Where to Listen to Live Music in Waikiki

By Olena Heu
waikiki

Waikiki. Photo: Hawaii.com member Brad M.

Waikiki is known for it’s lively beaches, rolling surf and historic hotels. But the history and culture of this iconic festive paradise would be forgotten if not for its abundance of live Hawaiian music. From the land where palm trees and hula girls sway, you’ll find an array of venues from oceanfront stages, boutique hotels, hidden lounges and tiki bars to escape to for free live music.

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Blue Note Hawaii

Nightly 6:30pm and 9:00pm

Tucked away in the Outrigger Waikiki Beach Hotel, nestled between beautiful Waikiki Beach and historic Kalakaua Avenue, Blue Note Hawaii is the premier destination for top international sensations and musical artists performing live jazz, rhythm & blues, classical, reggae, along with the best in island entertainment and world-renowned comedians. The music line-up is 365 days per year with two shows nightly.

Buho Cocina y Cantina

Nightly 6pm-10pm

Take the elevator to the Waikiki Shopping Plaza rooftop and you’ll be whisked away down south of the border to Buho Cantina. Simply called Buho by locals, this modern interpretation of contemporary Mexican dining feels like you’re in an upscale Mexican cantina. Entertainment rotates between local acoustic jams, a live DJ and every 5th day of the month live salsa music and dancing.

Chart House

Nightly 6pm-10:30pm, Friday & Saturday 6pm-Midnight

The sunset, the steaks and fresh seafood are what Chart House customers love, and the cherry on top is live local entertainment. The music is as diverse as their menu with local rock, jazz and a little Hawaiian mixed in to welcome all who love live tunes.

Chuck’s Cellar

Nightly 6pm-10pm

Comfy, cozy and casual this Waikiki steakhouse is known for its hospitality, prime rib and live piano music. Featuring entertainment every night, Chuck’s Cellar in Waikiki proudly highlights live piano music Sunday through Thursday evenings; and a live jazz band Friday and Saturday nights.

Halekulani

House Without a Key-Nightly 5:30pm-8:30pm
Lewers Lounge Sunday-Thursday 8:30pm-12am, Friday & Saturday 8:30pm-12:30am

Famous for oceanfront Hawaiian music, hula dancing and a show under the stars, Halekulani Hotel features a traditional Hawaiian music band, and a statuesque Miss Hawaii dancing hula alongside an historic centuries’ old kīawe tree. Later in the evening a live jazz band can be heard from the luxurious Lewers lounge, which is known for its classic cocktails.

Hilton Hawaiian Village

Tapa Bar Sunday-Thursday 7:30pm-10:30pm, Friday and Saturday 7:45pm-10:45pm
Tropics Bar & Grill Sunday-Thursday 5:30pm-8:30pm, Friday 8pm-10:30pm

Dubbed the “Home of Hawaii’s Music,” the Hilton Hawaiian Village features some of the most notable and recognized Hawaiian music stars in Waikiki including Henry Kapono, Nohelani Cypriano and Olomana. The 22-acre resort also welcomes musicians known for their acoustic, rock and contemporary Hawaiian tunes.

Hilton Waikiki Beach

Lobby Bar Wednesday-Saturday 6pm-9pm

Cool and trendy, the Hilton Waikiki Beach on Kuhio Avenue is a bit off the beaten path. You’ll discover live music in the appropriately named Lobby Bar just steps from the main entrance. Young Hawaiʻi musicians performing top hits, ballads and familiar pop and rock tunes leave you wanting more.

Hyatt Regency Waikiki

Fridays 4:30pm-6:00pm
Celebrate Aloha Friday with a Polynesian show, hands-on lei making demonstrations, hula dancing, Polynesian art tattooing and a lively Samoan Fire knife dancer. Fridays from 4:30 pm to 6:00 pm near the waterfall on the ground floor.

International Market Place

Nightly 4pm-10pm

The newly reimagined International Market Place in Waikiki is now a shopping oasis featuring dozens of new retailers and restaurants. The tropical landscaping along with the preservation of its iconic banyan tree create a dramatic background for live Hawaiian entertainment. From the famed lighting of the torches to the hula ʻauana and kahiko shows the free performances here are a must see.

Irish Rose Saloon

Nightly 9pm-1:30am

The “Best Little Rock Club in Waikiki” is a hidden gem if you are looking for a place to rock and roll all night long. Located on Ena Road, this rustic Irish saloon proudly welcomes live music every night of the week until last call. From rock & roll to cover bands the spacious bar welcomes guests from 10-100 and will keep it rockin’.

Kelley O’Neil’s

Nightly live music 9pm-4am

This Irish watering hole prides itself as one of the few places on the island that provides a venue for local rock bands to perform every night. Known for their casual setting, a hot spot for drinks and food alongside live entertainment until late night, if you want to rock the night away this is the place for you.

Lulu’s Waikiki

Nightly 6:30pm-9pm

A casual setting just across the street from the Honolulu Zoo and Waikiki Beach, Lulu’s brings the beat. The surf culture-inspired venue hosts live music every night featuring some of the island’s best rising stars and local bands. Friday and Saturday late night DJs hold down the fort from 10pm. (*Note: There is a cover charge for DJ nights during the weekends.)

