should have two things: stellar views of the sunset over the ocean and equally awesome mai tais. Both are on offer at the Waiolu...Read More

  • 16. Wang Chung's Karaoke Bar

    Waikiki | Bars/Pubs

    Dubbed the "Friendliest Bar in Waikiki," this charming karaoke bar is a must-see on any trip to the island. The positive vibe comes from owner...Read More

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