Best Bars on Oahu: Top Spots from Rooftop Views to Beachfront Vibes

Ready to discover the hottest spots for a night out on Oahu? You’re in luck! This Hawaiian island isn’t just about stunning beaches and surf spots; it’s also home to a vibrant bar scene that’ll keep your evenings just as exciting as your days.

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From chic rooftop lounges with panoramic views to laid-back beach bars where the sand is practically at your feet, Oahu’s got a watering hole for every taste. Whether you’re looking for craft cocktails or the coldest beer in town, you’ll find your perfect spot to unwind.

Top rooftop lounges with panoramic views

Picture this: you’re sipping on a Mai Tai, the sun’s kissing the horizon, and there’s a 360-degree view of Oahu’s stunning landscape. For an experience that tops them all, literally, rooftop lounges are your go-to spots.

First up, Sky Waikiki takes the experience of dining and cocktails to new heights. Located on the 19th floor, your breath will be taken away by the views of Waikiki Beach and the starlit skyline. Here, the ambiance blends with the tropical breeze to create unforgettable evenings.

  • Nightly entertainment
  • Creative cocktail menu
  • Upscale dress code

Another gem, Buho Cocina y Cantina, is a modern Mexican kitchen perched in the heart of Waikiki. It’s not just the guacamole that’ll leave you impressed but the sweeping vistas of the city and the ocean. A perfect place for those Instagram-worthy sunsets, don’t you agree?

  • Extensive tequila selection
  • Rooftop garden setting
  • Happy hour specials

Then, head over to Tommy Bahama Restaurant & Bar at Waikiki. While it’s more of a casual affair, the rooftop offers a serene escape with lush greenery and a view that captures the essence of island living. What’s more relaxing than a rooftop lunch with the Pacific in the background?

  • Island-inspired cuisine
  • Cocktails infused with local flavors
  • Live music

While these spots offer a slice of paradise, remember they’re just a taste of what Oahu has in store. Each rooftop has its own unique flair, promising not just a drink but an experience. Soak in the views, indulge in the local culinary delights, and let Hawaii’s magic do the rest. Keep exploring, and you’ll find that each lounge tells its own story of Oahu’s vibrant culture and breathtaking beauty.

Laid-back beach bars with sandy floors

After soaking up the energetic atmosphere of Oahu’s rooftop lounges, you might be yearning for something a bit more down-to-earth. Oahu’s beach bars are the perfect escape to embrace the island’s laid-back lifestyle with your toes in the sand.

Imagine walking into a bar where the floors are not tiled or wooden but instead, adorned with the soft textures of the island’s sand. Barefoot Bar & Grill and Surfer, The Bar at Turtle Bay Resort are just a couple of the havens where you can stroll in straight from the surf. Here, flip-flops are optional, and the casual vibe invites you to linger a little longer over your tropical drink.

  • Barefoot Bar & Grill is where you’ll find enthusiastic patrons tuned into the rhythm of the waves while savoring local brews.
  • Surfer, The Bar capitalizes on its North Shore location, offering guests not just a beer but an invitation to the surf culture of Oahu.

You’ll notice these beach bars serve more than just drinks; they’re community gathering spots. Expect to encounter vibrant conversations, accompanied by acoustic guitar performances that carry on under the starry sky. The menu at these spots often features fresh, local seafood that perfectly complements the salty sea breeze.

Duke’s Waikiki is another spot where the legacy of Hawaiian surfing legend Duke Kahanamoku lives on. This spot is perfect for watching the sunset with one of their signature cocktails in hand. Don’t miss the chance to try their Hula Pie – it’s a dessert that’s as memorable as the panoramic ocean view.

When the night draws in and the tiki torches light up, you’ll appreciate the unique ambiance these beach bars provide. It’s where time slows down, and the Hawaiian spirit is as palpable as the warm night air caressing your skin. Let the melody of the live band blend with the whispers of the ocean as you revel in the tranquility of island nightlife.

Trendy craft cocktail bars

After soaking in the vistas at rooftop lounges and feeling the sand between your toes at beach bars, you’ll want to explore Oahu’s craft cocktail scene. There’s a palpable energy in the air as mixologists shake up innovative concoctions that tell a story through every sip. Let’s dive into the island’s top spots where the artistry of cocktail making takes center stage.

First up, Bar Leather Apron, tucked away in the heart of downtown Honolulu, feels like a secret society for those who appreciate the finer things. Here, it’s all about the details, from hand-carved ice to locally sourced ingredients. Their menu changes regularly, but the award-winning bartenders consistently serve up unique flavors that’ll surprise your palate.

Wander over to Pig and the Lady, renowned for its Vietnamese fusion cuisine but don’t overlook their cocktail program. With fresh herbs and an array of exotic ingredients, they craft drinks that complement their bold food menu perfectly. Picture yourself savoring a ‘Pho-Rita’, a playful blend of tequila and pho seasonings, that’s as memorable as it sounds.

As you continue your journey, make your way to Bevy, located in the trendy Kaka’ako district. Here, the industrial chic decor sets the backdrop for a night of tasteful indulgence. Order from their seasonal menu or let the bartender surprise you with an off-menu creation. Either way, you’re in for a treat as they’ve mastered the art of combining homemade syrups and infusions to elevate classic cocktails.

Lastly, you can’t miss Pint + Jigger, a gastropub that prides itself on its vast selection of draft beers and a cocktail list that’s just as impressive. Expect to find drinks that pay homage to Hawaii’s cultural diversity and local flavors, engaging all your senses.