Westin Moana Surfrider

Banyan Tree Courtyard/Beach Bar daily12:30pm-2:30pm, 5:30pm-10pm

Many years ago the “First Lady of Waikiki” was home to the “Hawaii Calls” famous Hawaiian music radio show from 1935-1975. To keep the music alive, the tranquil courtyard continues to host live Hawaiian music daily during and after lunch then again in the evening. Grab a rocking chair and relax to the mellow sounds of both traditional and contemporary Hawaiian charms in this memorable location.

Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort

Kani Ka Pila Grille
Nightly Sunday-Tuesday 6pm-9pm, Wednesday-Saturday 3pm-5pm, 6pm-9pm

A hotspot for Hawaiian Music, Kani Ka Pila Grille showcases some of Hawaiʻi’s legendary musicians, along with up-and-coming performers. Strumming poolside you will find traditional Hawaiian music along with contemporary and modern hits performed by resident artists Robi Kahakalau, Brother Noland and Weldon Kekauoha.

Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort

Duke’s Waikiki nightly 4-6pm and 9:30pm-12am
Hula Grill Waikiki nightly 7pm-9pm

Just steps from the beach, the Outrigger Waikiki is also known for its jam sessions and lively Hawaiian music. Downstairs at Dukes Waikiki you will find Hawaiian artists Maunalua, Kaala Boys and Sunday concerts featuring Henry Kapono. Upstairs, Hula Grill highlights contemporary Hawaiian music near the bar to soothe the soul.

Royal Hawaiian Hotel

Mai Tai Bar nightly 6:30pm-9:30pm or 8pm-10pm

The iconic “Pink Palace” of Waikiki is known for its romantic, charming and traditional Hawaiian music. Situated beachfront and with spectacular views of Diamond Head, the Mai Tai bar is a landmark for live music which blends elegantly with the rolling waves of the Pacific Ocean. Entertainment alternates between solo Hawaiian artists and duos accompanied by hula dancers.

Sheraton Princess Kaiulani

Lava Rock Stage nightly 6pm-8:30pm
Splash Bar nightly 8:30pm-10:30pm

An historic location fit for a Princess, the Sheraton Princess Kaʻiulani hosts live entertainment near the pool and Splash Bar nightly. For a more traditional feel arrive early and enjoy a live traditional Hawaiian band alongside a featured hula dancer on the Lava Rock Stage. Then later, enjoy a more casual and contemporary vibe perfect to unwind at the newly revitalized Splash Bar.

Sheraton Waikiki

RumFire Nightly, 5pm-8pm Thursday-Monday 9:30pm-11:45pm
Edge of Waikiki Nightly 6:30pm-8:30pm

The Sheraton Waikiki features two oceanfront locations to ignite your fire for live music. RumFire and the Sheraton’s signature pool bar the Edge of Waikiki offer contemporary and trendy live acoustic jams just before sunset and into the night. Later, RumFire transforms into a popular lounge and dance club with a live DJ mixing beats featuring both hip hop and house blends. (*Note: There is a cover charge for DJ nights during the weekends.)

Sky Waikiki

Saturday and Sunday 6pm-9pm

Supreme panoramic views can be seen atop Sky Waikiki. The popular Sky deck and bar features live music showcasing new, cool, fresh island artists. Saturday and Sunday nights you can also spot local and internationally known DJs dropping beats from the interior bar throughout the night. (*Note: There is a cover charge for DJ nights during the weekends.)

The Modern Honolulu

The Study Monday-Thursday 8pm-10:30pm, Friday 7pm-10pm, Sunday 8pm-10:30pm
Sunrise Pool Deck Tuesday 4pm-7pm, Wednesday-Monday 5pm-8pm.

This chic and contemporary hotel nestled on the outskirts of Waikiki overlooks the Ala Wai Boat Harbor. The Modern Honolulu boasts live contemporary music daily from the pool deck during sunset and happy hour. Once the sun goes down, guests retreat to a hidden library with live acoustic vibes in The Study located on the lobby-level of the hotel.

Tiki’s Grill & Bar

Nightly 5pm- 10pm, Sunday 2:30pm, 6pm and 9pm

A relaxed atmosphere known for it’s award-winning food and eclectic mix of music, Tiki’s is located in the always festive Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel and showcases a diverse mix of talent from contemporary, Hawaiian, even pop. Cruise on over to this casual retreat for fun for the whole family.

Trump International Hotel Waikiki

Waiolu Ocean Cuisine Thursday-Saturday 6:30pm-8:30pm

Where eclectic meets luxury, Waiʻolu Ocean Cuisine is located in the Trump International Hotel and showcases memorable panoramic views of Waikiki. This restaurant and bar is known for its craft cocktails and tapas menu. Live uplifting entertainment begins after sunset and features contemporary singer-songwriters of Hawaiʻi. Sunset Happy Hour specials are from 3:00-6:00pm daily.

Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa

Moana Terrace nightly 6pm-9pm

An open air oasis, this inviting terrace at the Waikiki Beach Marriott overlooks Waikiki Beach and features some of Hawaiʻi’s musical masters. From slack key to traditional Hawaiian and contemporary hits, the live music, impromptu singing and some dancing can be expected at this poolside venue.

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