Islands Of HawaiiHawaii Nightlife Bars and Entertainment.
Hawaii. The Aloha state, brought sharply into world focus by the horrific events of Pearl Harbor in 1941, when Japanese naval and air forces attacked the America Pacific Fleet base on Oahu, finally bringing the US into the Second World War. Equally known for Hawaii 5-0, the legendary tv cop series that kicked off in 1968, ran through til the 80s and which still reruns today.
Aside from this, located in the central Pacific Ocean, Hawaii is really rather beautiful, boasting some of the world’s most dramatic scenery: tropical rainforest, gorgeous beaches, spectacular sea cliffs and waterfalls and wonderful flora and fauna. Its tallest mountain, Mauna Kea stands at 13,796ft and is taller than Mount Everest if measured from its base – on the floor of the Pacific Ocean!
Consequently, Hawaii has both inspired and played backdrop to many famous (and not so famous) movies including South Pacific, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jurassic Park, Godzilla and Lilo and Stitch. Aloha means love, kindness and compassion and Hawaiians are keen to portray this image from the moment you arrive – why, you can even prebook a traditional fresh flower Hawaiian Lei greeting online (from around $20). If you’re a smoker, though, it’s not quite so welcoming. Hawaii became a non-smoking (in enclosed or partially enclosed public places) state in November 2006 and enforces the law quite vigorously.
Location Of HawaiiHawaii is part of the US..but not. Admitted to the Union in 1959, making it the 50th state, Hawaii is unique in that it is not located in North America, is separated from the mainland by water (and is completely surrounded by it), and – because of its active lava flows – is one of the few land masses actually growing in size. It’s also unique in its diversity of ethnicities – which has created its own race relations problems – but equally, from a visitors point of view, a true melting pot of food, language and customs..
Originally settled as early as the 4th Century by Polynesians, and a favourite settling point for immigrants after James Cook first visited in 1778, the islands today have a total population of 1.2m made up of Caucasian, Japanese, Filipino, Chinese as well as Hawaiian. This mix has seen the creation of a specific language – Hawaii Creole English, or pidgin, and generally used terms that you just won’t hear in any other state…E Komo Mai (welcome) and Mahalo (thankyou) being a couple of them.
Since becoming part of the US, tourism has become Hawaii’s largest industry, responsible for around a quarter of GSP and overtaking sugarcane, sandalwood, whaling and pineapple – the other dominating industries. Ever bought a can of Dole pineapple? James Dole arrived in Hawaii in 1899, established the first pineapple plantation and in time made Hawaii the pineapple capital of the world.
Flag Of HawaiiA trip to Hawaii is likely to take you to one or more of six islands within a mass of hundreds which make up the state’s 1,500 mile volcanic chain: Oahu (home to capital Honolulu), Maui, .Kauai, Big Island (also confusingly known as Hawaii), Molokai and Lanai.
Hawaii tends to work on the theory that everyone is out and about enjoying the beautiful beaches and scenery during the day; the action kicking off late afternoon after sunset
Oahu, or The Gathering Place, is the most populated island, the most touristy, and easily the best bet for up tempo nightlife. Liquor can be sold in Hawaii’s bars and clubs for pretty much most of the night (4am if a cabaret license is held) but outside Oahu you’ll be hard pressed to find anywhere open that late.
The main Oahu resort hotels are along Waikiki Beach and there are many decent bars and lounges to be found here. Try the Hilton Hawaiian Village Hotel’s Hau Tree Bar for spectacular beach views. Best known nightclubs include Rumours, Scruples and Esprit, and The Yard House in the new Waikiki Beach Walk or Lotus Soundbar on Kuhio Avenue are both popular spots. For a fabulous 360 deg view, try Top of Waikiki, Hawaii’s only revolving restaurant. The chic Pearl in the nearby outdoor Ala Moana Center (shopping/restaurant oasis) is a good reason to venture outside Waikiki…as is Honolulu.
Seal Of State of HawaiiDowntown Honolulu comes alive at night and has – as you might expect – a vibrant Chinatown. Restaurant Row and Aloha Tower are two restaurant/shopping complexes that are favourites – try the Pier Bar and The Row. Great restaurants are plentiful; La Mer in Kalia Road has superb French inspired cuisine and superb views while The Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant offers views of ships arriving and departing Honolulu Harbor, as well as good beer, food and music. For that traditional of Hawaiian cocktails the Mai Tai there’s only one place – The Mai Tai Bar on Kalakauna Avenue.
Maui is the second largest in the Hawaiin chain with a thriving arts and music scene, and is another popular tourist destination, particularly for honeymooners – drawn by the panoramic sunset views. You’ll find most action takes place in and around the hotels and resorts and there are a host of upbeat early evening beach bars and restaurants in Kaanapali, Lahaina, Wailea, and Maalaea. Interesting hotel venues include the Grotto Bar at the Hyatt, Lahaina, a poolside lava rock oasis offering special tropical drinks and smoothies, the Weeping Banyan loung in the Atrium lobbyof the Hyatt which floats on a pond of colourful koi, the Lobby Lounge of the Four Seasons and the Mele Mele lounge at the Wailea Beach Marriott. Or drive inland to Kula Lodge with its phenomenal views over the island and watch the sunset whilst enjoying a delicious seafood and steak menu. Late night life in Maui is limited and partygoers tend to head for Casanova in Makawao, Paradise Bluz and Moose McGillicuddies in Lahaina and Hapa’s in Kihei or Spats at the Hyatt Regency in Kaanapali (which is open til 3am).
In comparison, the relatively quiet and unspoilt islands of Lanai, Molokai, Big Island and Kauai are for those who want to put their walking boots on and discover true tranquility. Here your nightlife options are pretty much restricted to the hotel resorts and don’t expect anywhere to be open much after 10pm (11pm if you’re lucky). Having said that, we’re talking about some pretty smart resorts here with stunning sunset views. Notable are the Kahakai Bar and Sunset Terrace at the Fairmount Orchid, Copper Bar at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, nostalgic Clipper Loungeat the Waikoloa Beach Marriott, and Crystal Blue at the Sheraton – all on Big Island. Recommended restaurants here include Canoehouse and Coaste Grille and Browns Beach House on the Kohala Coast.
Lanai has a a good choice of restaurants at Lanai City and Koele, where the emphasis is on quality. The Dining Room at the Lodge at Koele, Pele’s Other Garden, the Blue Ginger Cafe, Canoes Lanai and the Ihilani and Hulopoe Court at the Manele Bay resort are all worth mentioning, while the Hala Ahe Ahe Lounge at the Four Seasons has dramatic views of the ocean.
Better still, find a romantic and tranquil spot, watch the sun go down and make your own entertainment under the stars.