There is only one place that makes it possible to watch manta rays in the wild while sipping a cocktail and eating pupus. Rays on the Bay—aptly named after the local manta rays feeding offshore of Keauhou Bay at night—is that place. This bar-meets-aquarium provides views of a natural oasis with gigantic manta rays ethereally gliding through the water, feeding on microscopic plankton and tiny fish. Rays on the Bay has open-air seating, and is situated on an outcropping of lava, a unique place to view the animals from above.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.