Best Bars on the Big Island of Hawaii: Sip in Secret Speakeasies & Beachfront Pubs

Aloha! You’re headed to the Big Island of Hawaii and you’ve got sun-soaked beaches on your mind. But as the sun dips below the horizon, you’re thinking, “Where’s the party at?” Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

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From beachfront brewpubs to hidden speakeasies, the Big Island’s bar scene is as diverse as its landscapes. Whether you’re in the mood for a tropical cocktail or a locally brewed craft beer, you’re in for a treat.

Best Bars on the Big Island of Hawaii

Imagine sipping on a Mai Tai with sweeping ocean views after a day of exploring volcanoes and waterfalls. That’s the kind of experience the Big Island’s bars offer. Here’s where you should go when you’re ready to unwind.

Huggo’s on the Rocks in Kailua-Kona is a local favorite, promising fresh seafood and a cocktail menu that won’t disappoint. Positioned right on the water, the sound of waves accompanies your tropical indulgences. As the sun sets, the atmosphere picks up with live music that invites you to dance the night away.

In Hilo, there’s Pineapples Island Fresh Cuisine, a gem for those who adore live local music and want to taste the island through its cocktails. Their signature pineapple cider is a must-try, showcasing Big Island’s bountiful produce.

If craft beer is what you’re after, Kona Brewing Co. cannot be overlooked. This brewery serves a plethora of beers, with the Longboard Island Lager and Big Wave Golden Ale being staples. The relaxed vibe and ‘island-style’ seating encourage you to linger longer and relish the flavors.

For a more intimate, speakeasy ambiance, sneak into Hilo’s Secret Mermaid Bar at Ponahawai St. Here, the focus on classic cocktails and understated elegance will transport you to an era of prohibition charm without the need to whisper a password at the door.

  • Huggo’s on the Rocks: Oceanfront location
  • Pineapples Island Fresh Cuisine: Live music
  • Kona Brewing Co.: Variety of craft beers
  • Secret Mermaid Bar: Speakeasy atmosphere

Each spot reflects a different facet of Big Island’s spirited nightlife and assures you an evening that’s both delightful and memorable. Whether you want to kick back with local brews or get fancied up for artisanal cocktails, these bars have you covered. And remember, you’re here to soak in every moment—sip by sip, beat by beat.

Beachfront Brewpubs with a View

When you’re craving a cold one with an ocean panorama, Big Island’s beachfront brewpubs won’t disappoint. Your love for the island life surely includes moments where you can just sit back and let the view complement your drink.

At Kona’s Oceanfront Pub, you’ll find yourself mesmerized by the uninterrupted vistas of the Pacific while sipping on their in-house specialty brews. Drinking here is more than just about the beer – it’s about an experience that encapsulates the essence of Hawaii. Tables are set right on the sand, so you can dig your toes in while enjoying the sea breeze and a casual island vibe.

  • Local Brews: Try their Kona Coffee Stout for a unique local flavor.
  • Happy Hour: Offers reduced prices and is a draw for both tourists and locals alike.

Heading north, Waikoloa Beachside Brewery serves up stunning sunsets that will have you reaching for your camera. Your palate won’t be neglected either, as their range of ales and IPAs perfectly complement any end-of-day relaxation you’re seeking.

  • Craft Selection: A must-try is their Island IPA, which carries a crisp finish.
  • Live Music: Check their calendar for nights with local musicians.

If you’re after a more upscale sipping session, Mauna Kea Beach Hotel’s Copper Bar is the place. While not a brewpub, their extensive selection of craft beers makes it a wonderful stop for beer enthusiasts. Plus, the view of Kauna’oa Bay is truly captivating.

  • Upscale Ambience: Enjoy sipping on fine beers in an elegant setting.
  • Signature Sips: The Mauna Kea Ale is exclusive to this locale.

Remember, it’s not just about where you drink, but what you’re gazing at while you do. These beachfront spots offer a feast for your senses, making each sip an unforgettable part of your Hawai’i experience. From the sun kissing the horizon to the gentle lap of waves, your beer just found its perfect pair in the view.

Hidden Speakeasies for an Adventure

Craving the thrill of finding tucked-away gems? Your taste for adventure and a quality night out is about to be rewarded. Meet the Big Island’s hidden speakeasies, an intoxicating secret whispering through town. Step beyond the beachfront and dive deeper into a clandestine world of vintage charm and handcrafted cocktails.

Behind Hidden Doors

Imagine wandering down an alley, heart set on discovery. You’ll feel a rush the moment you find Hilo’s Lantern Alley. Lit by dim Edison bulbs, you push open an unmarked door to uncover a roaring ’20s atmosphere. There’s something timelessly appealing about sipping a classic cocktail in a space that’s so far removed from the typical tourist track, every detail is a nod to Prohibition’s allure.

Whispers of the Past

Not far from the lantern light, Volcano’s Secret Retreat beckons the curious. The discreet entrance barely hints at the warm, inviting interior draped in history. Don’t let the word ‘retreat’ fool you; with their innovative libations utilizing local ingredients, your taste buds will embark on an ‘eruption’ of flavors. Here, storytelling bartenders recount tales as legendary as their drinks.

Intimate Evenings

Prepare to whisper the password at Kailua-Kona’s Starlit Parlor. Nestled behind a bookstore, this intimate locale promises a serene escape. Surrounded by rare tomes and sipping elegantly crafted potions, you’ll relish the tranquility away from the busy beaches. It’s a moonlit journey back in time, perfect for a nightcap, where each cocktail is a poetic expression.

Connect with the Craft

The Big Island is rich in volcanic soil and tropical climate, fostering a vibrant local ingredient base used expertly by craft mixologists. You’re not just embarking on a visual and atmospheric journey; you’re connecting with the flavors that make Hawaii unique. Each secret sip tastes of the island’s own spirit—distinctive, a little exotic, and endlessly inviting.

