Best Bars on the Big Island

Mai Tai
Mai Tai | © Johnny Silvercloud / Flickr
Kalena McElroy

The Big Island of Hawaii is an outdoor lover’s paradise—home to active volcanoes, black-sand beaches, and Hawaiian monk seals. Like any shoreside hub, the Big Island offers a variety of bars and nightlife locations. You can drink on the sand, listen to live music, and visit one of the state’s award-winning microbreweries.

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Kona Brewing Co.

Pub, Restaurant, American, Fusion, $$
Kona Brewing Co. is the original pub and brewery for the popular Kona brand of beers dubbed “Liquid Aloha.” In addition to taste-testing various microbrews, visitors can take a one-hour guided tour of the brewery’s facilities. The pub features a large, outdoor lanai, a gift shop, and live local entertainment every Sunday evening.

Laverne’s Sports Bar

Bar, Restaurant, American, $
Laverne’s Sports Bar is located on the lively Ali’i Drive, surrounded by shops, cafes, and restaurants. If it’s not game day, the sports bar is an ideal spot to take in ocean views with a cocktail or beer. Bar games, live music, and a dancefloor add to the fun.

Huggo’s On The Rocks

Bar, Tapas, Seafood, $


This waterfront bar and restaurant sits right on the cliffs of Kailua-Kona. The bar is recognized for happy hour specials and local pupus. It’s best to grab a cocktail in the early evening and watch the sunset over the ocean. Huggo’s On The Rocks also offers nightly live music and entertainment, including local musicians and hula performances.

Beach Tree Bar & Lounge

Bar, American, $$
A drink at Beach Tree Bar & Lounge in the Four Seasons is an unforgettable experience. Wicker chairs are set right on the sand overlooking the Pacific Ocean. If you want to nibble on something while taking in the sunset, fish tacos, and bruscetta are on the menu, along with an extensive wine list.

Big Island Brewhaus

Craft Ale Bar, Pub, American, Fusion, $
Big Island Brewhaus is the vision of home-brewing enthusiast Thomas Kerns. His passion and enthusiasm for craft beer led to numerous medals awarded at the U.S. Open Beer Championships, World Beer Cup, and the Great American Beer Festival. Big Island Brewhaus was named one of the Top 10 Breweries in America for two consecutive years—an honor only received by one other brewery in the U.S. Overboard IPA, White Mountain Porter and Red Giant, are among the award-winning brews to try at the brewhaus.

Lava Lava Beach Club

Bar, Hotel Restaurant, Fusion, $$

eggs Benedict

Dig your toes into the sand at Lava Lava Beach Club at Anaeho’omalu Bay. This bar is located in the upscale Waikoloa Beach Resort and is owned by the proprietors of Huggo’s On The Rocks in Kailua-Kona. The contemporary Hawaiian beach-front cottage offers a daily happy hour, and a special Bloody Mary Sunday brunch.

Cafe Pesto

Cocktail Bar, Pizzeria, Restaurant, Italian, $

Tuck into some pizza at Cafe Pesto

This casual cafe first opened in Kawaihae Harbor and after finding success, it expanded to include a location in Hilo town. Known for its Italian food, Cafe Pesto also shines when it comes to their signature cocktails. Tourists and locals revel in Hawaiian-inspired drinks like the lilikoi drop, and the citrus guava martini.

Hilo Bay Cafe

Cafe, Cocktail Bar, Contemporary, Seafood, Sushi, $
Perched on stilts alongside Hilo Bay, this trendy restaurant serves up sushi and American fare. The real draw is the view of the ocean, alongside the artisan cocktails mixed with local liquors like Old Lahaina Silver Rum, and okolehao—Hawaii’s version of moonshine. The Pacific Lush and pineapple-cilantro mojito are popular options aside from the bar’s rotating selection of seasonal beers on tap.

Joann’s Lounge Bar

Bar, Tapas
Karaoke lovers make their way to Joann’s Lounge Bar located right in Hilo town. Open-mic karaoke runs all night and serves as a favorite for group outings. Additionally, the second round of drinks comes with five to 10 free pupus to share. Though selections are always based on market items, meatballs, Portuguese sausage, poke, fried chicken, and shrimp often make menu appearances.

Hilo Town Tavern

Bar, Restaurant, American
Hilo Town Tavern brings live music, comedy shows, bar games, and open-mic nights to Hilo’s nightlife scene. A part of the Downtown Hilo Art Walk every first Friday of the month, this spot is a local hangout. Hilo Town serves up typical American pub grub like chicken wings, and nachos with an island twist.

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