The circle of the sun disappears for another day, trailing its magnificent afterglow beyond the Pacific Ocean shoreline. The day’s agenda has been filled. Nighttime emerges and warm temperatures give rise to Hawaii’s energetic nightlife scene. While the islands of Kauai and the Big Island focus primarily on adventures by day, clients who are ready for some late-night excitement are best suited for Oahu and Maui, both of which boast bars, clubs, lounges, live music, disc jockeys and dance floors.
“The nightlife scene is as vibrant as ever on Oahu, with several new venues popping up,” said Les Enderton, executive director of the Oahu Visitors Bureau. “Restaurant-turned-nightclubs are extremely popular, such as Indigo in Chinatown and Skyline at the Hanohano Room.”
Promising to be the most spectacular and innovative club on Oahu’s scene, the newly named Level 4 will open its doors to the late-night crowd on July 19. Located on the fourth floor of the renovated Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center, Level 4 shares the space of the much-anticipated $24 million, theatrical dinner show Waikiki Nei, also launching in July. Once the show is over each evening, seating will give way to the nightclub space. Celebrity DJs will set the tone for a dance floor lit by panoramic screen projections and will feature aerial performers descending from 60 feet above. In an ultra-lounge, guests can play with interactive tabletops with feeds to the dance floor video system. In a 7,000-square-foot outdoor space, guests can situate themselves around a bar and the cabanas.
“Everything is very interactive, very state-of-the-art,” show producer Roy Tokujo said.
Oceanfront at RumFire, another addition to the late-night scene, has become a hot spot with dance parties held on the second and fourth Saturdays of the month. Dancers take over the 7,000-square-foot interior space of the new RumFire hotel restaurant/bar into the wee hours. In the outdoor lounge, a stylish crowd circles around fire pits on the grassy oceanfront.
“It’s very cool, right by the ocean,” remarked a visitor from Aspen, Colo.
The hosts of Oceanfront at RumFire — called Flash and Matty Boy — previously launched the successful Skyline at Hanohano Room, and they continue to do so on the first and third Saturdays of the month on the dazzling 30th floor of the Sheraton Waikiki.
“Much of the nightlife scene, and this includes Waikiki, is carried by local residents,” noted Rebecca Pang, a spokesperson for the Oahu Visitors Bureau.
That holds true for Maui as well, however, Maui’s hotel scene is contending with the closing of resort venues like Spats nightclub at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa and Spa in Kaanapali, Tsunami Nightclub at the Grand Wailea Resort Hotel & Spa and the live music venue
Hapa’s Nightclub in Kihei.
“The dynamics from our guests change,” said John Hernstat, director of sales and marketing at the Hyatt Regency Maui. “Spats ran its course for many, many years, and was very successful. We’ll do something [with the club]. We don’t know what that will be, yet, but it will reopen.”
To the southwest, clients can enjoy swanky and subdued late-night live music in the spectacular lobby lounge of the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea from 8:30-11:30 p.m. Up the hill, the golf course clubhouse Mulligan’s On the Blue continues to gather a late-night crowd with its roster of popular local bands and dance floor.
Rising on the South Maui scene, the new restaurant, Oceans Beach Bar and Grill, features a large square bar and pool tables and attracts a youthful, trendy clientele. Its small dance floor is really jumping Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights from 10 p.m.-2 a.m.
In West Maui, the restaurant-turned-nightclub theme is in play, alongside the lively bars lining Lahaina’s Front Street. The open-aired Oyster Bar atop the Lahaina Store Grille transforms into a live music and DJ hot spot. It draws a mostly young, local crowd Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays until 2 a.m., and Sundays until 1 a.m. Likewise, the restaurant Giovani’s Tomato Pie has emerged on the scene with touring bands and DJs on Saturdays from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.
“Giovani’s in Kaanapali has been very active lately, and they seem to throw a lot of theme parties that are really popular with the over-21 crowd of die-hard partiers,” said Starr Begley, associate editor of the Maui Time Weekly.
On the North Shore, visitors can appreciate the late-night dancing mainstay of Charley’s Restaurant in Paia. Upcountry, they can head to Casanova in Makawao.
“Casanova is still going strong after all these years,” said Begley. “They put on great shows, from local greats like John Cruz to French Cabaret. They also have a strong island music scene and have really embraced the local crowd. Then again, I’m partial to Upcountry Maui because I’ve grown up there. But the mood up in Makawao is different now. It’s not so much the rave scene of the late ’90s, but instead, more local music.”