Maui tends to turn out the lights at 10pm; nightlife options on this island are limited, but you’ll find a few gems listed below.
Many lobby lounges in the major hotels offer Hawaiian music, soft jazz, or hula shows beginning at sunset. If Amy Hanaialii, or Kealii Reichel are playing anywhere on their native island, don’t miss them; they’re among the finest Hawaiian musicians around today. Same with Hapa, a first-rate band composed of Barry Flanagan and rotating guests. Catch his dinner show on Tuesdays and Saturdays at Nalu’s South Shore Bar & Grill, in Azeka’s I 1280 S. Kihei Rd., Kihei (www.nalusmaui.com; 808/891-8650). Maui’s answer to Jimi Hendrix, Willie K performs a weekly dinner show at Mulligan’s on the Blue, 100 Kaukahi St., Wailea (www.mulligansontheblue.com; 808/874-1131 (restaurant) and 808/280-8288 (show reservations)) and during Sunday brunch at the King Kamehameha Golf Club, 2500 Honoapiilani Hwy., Waikapu (www.kamehamehagolf.com; 808/249-0033).
Make time to see Ulalena ★★★, Maui Theatre, 878 Front St., Lahaina (www.ulalena.com; 808/856-7900), a Cirque du Soleil–style entertainment that weaves Hawaiian mythology with drama, dance, and state-of-the-art multimedia capabilities in a multimillion-dollar theater. It’s interactive; dancers stream down the aisles and musicians play from surprising corners. The story unfolds so seamlessly that at the end you’ll be shocked to realize that not a single word of dialogue was spoken. Performances Tuesday through Saturday; tickets run $70 to $115 for adults, $30 to $115 for children 6 to 12.
A very different type of live entertainment, Warren & Annabelle’s ★★, 900 Front St., Lahaina (www.warrenandannabelles.com; 808/667-6244), is a magic/comedy cocktail show with illusionist Warren Gibson and “Annabelle,” an 1800s-era ghost who plays the grand piano (even taking requests from the audience) as Warren dazzles with his sleight-of-hand magic. Appetizers, desserts, and cocktails are available (as a package or a la carte). Two 4-hour shows, with check-in at 5 or 7:30pm. The show-only price is $69; the show plus gourmet appetizers and dessert costs $115. You must be 21 to attend.
Slack key guitar masters are showcased every Wednesday night at the Napili Kai Beach Resort’s indoor amphitheater, thanks to the Masters of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Series ★★★ (www.slackkey.com; 888/669-3858). The intimate shows present a side of Hawaii that few visitors get to see. Host George Kahumoku, Jr., introduces a different slack key master every week. Not only is there incredible Hawaiian music and singing, but George and his guest also “talk story” about old Hawaii, music, and local culture. Not to be missed. The show-only price is $38; the show plus dinner costs $95.
On the rooftop at Fleetwood’s on Front Street, 744 Front St., Lahaina (www.fleetwoodsonfrontst.com; 808/669-6425), you can catch local rockstars jamming with superstar Mick Fleetwood and his friends.
Other venues for music in West Maui include the following:
* Hula Grill, in Whalers Village, Kaanapali (www.hulagrillkaanapali.com; 808/667-6636), has live music (usually Hawaiian) every day from 11am to 9pm.
* Kimo’s, 845 Front St., Lahaina (www.kimosmaui.com; 808/661-4811), has live musicians every night at various times; call for details.
* Pioneer Inn, 658 Wharf St., Lahaina (www.pioneerinnmaui.com; 808/661-3636), offers a variety of live music Tuesday and Thursday nights 5:30 to 8pm.
* Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Bar, 600 Office Rd., Kapalua (www.sanseihawaii.com; 808/669-6286), has karaoke Thursday and Friday from 10pm to 1am—during which time you can enjoy 50% off sushi and appetizers.
* Sea House Restaurant, at the Napili Kai Beach Resort, Napili (www.napilikai.com; 808/669-1500), has live music nightly from 7 to 9pm.
The Kihei and Wailea in South Maui also feature music in a variety of locations:
* Kahale’s Beach Club, 36 Keala Place, Kihei (808/875-7711), is a bit of a dive bar but has a potpourri of rock music nightly.
* Haui’s Life’s a Beach, 1913 S. Kihei Rd., Kihei (www.mauibars.com; 808/891-8010), has live music nightly and karaoke; call for times.
* Mulligan’s on the Blue, 100 Kaukahi St., Wailea (www.mulligansontheblue.com; 808/874-1131), offers rollicking Irish music on Sunday, a Wednesday dinner show with local legend Willie K, and other entertainers during the week.
* Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Bar, in Kihei Town Center, 1881 South Kihei Rd., Kihei (www.sanseihawaii.com; 808/879-0004), has karaoke Thursday through Saturday from 10pm to 1am—during which time you can enjoy 50% off sushi and appetizers.
* South Shore Tiki Lounge, 1913 S. Kihei Rd., Kihei (www.southshoretikilounge.com; 808/874-6444), has dancing nightly from 10pm to 1:30am.
Central Maui, Paia & Upcountry
The island’s most prestigious entertainment venue is the $32-million Maui Arts & Cultural Center in Kahului (www.mauiarts.org; 808/242-7469). The center is as precious to Maui as the Met is to New York, with a visual arts gallery, outdoor amphitheater, rehearsal space, a 300-seat theater for experimental performances, and a 1,200-seat main theater. Check the website for schedules and buy your tickets in advance.
The Kahului Ale House, 355 E. Kamehameha Ave., Kahului (www.kahuluialehouse.com; 808/877-0001), has live music or a DJ most nights. In Waikapu, the Maui Tropical Plantation, 1670 Honoapiilani Hwy. (www.mauitropicalplantation.com; 808/270-0333) is a dynamic venue for outdoor movies, parties, and live entertainment. Check the website for upcoming events.In Paia, Charley’s Restaurant, 142 Hana Hwy. (www.charleysmaui.com; 808/579-8085), features an eclectic selection of music, from country to reggae to rock ’n’ roll Thursday through Saturday. Upcountry in Makawao, the party never ends at the popular Italian restaurant Casanova, 1188 Makawao Ave. (www.casanovamaui.com; 808/572-0220). If a big-name Mainland band is resting up on Maui following a sold-out concert on Oahu, you may find its members setting up for an impromptu night here. DJs take over on Wednesday (ladies’ night); on Friday and Saturday, live music starts between 9 and 10pm and continues to 1:30am. Expect blues, rock ’n’ roll, reggae, jazz, and Hawaiian. Elvin Bishop, the local duo Hapa, Los Lobos, and others have taken Casanova’s stage. The cover is usually $10 to $20.
Climb aboard the Pacific Whale Foundation’s Island Rhythms Sunset Cocktail Cruise ★★★ (www.pacificwhale.org; 808/249-8811) for a rocking good time. Local musician Eric Gilliom gets everybody up and dancing on the deck of the boat. During whale season, even the Hawaiian humpbacks swim over to show their appreciation for his sweet serenades. Enjoy hearty appetizers and mixed cocktails while watching the sun sink into the liquid horizon. Adults $71, children 3-12 $46. Book online for 10 percent discount and board at Maalaea Harbor.
Luau, Maui Style
Most of the larger hotels in Maui’s major resorts offer luau on a regular basis. You’ll pay about $80 to $120 to attend one, but don’t expect it to be a homegrown affair prepared in the traditional Hawaiian way. There are, however, commercial luaus that capture the romance and spirit of the luau with quality food and entertainment.
Maui’s best choice is indisputably the nightly Old Lahaina Luau ★★★ (www.oldlahainaluau.com; 800/248-5828 or 808/667-1998). Located just ocean-side of the Lahaina Cannery, the Old Lahaina Luau maintains its high standards in food and entertainment—and enjoys an oceanfront setting that is peerless. Local craftspeople display their wares only a few feet from the ocean. Seating is provided on lauhala mats for those who wish to dine as the traditional Hawaiians did, but there are tables for everyone else. There’s no fire dancing in the 3-hour program, but you won’t miss it (for that, go to the Feast at Lele). This luau offers a healthy balance of entertainment, showmanship, authentic high-quality food, educational value, and sheer romantic beauty. (No watered-down mai tais either; these are the real thing.)
The luau begins at sunset and features Tahitian and Hawaiian entertainment, including powerful hula kahiko (ancient hula), hula auana (modern hula), and an intelligent narrative on the dance’s rocky course of survival into modern times. The food, served from an open-air thatched structure, is as much Pacific Rim as authentically Hawaiian: imu-roasted kalua pig, baked mahimahi in Maui onion cream sauce, guava chicken, teriyaki sirloin steak, lomi salmon, poi, dried fish, poke, Hawaiian sweet potato, sautéed vegetables, seafood salad, and taro leaves with coconut milk. The cost is $125 for adults, $78 for children 12 and under.
For information on all of Maui’s luau, go to www.mauihawaiiluau.com.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.