The Best Beach Bars in Hawaii
Beach bars are great for obvious reasons. Nothing says relaxation quite like kicking back with a cocktail and a sunny view of Hawaii's famously gorgeous sand and surf -- especially once you grow up enough to stop hiding adult beverages in plastic cups or brown paper bags. Whether you’re just visiting the islands, or are looking for a delicious staycation option, visit any of these killer beach bars for some genuinely mind-mending happiness.
At this oceanside watering hole, you’re as close to the beach as you can get without actually sitting on the sand. Glowing Tiki torches, swaying palms, and a grassy lawn draw a division between bar and beach, where you can get a front-row view of Ka‘anapali Beach. Take advantage of happy hour, where you can imbibe local draft beer, wine, and tropical cocktails every day from 5-6pm. Bonus: you can order any signature cocktail from a fresh pineapple. Sure, it’s touristy, but you know it’s a must-order. If not for the sheer joy of drinking from a fresh pineapple near the beach, do it for the photo opp (but really, it's so much fun).
Leave your closed-toe shoes at home: this laid-back beach club is located on 10 acres along Anaeho‘omalu Bay, and offers a full-service bar set directly on the beach. The menu showcases farm-to-beach ingredients, with island-style bites like ahi poke, as well as cold cocktails, wine, and beer to get your vacation (or hell, weekday) off right -- with your toes in the sand.
Set on a wooden deck just steps from the sand, this is a casual lounge in a five-star hotel, which means you can either opt to dress up in your best resort wear, or don rubber slippers (aka flip flops, for those of you who aren't from here) and partake in seriously high-quality ocean views. Kick back on the alfresco patio and choose from over 60 wines by the glass or eye-pleasing artisanal cocktails, made with fresh, tropical ingredients. While you’ll get your money’s worth in scenery all day long, grab some real estate on the patio before dinner, where you can expect picture-perfect sunsets... no Instagram filters necessary.
Two bodies of water greet the eyeballs at this luxury resort bar: sandy Mokapu Beach, and the hotel’s man-made lagoon, where you can lounge by the infinity pool. After a swim or snorkel, replenish those burned calories with a lobster grilled cheese sandwich, and refresh with handcrafted cocktails made from freshly squeezed juices and homemade syrups. Sip on a signature drink like a Wailea Spritz, made with Lillet Rose, gin, grapefruit, and sparkling wine, and wonder why every day can’t be a beach bar day.
Situated on busy Front Street in historic Lahaina Town, this casual seafood and steakhouse joint provides lovely open-air views of the beach. If you don’t feel like committing to a full meal, you can still enjoy the same breezy views in its Lanai Bar, where you can rest your feet after a day of playing tourist, and replenish with handcrafted cocktail creations like Kimo’s Grog, mixed with Maui-made vodka, ginger beer, and island-sourced ginger syrup. Stop by for Aloha Hour from 3-5pm daily and enjoy an array of $5 cocktails off the menu before waiting out the green flash.
When life calls for a #treatyoself moment, gather all your ducats and take them to this luxurious, adults-only pool bar. The 2,650sqft infinity pool is equipped with four bubble loungers and an underwater sound system -- where music can be heard only if you dive below the surface. The pool overlooks the Pacific, the West Maui Mountains, and neighboring Lanai in the distance. The best part: the pool features a swim-up bar, so you can sip specialty cocktails and stay in the water until you’re as pruny as you please. And should you decide to air out, 60 lounge chairs are available to sprawl on. You can even borrow a hood for shade, and a Kindle e-reader to peruse. For a super-luxury experience, rent a 160sqft cabana, equipped with a flat-screen TV with wireless headphones, oversized lounge chairs, a ceiling fan, a mini fridge stocked with Champagne, and Evian spritzes. Private poolside massages are also available, of course.
We love kids. But nobody's ever said, "Man, let's go to that bar -- there are always so many kids there!" This poolside beach bar is blissfully adults-only, which means you can imbibe tropical libations in peace. The infinity pool is perched just above sea level, giving you clear views of Diamond Head and the beach. Groups can opt to share family-sized carafes of Mai Tais or mojitos, or bottles of Champagne served in ice buckets. Or you could go the traditional route and sip individual-sized signature cocktail concoctions, like the refreshing coco splash, made with coconut water and lemongrass-ginger shochu. If you’re looking for a little more action than just staring at waves, stop by at 6:30pm for daily live entertainment -- often with a hula dancing accompaniment.
Take a break from replenishing your vitamin D and belly up to this bar straight from the beach. Cool down with a tropical drink like the Endless Summer, which is comprised of pineapple-orange-guava vodka, passion fruit juice, guava puree, and coconut cream... or a stronger concoction like the Whiskey Wipeout, which is mixed with Jim Beam, Grand Marnier, chipotle syrup, muddled pineapple, and garnished with fresh jalapeños. The extra good news: this casual bar is open from 11am, which means you can get a solid jump-start to your daydrinking.
Located directly between the Waipouli Beach Resort pool and Waipouli Beach, this seaside bar gives you the option of relaxing outdoors or under an open-air thatched roof, where you can still smell salty air breezing through your hair. This place doesn't just pay lip service to the concept of eating and drinking local, either: nearly 90% of the menu is sourced from local ingredients. Imbibe signature drinks like the pineapple martini, or a spiced rum cocktail. Those looking to amp up the ambiance (it's, uh, pretty great already) can book a private oceanside banquet, so you and your date can whisper sweet nothings in the comfort of a secluded canopy.
Perched alongside Hanalei Bay, this bar will aware those in the deck-side seats with unobstructed views of lush mountains hugging the blue waters. Come sunset, the bar gets pretty full, and you may have to battle a few bodies for a seat on the outdoor terrace. But if you can snag a coveted table, you will be treated to one of the best beach-bar views you've ever seen, and the opportunity to join in on the nightly Champagne ritual. (Spoiler: a bottle of bubbly is popped with a saber.) To better your odds at outdoor seating, come earlier in the day for unobstructed, unfiltered views.
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Summer Nakaishi is a freelance writer for Thrillist who has never opened a Champagne bottle unchaperoned for fear of poking an eye out, especially one that’s not hers.