On the Town with Hawaiian Music
by Niko Rivas & Haiya Sarwar | May 18, 2011
Hawaiian Music / Let’s face it: Hawai’i is no New York. We can see how that sentiment might manifest into a sense of yearning, longing or even regret. But, instead of feeling slighted by the absence of freezing weather, snow and murky waters, we should celebrate the vast beauty of Hawai’i as found in its nature and culture. With that said, we’ve compiled a Hawaiian music guide which includes restaurants and bars that are hosts to some of the most talented local Hawaiian music in the world. Imua!
Tiki’s Grill & Bar
A fiery torch-laden lair overlooking Waikiki, Tiki’s Bar and Grill is fun and definitely decadent. Filled with island flair, this restaurant is guaranteed to please. Make sure to try their succulent mac nut crusted Mahi Mahi or their Aloha Friday Hawaiian Plate (loaded with kalua pig, lau lau, lomi lomi salmon, ahi poke, Okinawan sweet potato, haupia and poi).
Featured Musicians: Vaihi, Ellsworth Simeona, Local Uprising, Alex of Manoa DNA, UnNatural, Beach 5, Kunoa, Mango Season and Johnny Helm.
Tapa Bar, Hilton Hawaiian Village
Nestled within the grand architecture of the Hilton Hawaiian Village, this open-air bar will slip you right into vacation mode. Serving Hawaii’s premiere Round Table Pizza, this bar takes beer and pizzas to a whole new level of refinement.
Featured Musicians: “Little Albert” Maligmat, Typical Hawaiians, Olomana, Sean Naauao and Jon BaseBase.
Tropics Bar & Grill, Hilton Hawaiian Village
From their Big Kahuna Burger to their coconut fried shrimp, Tropics puts a local twist on American classics. Their dessert menu includes delectable creations like the Ginger- Scented Lilikoi Crème Brulee. Try their new Hawaii Five-0 inspired cocktail, a glamorous mix of rum and pineapple.
Featured Musicians: Henry Kapono, Celio Rodriguez, Jon BaseBase, Juke Joint, Beach 5 and Kailua Bay Buddies.
Rumfire, Sheraton Hawaii
This restaurant sits right on the beach and is known for its “bahawaiian” cuisine. With a menu made to be shared “pupu” style, indulge in their mahi mahi fish tacos or kalua pork empandas. For dessert, the Kahuku sweet corn (Dole pineapple pudding with caramel popcorn whiskey molasses) is a must try. Cocktails include tropical re-mixes like the Bahawaiian Beach Boy, the Sexy Wahine, and the Bloody Maui.
Featured Musicians: Kamuela Kahoano, Jon BaseBase, Jeremy Cheng, Kona Chang, Ellsworth Simeona, Marlene Baldueza, Phoenix Night and Randy Allen.
Named after the world famous Duke Kahanamoku, Duke’s takes you back to an older era of Waikiki, offering a wide array of Hawaiian influenced cuisine paired with memorable desserts such as the enticing “Hula Pie” which consists of macadamia nut ice cream, fudge, a chocolate cookie crust, all topped with whip cream–although their $14.95 breakfast buffet might take the cake for the best experience at Duke’s.
Featured Musicians: Henry Kapono, Kona Chang Duo, Vaihi, Tahiti Rey Duo, Maunalua, Simple Souls, Beach 5 and the Eric Lee Band.
Chai’s Island Bistro
The live music at this venue complements the friendly and festive setting. While the prices tend to run a little steep, the seafood cuisine is exceptional–for starters, try the Gravlax Salmon Roulade with Crab Meat & Cream Cheese Mousse.
Featured Musicians: Nathan Aweau, Sistah Robi & Friends, Bruce Shimabukuro, Melveen Leed, Robert Cazimero, Jerry Santos
1 Aloha Tower Dr., Wed.& Fri. 11am–4pm (lunch), Sun.–Sat. 4pm–10pm (dinner) [chaisislandbistro.com
Lewers Lounge, Halekulani
Like a Great Gatsby throwback with some Hawaiian flair, this chic and swanky bar is the perfect place to kick back. Sip on a Bee’s Knees (gin, honey, and lemons).
Featured Musicians: Noly Paa, Bruce Hamada and Jim Howard.
Mai Tai Bar
This hot spot at Ala Moana Shopping Center is the perfect atmosphere of modern Hawaiian music. With plenty of drinks and appetizers like their signature Angus Beef Sliders.
Featured Musicians: Kapena Band, Kapena De Lima, Chris Rego, The YOZA Project, Kamuela Kahoano, Beach 5, Simple Souls, Dayton Watanabe, Conscious Roots, Local Uprising, Tahiti Rey, Kahiau, Typical Hawaiians, Bamboo Crew, Kawao, and Irie Souls.