I have always, do always and will always love a good bar. Drop me in a dingy, horribly lit dive bar with a jukebox on a Wednesday at 1pm and I will make six new lifetime friends. Some of which probably will not have all of their teeth, but who am I to judge – I can’t even ride a freaking bicycle.
As you may have guessed, read or already assumed, Maui’s bar scene is… well… it leaves something to be desired. I like things that leave something to be desired (hey, dive bars!), but I also like things that fulfill desires.
If you must drink on Maui, which, let’s face it, the majority of adults who aren’t Amish, recovering alcoholics or in the middle of a detox yoga retreat will, you should know what to expect. Also, I spend the majority of my time in Kihei and Paia, so there are probably several bars I’m missing on this list. Google ’em.
Maui Bar Guide
If You Like Hole-In-The-Wall Bars:
Kahale’s Beach Club – Kihei
Live music every night of the week, cheap beer, happy hour from 10:30am to 5:30pm. Come thirsty, low maintenance and not hungry.
Steel Horse Saloon – Wailuku
If I had a dime for every time I fell in love with a bar with Christmas lights strung outside… Steel Horse is a local biker bar tucked in Wailuku Town, and possibly my favorite bar on Maui. Everyone knows each other, there’s karaoke, live music, pool, cold beer, sassy bartenders (in a wonderful way), and the tiniest dance floor in the world. Come, sing, dance, drink, enjoy, go home.
Stopwatch Sportsbar & Grill – Makawao
Cheap drinks, live music, friendly service, karaoke, bar food and sports. If those things appeal to you, come patient, bored and possibly high. Also you have to love a bar who doesn’t have a website or Facebook page. Dive bars ain’t got time for that.
If You Actually Like-the-Taste-of-Alcohol Bars:
Cow Pig Bun – Kihei
If bourbon and/or bitters is your homeboy, this place is your best bet. Try the CPB Sour (Templeton, Lemon Juice, Dolcetto and Bitters) with a side of righteous mac-n-cheese and sit at the bar.
Monkeypod – Wailea
Go for happy hour with a view, tasty food, and memorably strong cocktails. Try the Ali’i Margarita (Maestro Dobel Tequila, Clement Creole Shrubb, Fresh Lime, Orange and Simple Syrup) minus the simple syrup or the Na Ka Oi (Ocean Vodka, Thai Basil, Lime, Honey-Lilikoi Puree and Simple Syrup) minus the simple syrup, and tip my friend Olive very well if she’s your server.
Mala Ocean Tavern – Lahaina
I’ve never eaten at this place (although I hear they’ve got great grinds), but it’s a cozy, sexy, romantical place to grab a seat at the bar and enjoy a refreshing martini just before sunset. Try the Pearmaine Martini (Grey Goose La Poir, St. Germaine, Lime and Angostura Bitters) or Canton Ginger Martini (Ocean Vodka, Canton Ginger Liqueur, Candied Ginger Garnish).
If You Like Entertain-Me Bars:
North shore staple with live music, cheapish beer, and occasionally Willie Nelson. Go hungry and after a long day of work slash surfing.
Four Seasons Resort Lobby Lounge – Wailea
Sunset hula dancing, live Hawaiian music and overpriced cocktails with a killer view. Come in “resort-attire”, carrying a dictionary with an applicable definition of “resort-attire”, and a wallet containing more than an old Starbucks gift card.
If You Like I’ll-Entertain-You Bars:
Great happy hour, tasty sushi rolls, sake, and free late-night karaoke in a cozy bar and restaurant setting. Come tipsy and ready to belt some questionably solid-sounding tunes. Karaoke available on Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 10pm to 1am.
Haui’s Life’s a Beach – Kihei
Hot girls, mai tais the size of your face and decent happy hour. Eat before you go, and karaoke it up on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday at 9pm.
If You Like Bust-a-Move Bars:
Ambrosia Martini Lounge – Kihei
Maui has some weird laws when it comes to drinking and dancing, mainly that you aren’t allowed to do one whilst doing the other. That being said, if you’re like me and enjoy any and all opportunities to bust multiple moves, head here to enjoy the tiniest dance floor in all the land, which was voted the Best Place to Dance on Maui for the last two years.
Casanova Italian Restaurant – Makawao
Go on Friday nights for some dance hall reggae fun and people-watching with Maui’s most lovable, beardy DJ, Q103’s Irie Dole.
If You Like Cocktails-With-A-View Bars:
Fleetwood’s on Front Street – Lahaina
There’s something that rubs me wrong about this place, and I can never quite figure out what it is (maybe because I’ve written about them a hundred different times and they never respond to me – yup, that’s it). That being said, the rooftop bar is sexy as hell. Grab a Pimm’s Cup and go in time for sunset and/or midday happy hour from 2 to 5pm. Bonus: It’s owned by Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac, who’s been known to come play from time to time.
Sea House – Napili
In my opinion, Napili Bay is one of the most beautiful beaches on the island, and the Sea House directly overlooks it. The cocktail menu leaves something to be desired – and from experience, do not order a Mexican Martini – but besides that, the view is killer and the food is good. Go for a lunch cocktail or three and take a dip in the ocean afterwards.
Bumbye Beach Bar – Wailea
Located at the top of the Andaz Maui’s three-tiered resort pool, this lovely pool bar overlooks Mokapu Beach and has some of the best sunset views you can ask for in South Maui. The drinks aren’t cheap and are served in plastic cups (bummer, however, you are sitting by a pool), but they’re pretty delicious and use local ingredients.
Make Your Own – Everywhere
If all else fails, grab a six pack, a bottle’a wine, pre-mixed liquor goodness and some semi-conspicuous cups and walk outside and drink. Drinking on the beach is technically illegal, but that doesn’t mean people don’t do it. A lot. Just remember to clean up after yourself and not act like a drunken tool in public.
If You Like Hipster-Bars:
Hop on the next flight to San Francisco.
If You Like Sports-Bars:
Ask someone who enjoys sports.