Engage your senses fully in these speakeasies and let the hidden history of the Big Island wash over you as you’re immersed in the stories and tastes of old Hawaii.

Tropical Cocktails and Local Craft Beer

When you’re questing for the quintessence of island libations, the Big Island’s tropical cocktails and local craft beers are an absolute must-try. Your palate is in for a real treat with unique infusions of local fruits and the finest hops cultivated right here in Hawaii’s rich volcanic soil.

Let’s dive into the tropical cocktails first – these are not your average fruity drinks. Imagine sipping on a Mauna Kea Mai Tai, enhanced with fresh lilikoi and a dash of coconut cream. Or perhaps a Lava Flow, which combines traditional flavors with a modern twist, such as a hint of Kona coffee liqueur for that extra island kick.

Local distilleries have made their mark with spirits crafted from sugarcane and other island-grown ingredients. Using these as a foundation, bartenders across the Big Island expertly mix up creations that can transport you to sandy shores with just one sip.

  • Tropical Cocktails to Savor:
  • Mauna Kea Mai Tai
  • Big Island Breeze
  • Volcanic Sunset

If beer is more your style, you’re in luck. The craft beer scene here embraces local culture and tastes, offering a multitude of ales and lagers that are as refreshing as they are distinctive. Many breweries use Hawaiian grown produce like Breadfruit, Cacao, and Coffee Beans, infusing tropical notes into every pint.

Here’s a tasty tip: look out for limited-run brews that feature seasonal flavors; they’re often available exclusively at the breweries and are well worth the detour.

  • Must-Try Local Craft Beers:
  • Kona Big Wave Golden Ale
  • Maui Coconut Porter
  • Hilo Hop Lei IPA

As you embark on your Big Island bar-hopping adventure, take the time to chat with the locals. They’ll share insights on the best spots where you can enjoy these libations with vistas that are just as intoxicating. And remember, with every tropical cocktail or craft beer you sample, you’re experiencing more than just a drink – you’re savoring the essence of Hawaii’s endless summer.

Local Favorites for Live Music and Dancing

When your soul hankers for a rhythm to sway to under the starlit Hawaiian sky, you’ll find the Big Island bursting with local venues that blend live music and that irresistible urge to dance. Remember those stories your grandparents used to tell about the vibrant dances on Maui? The Big Island keeps up that tradition, turning every evening into a tropical jamboree.

Gertrude’s Jazz Bar in Kailua-Kona is a must-visit hotspot. It’s where musicians, both local and from far-flung corners of the world, bring jazz, salsa, and even the blues to life. The dance floor is always welcoming, and whether you’ve got two left feet or the finesse of a seasoned dancer, you’ll feel right at home. Their calendar’s teeming with themed nights, so there’s always something fresh.

For reggae enthusiasts, Lava Shack in Pahoa offers beats that resonate with the pulse of the island. Dance to the grooves that celebrate Hawaii’s melting pot of cultures. It’s not just a venue; it’s an experience where the island spirit is as palpable as the robust strumming of a ukulele.

Uncle Robert’s Awa Bar is a hidden gem in Kalapana. This spot isn’t just for sipping the traditional awa; it’s a cultural touchstone where live Hawaiian music sets the scene for evening revelry. Every Wednesday night feels like a family gathering, with locals and visitors alike sharing the dance floor, embracing the aloha spirit.

Don’t miss the opportunity to delve into Hilo’s nightlife at the Hilo Town Tavern. Here, rock, jazz, and island beats merge to give you a night of unfiltered local flavor. You’ll rub shoulders with artists and storytellers, all moving to the universal language of music.

In your quest for liquid adventures, give yourself the chance to get enchanted by the Big Island’s live music scene. Engage with the community, let your hair down, and dance the night away as the island’s rhythm becomes a part of your own story.


You’ve now got the inside scoop on the Big Island’s best bars, where the drinks are as captivating as the views. From the beachfront to speakeasies, each spot offers a unique slice of paradise with a twist. Remember to savor the local flavors in your cocktails and the craft in every brew. Don’t forget to mingle with the locals at live music venues for an authentic Hawaiian night out. So go ahead, explore these gems and make memories that are as intoxicating as the libations you’ll find. Here’s to unforgettable nights on the Big Island! Cheers!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best bars to visit on the Big Island of Hawaii for a beachfront view?

The best bars for a beachfront view on the Big Island include various beachfront brewpubs that not only offer stunning vistas but also a selection of local brews.

Where can I find hidden speakeasies on the Big Island?

Hidden speakeasies on the Big Island include Hilo’s Lantern Alley, Volcano’s Secret Retreat, and Kailua-Kona’s Starlit Parlor, each providing a unique atmosphere and handcrafted cocktails.

What makes Big Island speakeasies special?

Big Island speakeasies are known for their vintage charm, clandestine settings, and innovative libations that utilize local ingredients, offering a taste of the hidden history and flavors of old Hawaii.

Can you recommend tropical cocktails to try on the Big Island?

Yes, tropical cocktails to try include the Mauna Kea Mai Tai and the Lava Flow, which incorporate unique local fruits and flavors.

What’s distinctive about the Big Island’s craft beer scene?

The Big Island’s craft beer scene is unique for its use of Hawaiian-grown produce and volcanic soil that infuses tropical notes into their ales and lagers.

Where can I enjoy live music and dancing on the Big Island?

For live music and dancing, check out local venues such as Gertrude’s Jazz Bar, Lava Shack, Uncle Robert’s Awa Bar, and Hilo Town Tavern to experience the vibrant local music scene.

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