Things to do in Honolulu

Live Music in Honolulu

March to the beat of your own drum at Honolulu’s best live music venues.

The vibrancy of Honolulu’s culture, deeply rooted in music and arts, shines in this city by the sea. We’re particularly fond of the artistry that flows through this island paradise, especially since it’s everything we embody, too.

Going to a live music performance is one of the best things to do in Honolulu. From the gentle melodies of a ukulele to the awe-inspiring harmony of symphony orchestras, there's something to suit every music lover's taste. While you can catch live music just about anywhere on the island, these are some of our favorite venues.


Waikiki may be best known for its white sand beaches and stunning viewpoints, but it’s also the heart of Honolulu’s live music scene. When you’re weary from exploring the island, don't go to bed. Head out to experience the nightlife and get your second wind.

As musicians steal the show, Hawaiian-style entertainment comes alive in local restaurants and bars.

1. Irish Rose Saloon

Hidden away from the touristy areas in Waikiki, Irish Rose Saloon plays live music well into the night. Various local bands rock out in this venue, creating an upbeat ambiance for a night of drinks and games.

The extensive drinks list includes whiskey and mai tais, ensuring you have plenty to drink as you're bopping to the beat. If you get weary from dancing, take part in games like darts or shuffleboard.

Since 1985, this pub has remained a staple for locals. If the noise gets too loud inside—the bands are known for their rowdiness—step out onto the lanai for some fresh air.

2. Cuckoo Coconuts Waikiki

Cuckoo Coconuts Waikiki is an old-fashioned tiki bar with imposing tiki carvings and vibrant decor that evokes tropical vibes. Kids are welcome to tag along with their parents and enjoy a menu of Hawaiian cuisine and typical bar foods.

Beers, wines, and cocktails dominate the drinks menu, but the star of the show is the piña colada served inside a real coconut. Shop for souvenirs or settle in for a live music show.

Music and entertainment programs play from 7-10 p.m. each night. Many musicians play here, from local singers and songwriters to classic rock cover bands. Dancing is strictly prohibited, but you can tap along to the beat.

3. Lewers Lounge

For an upscale live music opportunity, head to Lewers Lounge, located in the Halekulani Hotel. This cocktail lounge has moody jazz music on the entertainment menu, and the intimate scene makes an excellent setting for a date night. Just be sure to dress your best—elegant resort attire is required.

Dive into a menu of signature drinks and mocktails alongside light appetizers and desserts. The Smoke Rings drink is particularly popular. It's finished with cherry wood smoke for a memorable taste.

Source: Halekulani Hotel

4. Hula’s Bar & Lei Stand

A trip to Hula’s Bar & Lei Stand takes you to the second floor of the Waikiki Grand Hotel. The venue is particularly popular among the local LGBTQ community thanks to its welcoming atmosphere.

Here, the drinks flow readily, and live music sets the stage for an unforgettable time. While music doesn’t play nightly, you can check the calendar of upcoming events to plan your visit according to your tastes.

Even when live music isn’t blaring, tunes pour from the speakers, inviting guests to get on the dance floor. If you’re brave enough, show up on open mic night and serenade the audience. You’ll be rewarded for your efforts with a free drink. The venue also hosts regular drag shows.

5. Kani Ka Pila Grille

Nestled in the OUTRIGGER Reef Waikiki Beach Resort, Kani Ka Pila Grille embraces Hawaiian cuisine and culture. This poolside restaurant and bar brings local live tunes with weekly music programming each night. You'll mainly hear Hawaiian music performed by local legends, such as Sean Na’auao, renowned for his song Fish and Poi.

While the restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the music shows start at night. Savor delectable entrées, such as fresh ahi steaks or jumbo garlic shrimp, but save room for dessert. The eatery's caramelized pineapple crème brûlée has a reputation that precedes it.

Remember to wash your meal down with a drink. Any cocktail on the menu can be served inside a fresh pineapple. A drink served in a fruity, sustainable cup is perfect in our books.

6. Hale Koa Hotel's Barefoot Bar

Hale Koa Hotel's Barefoot Bar sits on the edge of Ilima Lawn by Waikiki Beach. It offers a casual place for visitors to enjoy a quick refreshment and post-beach entertainment.

Pick up a quintessential mai tai or a Waikiki mule (the bar’s signature take on the Moscow mule), and sit down to enjoy the show. If you’re hungry, you should order from the nearby Pool Snack Bar or one of the surrounding restaurants.

If you visit in the evening, you might be enticed to stay awhile when the melodies begin. Starting at 6:45 p.m., Monday through Thursday, or 4:30 p.m. on weekends, performers elevate the peaceful ambiance with live island music.

Source: Hale Koa Hotel

7. Moani Waikiki

Moani Waikiki's humble roots are deep in Hawaiian culture. Beginning as family gatherings in the Keolanui family’s garage with live music and homestyle food, it eventually transformed into their vision.

Sharing their family tradition with the world motivated them to open a restaurant and bar. When its West Oahu location thrived, the family brought their music to Waikiki. At Moani Waikiki, food and music are best savored with company.

Live music plays every night while guests enjoy family-style dishes, such as hoisin pork belly or fried whole fish. Even the cocktails come in sharable portions.

8. Blue Note Hawaii

Inside the OUTRIGGER Waikiki Beach Resort, Blue Note Hawaii brings world-class talent and local legends to the stage. Various musicians perform for the 326-seat facility all year.

