Live Hawaiian Music On Oahu

In Waikiki and beyond, it’s easy to find first-rate Hawaiian entertainment By: Marty Wentzel
Dreamy hula and live music at Halekulani's House Without a Key
Dreamy hula and live music at Halekulani's House Without a Key

When the sun sets, the fun doesn't stop on Oahu. It's just tuning up. Visitors have plenty of options for hearing live Hawaiian music during their visit to the island, with some of the state's best-loved entertainers taking the stage.

Following are a few favorite venues to catch tropical tunes. Of course, everyone has his or her own favorite spot to sip, sup and savor the melodies, so this list is by no means conclusive. Instead, consider it a good starting point for your own tuneful explorations of Oahu.

Chai's Island Bistro
Hawaiian music at a Thai food restaurant? You bet. It’s a winning combination at Chai's Island Bistro in Honolulu’s Aloha Tower Marketplace, where each night brings top island entertainers like the Brothers Cazimero, Melveen Leed, Jerry Santos, Sista Robi, Nathan Aweau, Danny Couch and Grammy nominee Raiatea Helm. The food, crafted by chef Chai Chaowasaree, is equally satisfying.

Duke's at Outrigger Waikiki on the Beach
No shoes are required at this beachfront gathering place, which means you can stroll right in from the sand, order fresh fish or a juicy steak and catch live Hawaiian music any day of the week from 4-6 p.m. Such acclaimed artists as Henry Kapono, Vaihi, Eric Lee, Maunalua and Beach 5 have been known to share their talents with the crowd.

Halekulani’s House Without A Key
It’s hard not to fall in love with this timeless outdoor seaside setting under a century-old kiawe tree. Nightly from 5:30-8:30 p.m., a former Miss Hawaii -- either Kanoe Miller or Debbie Nakanelua -- mesmerizes guests with sleek hula moves while a quintessential island trio backs her up. It’s one of Oahu’s most beloved spots for sunset and music.

Hilton Hawaiian Village's Super Pool
By day, the Hilton's Super Pool is a center of splashy fun in the sun. On Friday evenings starting at 7 p.m., however, it turns into a stage for the Rockin’ Hawaiian Rainbow Revue, offering island-style hula and music as well as a fire knife dance. Capping the evening: a stunning beachfront fireworks display that lights up Waikiki Beach.

Kona Brewing Company
Located a short drive east of Honolulu in the residential hub of Hawaii Kai, this well-loved watering hole perches on the docks of Koko Marina. It lures guests with yummy appetizers, fresh fish and pizzas, mugs of beer and live entertainment from Thurs.-Sun. Traditional and contemporary Hawaiian music is offered up by a variety of performers, most notably Grammy award-winner Ledward Kaapana.

Royal Hawaiian’s Mai Tai Bar
With the 1927 Royal Hawaiian as a timeless -- and very pink -- setting, the Mai Tai Bar does justice to its name by serving arguably one of the best mai tais in the islands. Just take one sip and see if you don’t agree. Then sit back and enjoy the live Hawaiian music any night of the week while watching the last of the day’s surfers ride the waves off Waikiki Beach.

Waikiki Beach Walk: Na Mele No Na Pua
Waikiki Beach Walk, an island-inspired enclave of shops and restaurants, sets the stage for live music by headliners like Melveen Leed, Amy Hanaialii and Maunalua. Hosted by Outrigger Enterprises, Na Mele No Na Pua concerts are held each Sunday from 5-6 p.m. on the Plaza Stage near the Embassy Suites-Waikiki Beach Walk, and it’s free.

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