Music is a huge part of Kauai’s colorful and enduring culture. Wherever you go on the island, you’re sure to find a spot playing classic island tunes or a group of friends singing along to the golden sound of a guitar. Music is also a huge part of the island’s biggest annual festivals, such as the Kilauea Art Night and Red Clay Jazz Festival.
Music lovers are sure to enjoy Kauai’s nightlife scene, as visitors have a plethora of spots to choose from if it’s live music that can make the perfect evening. From jazz to the upbeat rhythm of tropical Hawaiian drums, here are 6 spots that you can check out not only for entertaining live music in Kauai, but also a taste of the island’s best chows and drinks.
6 Best Places for Live Music in Kauai
1. Stevenson’s Library
With an ambiance unique to the rest of the nightlife on the island, Stevenson’s Library in Poipu delivers an elegant atmosphere for a night of music. From its namesake, Robert Luis Stevenson, this refined bar is furnished with dark wood, upholstered sofas, books, and diversions for group games.
Live jazz performers play nightly at Stevenson’s, regaling patrons with soothing tunes. If you fancy pairing smooth strains with a drink, single-malt scotches are a specialty, along with cognacs and ports. Make sure to also try their scrumptious maki and sushi selection, made with the freshest catch in Poipu.
An expert tip: For this upscale, refined bar, dress up semi-formal rather than beach casual. It will be easier to match the old school lounge in photos and mingle with other patrons!
Right to the east of the island, Kapa’a, awaits a carefree party atmosphere. Every Friday, Tradewinds showcases a lineup of local bands performing blues, bluegrass, rock, and Hawaiian music.
Karaoke is also wildly popular in this delightful little spot on the island – perfect for groups and families up for a singing spree! With over 4,500 songs to choose from, there’s more than enough to bring the house down.
It’s important to note that Tradewinds doesn’t serve food, but guests are allowed to have food delivered from neighboring restaurants. However, if you want to let loose a little, we recommend trying their daily drink specials to get the right buzz that will have you dancing the night away.
3. Hanalei Gourmet
Although this casual restaurant serves food all day, it’s also known for its energetic nightlife scene. Hanalei Gourmet may hold court in a former schoolhouse, but loud upbeat music is enjoyed in the space every night.
Patrons also kick it at the bar with live rock music which is played several nights a week. The repertoire varies, so you may also catch bands playing jazz or island folk.
Perfect for lovers of both music and food, the restaurant serves various burgers, appetizers, fresh fish, and other light fare. Also remember to try the restaurant’s award-winning tropical cocktails and drinks to complete an evening of music surrounded by great views of the beautiful Hanalei mountains.
4. Tahiti Nui
This colorful, relaxed place provides a healthy dose of local style and an authentic taste of traditional Kauai. This warm hangout welcomes guests craving for home-cooked food, as well as those looking for tropical drinks to enjoy with great entertainment.
Since opening in May 1963, Tahiti Nui has been family run and operated and continues to serve and entertain patrons with the same casual, romantic vibe found only in Hanalei. The spot has some of the most unique and famous drinks on the island, and you’ll find great choices in their dinner and appetizer specials.
Every night, the venue holds different kinds of activities, be it karaoke performances, bands playing local tunes, or opening the floor for dancing. Tahiti Nui is definitely a local watering hole, with fun-loving patrons and visitors flocking for the casual and fun ambiance.
5. Mahiko Lounge and Lanai
Located inside the living room of one of the island’s iconic plantations, Kilohana, Mahiko Lounge offers locals and visitors a chic new place to dine, drink, and get entertained.
The word Mahiko means Sugar Plantation in Hawaiian, and the integrity of the plantation’s heritage is kept visible despite the fresh and modern vibe of the lounge. From 3 to 5 in the afternoon, seafood and pork appetizers are served to pair with their specialty cocktails.
Later in the evening, the lounge turns into a stylish entertainment space, showcasing hula performances and live bands playing jazz and island tunes. The lounge offers various choices of drinks to enjoy, from local beers to house wines. With its ambiance, Mahiko can also serve as a perfect spot for weddings in Kauai.
6. Duke’s Barefoot Bar
Set inside Duke’s Canoe Club in sunny Kalapaki Beach, the bar takes advantage of its beachside locale and open-air ambiance. Duke’s is dedicated to legendary surfer Duke Kahanamoku, Hawaii’s Ambassador of Aloha, so you can expect to experience some great Hawaiian fun.
On weekends, local performers entertain guests with terrific Hawaiian music, and the place comes alive with folks grooving and dancing. The bar offers a menu of tropical shakes, juices, and cocktails full of island fruits and goodness. Upstairs, there is a dining room that serves Hawaiian local favorites, from seafood dishes to tasty fried chows.
Just before the party gets started, guests are free to take a quiet walk on the beach shore to take in the view. Take the bar’s name seriously and be ready to go barefoot when the situation calls for it!
Fill Your Kauai Trip with Music
You’re all set for a wonderful trip to the Garden Isle with music to liven it up even more. There are plenty of spots to enjoy music on the island, and we recommend exploring the area you’re visiting if it’s not already on our list.
The beautiful island of Kauai and its picturesque views are best enjoyed with a couple of island tunes, so get your dancing feet ready and groove on. We hope this guide has been helpful in planning your perfect Kauai itinerary!
6 Best Spots for Live Music in Kauai [Infographic]