Each of these craft cocktail bars on Oahu offers a unique atmosphere and innovative drinks concoctions—a perfect blend of creativity and island spirit. Whether you’re a cocktail aficionado or simply looking to sip something new and exciting, these bars are sure to please. As you plan your nights out in Oahu, add these trending spots to your list for an unforgettable experience.

Best spots for live music and entertainment

If you’re craving the rhythm of the islands paired with a refreshing cocktail, Oahu’s live music venues are sure to hit the right note. Mai Tai Bar at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel is a staple for music lovers. Here, you can catch performances by local talent surrounded by the iconic pink architecture of the “Pink Palace.”

Step into Arnold’s Beach Bar & Grill, where the ambience is as chill as the drinks are cold. It’s an oasis for budget-conscious travelers who don’t want to compromise on the quality of their entertainment. Lewers Lounge—nestled in the stylish Halekulani Hotel—presents a more upscale affair. After a day of surfing or exploring, unwind to the sounds of jazz and piano that complement the sophisticated setting perfectly.

  • Mai Tai Bar – Open-air venue at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, perfect for savoring traditional island music.
  • Arnold’s Beach Bar & Grill – A cozy spot catering to those seeking great tunes without a hefty price tag.
  • Lewers Lounge – Sophisticated jazz in the Halekulani Hotel for a touch of elegance.

Should you be in the mood for an experience that’s a fusion of food, drinks, and live performances, head over to Blue Note Hawaii. Located in the Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort, this venue is renowned for hosting both international and local artists in genres spanning jazz, blues, reggae, and more.

Of course, for a taste of Hawaii’s traditional music and dance, don’t miss the chance to attend a Luau. The Polynesian Cultural Center and Paradise Cove Luau immerse you in Hawaiian culture through powerful performances of hula and fire knife dancing, all while you feast on a sumptuous island buffet.

  • Blue Note Hawaii – A premier spot for a wide range of live music genres.
  • Polynesian Cultural Center & Paradise Cove Luau – Engaging traditional entertainment coupled with a local feast.

Dive bars with local charm

On the flip side of Oahu’s upscale rooftop lounges and breezy beach bars, you’ll discover the island’s charismatic dive bars, each radiating its own local charm. Here, it’s less about the fancy cocktails and panoramic views, and more about the character, history, and connection to the island’s everyday life.

Smith’s Union Bar, tucked away in Honolulu’s Chinatown, is Oahu’s oldest bar. Don’t let its age fool you; this place bursts with life, especially when the karaoke machine roars to life. You’re just as likely to rub elbows with downtown professionals unwinding after work as you are with artists celebrating a gallery opening.

Next is Side Street Inn, celebrated for its no-frills ambiance and “pupus” that locals rave about. This gem’s claim to fame is as much the food as it is the chance to join impromptu gatherings of Hawaii’s celebrated chefs on their off nights.

  • Smith’s Union Bar
  • Side Street Inn
  • Kelley O’Neil’s
  • Anna O’Brien’s

While exploring Waikiki, drop into Kelley O’Neil’s for live local music that keeps the party going until the wee hours. Here, lively bands set the tone for night-long revelry, a stark contrast to the tranquil Hawaiian moonlit beaches just a stroll away.

Up for something eclectic? Anna O’Brien’s near the University of Hawaii serves up a college town feel with a twist. It’s a haven for various live acts, from folk music to stand-up comedy, reflecting the diversity you’ve come to expect from Oahu’s social spots.

Each dive bar you visit offers an invitation to delve deeper into Oahu’s culture and nightly rhythms without the veneer of touristy sheen. It’s a place where stories unfold more organically, against a backdrop of laughter, clinking glasses, and the unadorned spirit of Aloha.


You’ve just embarked on a virtual tour of Oahu’s most enticing bars and it’s clear there’s a perfect spot for every taste under the Hawaiian sun. Whether you’re soaking in the views from a chic rooftop, feeling the sand between your toes at a beach bar, savoring a craft cocktail masterpiece, swaying to live music, or kicking back in a dive bar with real local flavor, your nights on Oahu promise to be as unforgettable as the island’s sunsets. So grab your flip-flops or your finest aloha shirt and dive into the vibrant nightlife that awaits. Here’s to nights filled with aloha spirit, cheers!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the top rooftop lounges mentioned in the article?

The top rooftop lounges on Oahu highlighted in the article are Sky Waikiki, Buho Cocina y Cantina, and Tommy Bahama Restaurant & Bar, all known for their stunning views and unique experiences.

Can you recommend some casual beach bars in Oahu?

Yes, the article recommends Barefoot Bar & Grill, Surfer, The Bar at Turtle Bay Resort, and Duke’s Waikiki as great options for a relaxed and casual atmosphere right on the beach.

Where can I find trendy craft cocktail bars on Oahu?

For craft cocktails, the article suggests visiting Bar Leather Apron, Pig and the Lady, Bevy, and Pint + Jigger, each offering innovative drinks and a unique ambiance.

Which venues offer live music and entertainment in Oahu?

For live music and entertainment, check out Mai Tai Bar, Arnold’s Beach Bar & Grill, Lewers Lounge, and Blue Note Hawaii. Additionally, traditional Hawaiian music and dance can be enjoyed at the Polynesian Cultural Center or Paradise Cove Luau.

What dive bars are recommended for an authentic local experience in Oahu?

The article lists Smith’s Union Bar, Side Street Inn, Kelley O’Neil’s, and Anna O’Brien’s as dive bars that offer an authentic local experience and a taste of Oahu’s culture and nightly rhythms.

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