In this tropical paradise it can be difficult to escape the sugar-loaded rum and vodka-based concoctions that leave as much of a sugar hangover as they do alcohol. Harking back to author Robert Louis Stevenson’s legendary journeys through the Pacific and visits to the Hawaiian Islands along with his Scottish heritage Stevenson’s Library specializes in single malt whiskeys for the sophisticated drinker. Sadly, the concept and appeal of this bar is wasted as a hotel bar to the Grand Hyatt.
Topping many similar lists is Duke’s, which is nestled on famous Waikiki Beach. They have a daily breakfast buffet that is currently at a reasonable $18/person (hey, you’re in Hawaii) with specialty drinks that rival in number the grains of sand on the beach. Our favorite part is the Barefoot Bar, despite the false advertising that it seems absolutely no one drinks here barefoot.
What more could you need than drinks, billiards, and darts? Karaoke! This bar has it all with a friendly and welcoming staff to boot. Considered quite the hole-in-the-wall but visitors are rarely disappointed as the entertainment here is nothing short of enjoyable. Practice your favorite songs and throw your name on the list because, well, who do you know here to be embarrassed by anyhow?
Located in just a weird, industrial part of the quaint town of Lahaina, Maui is the dive bar Sly Mongoose. This is the place to go when you’re just so damn sick of being around tourists. Sure, that means there isn’t a view of the horizon or beach sand tickling your toes but there are friendly locals who frequent the joint for that exact reason.
On the other side of the planet are thousands of English-style pubs, but Kailua is your convenient alternative should you have a hankering for dark wood finishes, taps of craft ales, and good ol’ fashioned fish and chips. While here, if you’re feeling something a little more tropical to pair with your English grub consider one of their signature cocktails that add the flavors of Hawaii.
Using around 90% of local ingredients for all their dishes you’ll be doing yourself a favor by combining your drink with one of their delicious menu items. As for drinks, consider the Thai Martini and sit back, relax, and enjoy the eastern coast of this magnificent island.
One of the only sports bars in the area that draws locals regularly; you know it must be an entertaining place to catch the big game. With your typical gut-busting pub fare you won’t leave this place hungry, that’s for sure! There are tons of TV’s to watch MMA fights on which is probably a good thing as the view only overlooks an adjacent set of tennis courts.
The strongly inclusive and gay-owned My Bar is a dose of happiness on the west coast of the Big Island. Their ethos of “we accept everyone as long as you want to have fun” is a huge reason we recommend this fun hotspot. Drinks at this bar include the MyBar Bruiser which will wake you up with its inclusion of Red Bull, and the Turquoise Tickler which is as tasty as it is fun to say.
If you are lucky enough to find yourself on the under-visited island of Molokai then you should take yourself to Paddlers Restaurant and Bar. Paddlers takes pride in creating an atmosphere that makes all visitors ohana (family) and providing happy hour-like pricing all day with some of the cheapest beers you’ll find in the state. Stop in for some live music and to make a few new friends.
A local’s favorite and connoisseur’s gem is Bevy just off the crowded streets of Honolulu. Try the cocktail-of-the-day to get a glimpse of what the bartender is digging these days, or go with one of the classic handcrafted libations offered at the establishment. Happy hour offers the opportunity to $6 cocktails and $1.50 oysters on the half-shell.