Hawaii Nightlife

Select Local Merchants

Voted one of the city's best bars by Honolulu magazine in 2009, Tsunami's woos patrons with chic, minimalist furnishings, a flavor-packed menu, and artistic plate presentation. Chef Aaron Fukuda molds minced ahi with sriracha aioli into a savory sculpture with his spicy ahi bowl ($8). Inventive versions of classic pub fare include the half-pound Tsunami burger ($8) and the kalua pig quesadilla served with scallion sour cream and hoisin barbecue sauce ($8). Friends or handcuffed strangers can go splitzies with teriyaki fries ($6) or poke balls, which are rice balls encrusted with ginger- and soy-braised pork ribs and accompanied by hoisin barbecue and pickled cabbage ($10 each). Complete the lounge experience with a beer ($4–$5), mixed drink ($6+), or sake shot ($6–$12) under the modern drop lighting of Tsunami's bar. Valet parking is available, and Tsunami's stays open until 2 a.m. to accommodate night owls and ambitious Californian sleep swimmers.

1272 S King St
Honolulu,
HI
US

Once a month at Formaggio Grill, guests indulge in four-course meals paired with fine wines. It sounds like a typical dinner party, save one difference: no one can see a thing. The monthly event is called Dining in the Dark, and Formaggio Grill hopes that it will encourage guests to slow down, savor their dinners, and even reconsider their approaches to fine dining.

Even without the blindfolds, Formaggio Grill touts that mission with careful preparation of Mediterranean-style cuisine in a warm, welcoming space. Chefs smoke prime rib over kiawe wood and toss pastas with housemade sausage. Servers are happy to help pair entrees with selections from a list of more than 50 wines from around the world.

The restaurant envelops diners in warm reds and golds, and low light casts plush red stools and a wooden bar in a warm glow. The artwork of Ron Genta adds splashes of color to the walls, and local musicians take to the stage on the weekends to entertain patrons with smooth guitar sounds or the dulcet tones of a whale’s song.

305 Hahani St
Kailua,
HI
US

Since Cafe Mambo's original location is in Paia, a little surfer town near Maui, Hawaii, it makes sense that their menu of sandwiches, salads, and crepes features a Hawaiian flair. The chefs dress up their sweet and savory crepes with ingredients such as fresh pineapple and ham and build Big Kahuna sandwiches with turkey, ham, gruyere, and dijonaise.

30 Baldwin Ave
Paia,
HI
US

When a canoe enters the lagoon at Polynesian Cultural Center, its passengers transcend time, distance, and the need for a passport. The boat drifts to the shores of different exhibits, each of which represents a unique Polynesian region. At the Samoa section, for instance, visitors learn how to spark a fire and cook native cuisine. Nearby, the sounds of the haka—a lively war dance—ring through the Aotearoa area, while rhythmic drumming permeates the Fiji and Tonga exhibits. Those who stop by the miniature Tahiti can learn a traditional dance, and guests of the Hawaiian village observe skilled artists weaving leis.

For a cultural cap on an exploratory day, patrons can upgrade their general admission ticket and attend the nightly Ali'i Luau. A celebratory feast is laid out, including authentic Hawaiian cuisine and a whole pig roasted in an underground oven. Alternatively, guest can upgrade to even more evening entertainment, Ha: Breath of Life. During this show, more than 100 Polynesian performers dance, play music, and toss fire to tell an epic story. Dinner is not included with Ha: Breath of Life.

55-370 Kamehameha Hwy
Laie,
HI
US

Breakers Restaurant & Bar exudes a laid-back vibe that carries through its dinner menu of casual surf 'n' turf dishes favored by a regular clientele of North Shore boardriders. Test your hunger's waters with the Breakers Cakers ($12.95), crab cakes plated with a zesty homemade tropical salsa and a creamy garlic mayo. The beer-battered fish ($16.95) cloaks a fresh catch in a crispy, suds-laced jump suit, and the Hawaiian burger ($11.95) sports a festive pattern of grilled pineapple, teriyaki sauce, and traditional fixings. With prowess over land and sea, the surf 'n' turf entree ($23.95) tackles barren bellies with coconut shrimp and an 8-ounce new york strip steak. Breakfast and lunch menus ably accommodate morning wave riders and morning DJs done surfing radio waves.

66-250 Kamehameha Hwy
Haleiwa,
HI
US

Jill Shiroma founded her distinctive libation shop because of her love of wines and spirits and her desire to fulfill the lifestyle needs of the modern generation. SWAM offers customers an eclectic variety of vino and spirits, with an emphasis on friendly and personal service. The shop's walls are lined with cherry shelves that are fully stocked with rare and unique drinkables, including hard-to-find wines and spirits, such as Hello Kitty wines (available in the pinot nero white and the pinot nero red)—a beverage brand far superior to Flintstones chewable champagne.

98-1277 Kaahumanu St
Aiea,
HI
US