When you picture Kauai’s greatest sources of excitement, daytime adventures probably come to mind. There is plenty to do when the sun is out hiking, beach visits, and golf, to name a few activities. When the sun goes down, however, the fun certainly doesn’t end. After sunset, you’ll quickly find that several of Kauai’s most vibrant bars, restaurants, and lounges come alive. Keep reading to discover some of the most exciting spots on Kauai — and what they have to offer at night.
Hukilau Lanai Restaurant
The upscale Hukilau Lanai Restaurant is definitely worth a visit when you crave entertainment and island flavors amid an air of sophistication. The diverse dinner menu includes a variety of complex flavors that invite you to indulge your inner foodie. Calamari, lobster curry bisque, and mushroom meatloaf are sure to please, especially if accompanied by a mai tai, pineapple martini, or other tropical-inspired drink. You’ll also find port, mead, sake, and local brews from the Kauai Beer Company. The vast wine list includes several impressive options from around the world, which are available by the glass or bottle.
Stop by between Wednesday and Saturday for live music. The restaurant has a rotating list of regulars, who boast a strong following among locals and tourists alike. Favorites include Kirby Keough, Dennis Chun, Pancho Graham, and Billy Paul. These musicians play an eclectic mix of tunes but often focus on Hawaiian-style performances featuring the slack-key guitar.
Rob’s Good Times Grill
This local favorite definitely lives up to the promise made in its distinctive name: guests can expect to have a good time. The full-service bar serves a rotating list of local beers, including many favorites from Kauai Island Brewing, Maui Brewing Co., and Honolulu Beerworks. The handcrafted cocktails are always worth ordering, with Koloa rum often prominently featured. While the wine selection is minimal, the few options on hand should pair well with the charcuterie or the seafood.
Sandwiches, burgers, Hawaiian plates, and BBQ abound on the comprehensive menu, but late arrivals will want to be mindful that kitchen service ends one hour before the grill closes. Thankfully, the entertainment continues for several hours on live music nights, which, on Friday, are accompanied by steak and, on Saturday, by sushi. There are also several TVs placed throughout the establishment, which is just as popular as a sports bar as it is a music venue.
Duke’s Barefoot Bar
Offering live music daily along with its iconic Hula Pie, Duke’s Barefoot Bar is perfectly situated by the beach and while the views are sublime during the day, evening visits are also strongly recommended. This establishment is named after the iconic Duke Kahanamoku — a swimming and surfing legend who served as Honolulu’s sheriff for several decades. There are many Duke’s locations throughout Hawaii and even in La Jolla, but the Kauai bar is special.
While the dining room encourages you to get fancy with surf and turf, there’s a lot to love about the fish tacos and poke bowls served at the bar. This is also where you’ll find an impressive selection of alcoholic beverages, including icy cold beer and a signature mai tai featuring two types of rum. The wine selection is wonderful, and when you’re not in the mood for alcohol, you can still treat yourself to a slushie or a ginger beer mocktail. Music can be expected nearly every night, with the list of regulars including Chico, Jojo Tangalin, and John Mahi.
Bar Acuda Tapas and Wine
If you’re on the hunt for a chic experience, you can’t go wrong with Bar Acuda. This Hanalei hotspot serves polenta, scallops, and a variety of other intriguing small plates. These tapas pair wonderfully with Bar Acuda’s curated wines, which focus on Rhone-style grape varietals. Many top selections are sourced from organic or sustainable providers.
You’ll also discover beer from the Kona Brewing Co., plus a few handcrafted cocktails. This is an incredibly popular location, so it’s not a good fit for an impromptu night out — you will want to make your reservations well in advance. You’ll be glad you made the effort, as your lovely table on the lanai should set the stage for a wonderful tapas experience.
If you love kitsch, you will undoubtedly be impressed by Keoki’s Paradise, which is delightfully cheesy. This cute destination has a very obvious theme — and visitors are more than happy to play the part. Tiki torches, banyan trees, and even waterfalls amplify the effect so you feel like you’ve stepped into another world altogether. This feast for the senses also frequently emphasizes local sounds from Uncle D, Jojo, and Cory Mira. The event calendar is always chock full of upcoming performances so that you can expect a great show nearly any day of the week.
No trip is complete without a tasty drink and some expertly prepared seafood. The Keoki’s menu features exceptionally fresh selections that are proudly sourced from family-owned farms. The Hula pie once again appears, but you’ll also adore the coconut shrimp and the seafood risotto. Enjoy a craft beer from one of several local breweries — or better yet, a vintage mai tai or a coconut mojito.
Its name might not evoke late-night fun, but Stevenson’s Library delivers the epitome of luxury nightlife vibes. It’s named after the iconic Robert Louis Stevenson, who traveled to Hawaii hoping to improve his health. His namesake hotel bar is thoroughly outfitted with koa wood, although the most visually impressive experience can be expected on the gorgeous terrace.
This Grand Hyatt favorite is known for its sushi, sake, and tropical beverages. Edamame, shrimp tempura, and even matcha cheesecake are also available. Treat yourself to these offerings as you take in this hidden gem of a hotel bar. It’s not the most exciting place on the island, but when you want to grab a drink after 9 pm, it’ll certainly do the job.
When the sun goes down and you crave live music or a cocktail, Kauai’s top bars and restaurants should deliver. Treat yourself to a special night out as you discover the island’s best drinks, dining, and music.