Kauai’s night scene is growing with art nights, craft beer pubs, lounges and lively restaurants. Nightlife on Kauai seems to mirror the pulse of the island – it’s full of culture and local traditions and it is never too crowded
We often hear it repeated by visitors that they heard Kauai does not have as much to do at night as its neighbor island counterparts. Part of Kauai’s charm is that we do not have the busy city life as our island neighbors, however there is still plenty going on.
Kauai locals love to gather for an after work drink and catch up on the day just as much as everywhere else around the world. Kauai’s nightlife begins at pau hana, which in Hawaiian translates to “be finished with work.” Many restaurants and bars have live entertainment with special happy hour cocktail and food menus that are as friendly on your wallet as your taste buds. If you are still able to stay awake after spending the day adventuring through our beautiful island, here are a few recommendations to experience Kauai’s growing nightlife.
Kalapaki Joe’s Poipu
Calling themselves the westernmost sports bar in the United States, Kalapaki Joe’s Poipu always has something happening. Nightly live entertainment with local musicians, the largest variety of beers on tap on Kauai and a great menu make Kalapaki Joe’s Poipu the obvious choice for a night out. Kalapaki Joe’s Poipu is also the only bar on the south side of Kauai that televises all Ultimate Fighting Championship events on over 20 televisions throughout the restaurant in addition to broadcasting live sports all day long. Happy Hour is from 3 pm to 6 pm daily with specials such as $2 off all appetizers, draft beer and house wine and $5 selected cocktails. You can’t go wrong with $0.25 chicken wings and $3 fish tacos. If you decide to stay for dinner, their menu has something to please everyone, from burgers and sandwiches, salads, tacos galore, and big plates.
Happy Hour: Daily 3pm – 6pm
If Kauai is called The Garden Island, then Keoki’s Paradise in Poipu is Kauai’s utopia. The entire restaurant is surrounded by blooming tropical flowers and lush greenery with a manmade island for musicians and hula dancers to perform at night. The restaurant offers traditional dining on one side and their infamous bamboo bar with local entertainment on the other. Two aloha hours are held daily from 3 pm to 5 pm and 9:30 pm to 10:30 pm. Serving ice cold 29° draft beers and fresh fruit juice tropical cocktails, Keoki’s Paradise is the perfect place for a nightcap. Don’t forget to finish off your drink with a hula pie, a macadamia nut ice cream pie in chocolate sauce and whipped cream on an oreo crust.
Happy Hour: Daily 3pm – 5pm , 9:30pm – 10:30pm
Brennecke’s Beach Broiler
The only restaurant located directly on Poipu Beach, Brenneke’s Beach Broiler features premium ocean views from their second floor restaurant. On Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights during their late night happy hour at 8:30 pm, Brennecke’s really ramps up with local bands playing classic rock & roll, contemporary rock and reggae music. Happy hour specials also include $20 pitchers of coladas, daiquiris and margaritas in strawberry, pineapple, mango banana and passion fruit flavors. A must try off the regular menu is the Dragon Fruit Mojito, made from Kauai Juice Company pineapple dragon fruit kombucha, tito’s vodka and fresh omao mint. There’s a reason over 1,000,000 people have tried the Brennecke’s World Famous Mai Tai, made with a secret blend of tropical fruit juices, gold rum, and dark rum float. Savory pupu specials include crispy coconut shrimp, ahi poke tacos and the Brennecke’s slider trio. Brenneke’s Beach Broiler is open daily until 11pm at night.
Happy Hour: Daily 3pm – 5pm , Thu, Fri, Sat 8:30pm – Closing
Tortilla Republic Grill and Margarita Bar
Serving up Mexican cuisine with an island spin and using fresh ingredients, Tortilla Republic Grill and Margarita Bar at Kukuiula Shopping Center features a menu that is unexpected and full of flavor on Kauai. With a daily happy hour from 3 pm to 5 pm, diners can indulge in an appetizer menu affordable enough to try everything, including mexican street corn, chicken tinga tacos, pollo frito and nachos. You will want to wash all this deliciousness down with a few of their margarita varieties, such as the hydration margarita with coconut water or the spicy jalapeno margarita, both only $7 each, or cool off with $3 domestic beers, $4 mexican beer and $6 house wines. In addition to their happy hour, Taco Tuesdays specials include two chicken tacos for $8 or carne asada or fish for $10 and house margarita pitchers for only $38. Friday evenings from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm is Live Friday with music and on Saturday all bottles of wine are ½ off. Who doesn’t love a good margarita, live music and a fantastic sunset view!