While jazz is the central focus, other genres, including rock, pop, and Hawaiian music, frequently appear on the schedule. International superstars, such as Rick Springfield, have played here from time to time, and occasionally, it hosts comedy shows.

The venue features a robust menu, and guests must spend at least $10 while attending events. Handcrafted cocktails and beers offer a refreshing drink, while Pacific Rim-inspired dishes, such as Miso Ginger Mahi Mahi, take you on a culinary journey.

While the bar area restricts guests to 21 years or older, the restaurant is child-friendly.

9. Tom Moffatt Waikiki Shell

Music sounds sweeter in a picturesque setting. Across the street from Waikiki Beach, with Diamond Head in the background, the Tom Moffatt Waikiki Shell is one of the most unique venues on this list. Aptly named for its shell-shaped structure that helps amplify the sound, this outdoor venue serves as a prime destination for sunset concerts.

Musical events of all kinds play here, from symphonies to rock concerts. However, the venue has stringent rules about chairs, food, drinks, and bags, so review its policies before attending.

Source: Blaisdell Center

10. Bandstand at Kapi’olani Regional Park

Kapi’olani Regional Park has a musical secret that makes it a hidden gem. At its bandstand, semi-regular performances attract locals and tourists. The stunning Victorian-style structure dates back to the 1890s.

Underneath the park's mature trees, benches offer seating for visitors. The stage hosts the Royal Hawaiian Band and the occasional community event.

The band dates back to 1836 under King Kamehameha III’s royal decree. Today, it’s managed by the City and County of Honolulu, but its music still captivates locals' hearts, inspiring the next generation to pick up an instrument.

Ala Moana

Ala Moana may mean “path to the sea,” but it also paves the way to a musical haven. This entertainment district combines scenic beauty with trendsetting shopping and entertainment for an unforgettable time.

11. The Republik

Since 2012, The Republik has reigned supreme over Honolulu’s music and nightlife scene. Expect thumping bass and a grand time in an intimate indoor arena. Regular dance parties and raves run by DJs light up the night. Famous bands frequent the stage for live performances.

While some performances allow guests of all ages, many limit audience members to ages 18- or 21-plus, depending on whether alcohol is served. If you get hungry while you’re here, the kitchen serves up easy finger foods. Dive into pizzas, sandwiches, and bar favorites, like chicken wings or fries.

12. Off the Wall Craft Beer and Wine

Off the Wall Craft Beer and Wine brings good food and great drinks to Honolulu with an extensive menu of 24 local beers, wines, and ciders. With its unique self-serve drink wall, you become your own bartender. Peruse selections, such as Paradise Ciders’ Killah Dragon, a cider with dragon fruit and raspberry undertones handcrafted in Hawaii.

Dinner with entertainment is also available if you time your visit right. Regular performances by local musicians add an extra oomph to the experience. Tribute bands and original songs offer the chance to find a new favorite indie artist over your burger or drink.

The restaurant usually seats guests on a first-come, first-served basis. However, if there’s a show you’re particularly eager to see, you can make a reservation online to guarantee your spot.

13. Slack Key Lounge

Hawaii’s slack-key guitar style brings an innovative twist to a classic instrument. While slack-key isn’t the only music you’ll hear at the Slack Key Lounge, it’s lent its name to the venue. You’ll find the lounge downtown on the second floor of the Hawaiian Brian's venue.

The intimate venue is known for its great acoustics and comfortable seating, making it ideal for a taste of the city’s nightlife at a slower pace. Live jazz and tribute bands commonly take the stage, but comedy shows and other events, such as nightlong dance parties, sometimes pop up.

Arts District

Sometimes, the best live music events are held in performing arts centers, and that's the case in Honolulu.

14. Hawaii Theatre Center

Approaching the Hawaii Theatre Center evokes feelings of old-school concert halls with its classic neon marquee and stately walls. Inside, elegance exudes from the deep velvet curtains and vaudeville-style stage.

All sorts of live performances occur here, from operas and concerts to plays and ballets. Occasionally, it hosts hula shows in Honolulu, providing patrons with a taste of traditional arts.

The venue melds nostalgic charm with modern sound and lighting technology. The interior is spectacular, and you can take a tour if you're interested in architecture.

Source: Hawaii Theatre


Kaka’ako’s vibrancy exudes a trendiness that keeps Honolulu at the forefront of culture. Visit the area's most opulent performing arts theaters for a memorable celebration of music.

15 Neal S. Blaisdell Center

Honolulu’s biggest live music events occur in the Neal S. Blaisdell Center’s Concert Hall. The Honolulu Symphony and Hawaii Opera Theatre proudly call this stage home. Here, many touring shows grace the stage. Broadway and symphony orchestra performances are common.

It's a luxury venue for almost any event, with an elegant proscenium stage paired with modern sound and lighting. Some planning may be necessary for wheelchair users, however, as there are no elevators leading to the balcony areas.

Source: Blaisdell Center

Encore in Paradise: Finding Your Rhythm in Honolulu’s Live Music Scene

The cadence of Honolulu’s live music scene is unique, merging tradition with modern tastes and preferences. For an otherworldly musical experience, come to one of our shows. An inspiring musical score plays as our stories unfold through careful choreography, clever technology, and astounding special effects.

Our performers take our stage by storm, wowing crowds with death-defying feats and aerial grace. We craft intriguing tales that defy conformity, creating an unforgettable experience. Our ingenuity shines when we dare to dream of a world without limits. Our shows in Honolulu are a force to be reckoned with.

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