BAR BUZZ: A Glimmer of Nightlife in Kauai's Hanalei

Contrary to conventional wisdom, Kauai does indeed keep the party going after dark in Hanalei at the iconic Tahiti Nui.

Tahiti Nui Restaurant and Lounge

If you find yourself in the sleepy surf town of Hanalei past 10pm, you might think martial law is in place ordering all businesses closed by 9:30pm. It’s less martial law than island practice – early to bed, early to rise. But even islands have night owls, music makers and drink samplers. Should you fall into one or all of those categories, Tahiti Nui Restaurant and Lounge can rescue you from an evening of staring at the ceiling, begging your unwilling eyes to close. Family owned and operated for 50 years, the Tahiti Nui stays true to its roots, opening its arms to residents and visitors alike. People gather together at this longtime local hangout to share stories, song and food.

They host live music every night, supporting local artists and upcoming rockstars, offering late night music Thursday through Saturday, and the occasional Wednesday. The open smiles, worn wood floors, and Lauhala mats covering the walls and ceiling give you a taste of authentic Hawai’i Nei. This is the place to go if you’re looking for a casual haunt with quality tunes and friendly vibes. If you’re not looking for a lively local bar, but don’t want to subject yourself to a geriatric bedtime either, go to Iti Wine Bar next door to the Nui. If Tahiti Nui is a surfer babe, then Iti is its fashion model sister. Owned by the same family, Iti Wine Bar has the same open and friendly feel as The Nui, but the similarities stop there. The intimate space, with warm chocolate walls, black granite bar, and rotating art by local artists, is more conducive to talking and tasting than moving and shaking. But they understand the allure of great late-night conversation, and serve food until midnight. Whichever your nighttime preference, be it causal and boisterous or intimate and chic, Tahiti Nui and Iti Wine Bar have you covered. Go hungry, thirsty and curious; leave feeling infused with the spirit of Aloha.

Hours: Open Mon-Sat 11am-1:30am; also open Sun
Address/Phone: 5-5134 Kuhio Highway Hanalei, HI 96754; (808) 826-6277

Ashley Welton is a Hawaii-based travel writer. She writes about adventure and travel at miniskirtninja.com as well as other publications. Connect with her on twitter @miniskirtninja

1 Comment

  1. Paul on December 26, 2013 at 10:44 am

    The nightlife in Hanalei seems alive and vibrant. It may not be the typical bar or club scene one would find in the US, but that’s the point of vacationing. Trying new things and experiencing new places.


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