Happy Hour: Daily 3pm – 5pm
With inventive flavors that blend a taste of the south with the local traditions of Hawaiian cookouts (the Kauai term for barbeque), Kiawe Roots has quickly become a favorite among locals and visitors. Names after the invasive and very thorny Kiawe Tree, its mesquite wood has become popular for barbecuing and smoking food. Happy hour specials include Grilled oysters with tamari (gluten free soy sauce), kiawe chili water, lomi tomato and Chicharon, a popular international snack made of crispy pork skin, calamansi mango vinaigrette and cilantro. You will also want to try the pimento cheese potato skins, smoked carpaccio arugula salad and coconut luau dip, an dip made from sauteed taro leaf and coconut milk and served with taro chips. All beers are $1 off and house wine and specialty cocktails are $2 off. Happy Hour is daily from 3 pm to 5 pm with dinner to follow from 5 pm to 9 pm.
Happy Hour: Daily 3pm- 5pm
Merriman’s Fish House
Celebrity chef Peter Merriman showcases his farm to table cuisine at Merriman’s Fish House, many with gluten free and certified organic options. 90% of products used at Merriman’s Fish House are locally grown or caught through sustainable only methods. The happy hour menu includes kalua pig and sweet onion quesadilla, coconut, sweet corn, and clam soup, and fresh island ahi poke. Don’t forget to try the Merriman’s Mai Tai for $8, made from Lahaina Rum, Orgeat and honey-lilikoi foam. Merriman’s wine by the glass selections are also 25% off and draft beer is $3 off. Happy hour is from 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm. Stay for dinner and enjoy live music nightly from 6 pm to 9 pm.
Happy Hour: Daily 3pm- 5pm
Ruth’s Chris Steak House
The ever popular Ruth’s Chris steakhouse is now on Kauai at Kukuiula Shopping Center in Poipu, with happy hour at The Bar from 4:30 pm to 6 pm. Their happy hour is broken up by two menus, there is happy hour from 4:30 pm to 5:30 pm with half-off appetizers such as sauteed New Orleans style barbecue shrimp, broiled mushrooms stuffed with crabmeat, seared ahi, crispy fried calamari and veal osso buco ravioli and special prices on beer, wine, well drinks margaritas and martinis. From 5 pm to 6 pm is their prime time menu, a three-course pre-fixe menu ranging from $54.95 to $64.95 which includes a salad, their signature steak entrees and side dish, ice cream, sorbet or white chocolate bread pudding for dessert.
Happy Hour: Mon-Sun 4:30pm – 7pm
Poipu Dolphin Sushi
Open for dinner from 5:30 pm to 9 pm, The Poipu Dolphin is part restaurant, sushi lounge and fish market all in one. They call their sushi menu “over the top” simply because it is. Family style eating is recommended here with sushi rolls made large enough to share and sample their many varieties, such as the Flyin Hawaiian, a tempura battered sushi filled with spicy softshell crab, avocado, thinly sliced white and green onion, wrapped in soy paper and topped with hamachi or the Hanalei Roll with shrimp tempura, avocado, tobiko and spicy aioli and topped with local ahi, tempura flakes and unagi sauce. Dine on the sushi bar to watch their masterl sushi chef prepare the freshest sashimi and sushi right before your eyes and share his secret tips. Don’t forget to stop by the fish market for your next day’s meal, open from 10 am to 7 pm and offers a large selection of locally caught Hawaiian fish and seafood, freshly made poke and sashimi, and premade meal selections.
The Lanai restaurant in Kukuiula Shopping Center highlights sidewalk style patio seating with courageous cocktails and snacking on delicious bites. Their happy hour, from 3 pm to 5 pm daily, is the perfect way to take a break from shopping or cool off from a day at the beach. Draft beers are $3 with $7 wines by the glass. Happy hour menu offerings include avocado croquettes with spiced aioli and pickled mango, panko crusted brie complimented by pineapple chutney, local honey and served with crostini, and apple pesto pizza with candied onions and macadamia nuts. Their signature cocktails all have funny and unique names, such as the “Just Landed,” invented to help you transition to island time, the “Staycation,” a combination of hendrick’s gin cucumber, fresh basil, lemon and simple syrup described as hoping you won’t know what day it is, and the “Intoxicated Opinion,” made with whiskey, local honey syrup,a dash of pineapple and splash of water. If you and your group are feeling brave, try the “Shaka Bowl,” a 48 oz. bowl of coconut rum, passion fruit and strawberry puree, natural li hing powder, and lemon and pineapple juice mixed in a volcano bowl. You each will get individual straws to share this large and wickedly delicious cocktail.
Happy Hour: Daily 3pm- 5pm
Within Kauai’s small towns is a night life full of fun, great music, mouthwatering cocktails and cuisine, all done with a local flair. We dare you to try out some of these options and then tell us there is nothing to do.