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Best Honolulu Nightlife

AOL PICK from our Editors
At some beach destinations, there aren’t a lot of entertainment options after the sun takes its final bow. Honolulu nightlife, however, is thriving. The best Honolulu nightlife is concentrated mostly in two areas, Chinatown and Waikiki. On the first Friday of every month, the bars, restaurants, clubs, boutiques and galleries in the Chinatown arts district open their doors for live performances and special events. Part gallery walk and part pub crawl, the month occasion draws people from all over the island, and Honolulu’s hipster crowd is always in attendance. It’s a short taxi ride from Waikiki, but with a handful of happening venues at the beachfront resorts, visitors are walking distance from an eventful night out. Whether you are looking for a quiet lounge to relax in with a mai tai or a swanky nightclub to dance until the sun comes up we have our recommendations for the best Honolulu nightlife experiences.  

Rumfire

Neighborhood: Waikiki/Ala Moana
If you think there’s nothing more to a mai tai than dark rum and pineapple juice, then clearly you have not visited Rumfire. The ultra-modern, ocean-side lounge, a newer addition to the Sheraton Waikiki, presents an extensive list of creative cocktails featuring vintage and exotic rums from around the world (we recommend the cucumber lavender mojito). Pair them with wok-fired specialties, grilled fish, and cold and hot tapas. Rumfire is one of the best Honolulu bars if you're looking to stay in one spot throughout the evening. Start early with happy hour specials ($5 cocktails and $3 draft beers) and live music from 5-7PM daily. Or stay all night, fabulous people-watching opportunities abound until 2AM Fridays and Saturdays.

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Rumfire  

Next Door

Neighborhood: Chinatown
Next Door is without question one of the best live music venues the city has to offer. When the club is not featuring a hot Indie band, it invites talented techno/trance/house deejays to the turntable. A second floor VIP lounge overlooks the renovated urban warehouse, and the spacious floors, high ceiling and weathered brick walls exude an underground exclusivity not found at other Honolulu venues. Next Door is one of the best Honolulu clubs for travelers looking to experience the hip underground music scene the city has to offer. Once a month, Showdown in Chinatown, a 48-hour short film-making contest is hosted here, a treat to catch if you happen to be in town on the right day.

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Next Door  

Lotus Soundbar

Neighborhood: Waikiki/Ala Moana
There are few nightspots in Waikiki that aren’t overrun by sunburnt tourists who have had one too many mai tais. Lotus SoundBar is an exception. The swanky nightclub hosts some of the best Honolulu nightlife, with three floors and five rooms, where you can appreciate the first-class sound system that pumps out soulful hip hop, smooth downtempo, atmospheric drum ‘n ‘bass, and sexy house music. Lotus is one of the best Honolulu bars for travelers looking to dress up, sip a cocktail or two and dance through the night. Honolulu hipsters are lured by the regular rotation of resident and visiting deejays; most arrive late for the after hours scene—which continues to 4AM on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. The cover charge is usually around $10. Don’t show up in slippers or swimwear—a strict dress code is enforced.

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Lotus Soundbar  

thirtyninehotel

Neighborhood: Chinatown
thirtyninehotel owner Gelareh Khoie brought San Francisco’s roof-top party practice (and e.e. cummings’ aversion to capital letters) to Honolulu when she opened this posh, cozy second-floor club-gallery—a “multimedia space,” as it’s promoted—on Hotel Street. thirtyninehotel offers one of the best Honolulu nightlife venues with both indoor and outdoor seating. Inside, its walls showcase the work of local contemporary artists, easy conversation pieces for unacquainted patrons. Outside, groups of friends share tapas and enjoy exotic cocktails and fresh air under the starry skies. Resident mix-master, DJ Harvey, who hails from the UK, has been a longtime Honolulu crowd-pleaser. The venue is open Tuesday through Saturday from 4PM to 2AM.

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Lewers Lounge

Neighborhood: Waikiki/Ala Moana
Helming the polished wood bar at this Waikiki institution at the illustrious Halekulani hotel is renowned mixologist Dale DeGroff, who rose to fame at New York City’s Rainbow Room. DeGroff created a menu of signature drinks that will satisfy cocktail aficionados looking for something more than a pineapple-speared umbrella in their glass—case in point is the fromage d’Affinois martini—an outrageous (yet delicious) concoction of four things (a slice of soft French cheese, vodka, truffle honey and raspberries) that you would never imagine coexisting in a martini glass. The romantic piano lounge has warm lighting and sophisticated décor, and offers live classical and contemporary jazz nightly. Evening attire is required.

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