On an island where nearly every minute is pure bliss, narrowing down the top spots for happy hour is no easy task—but one that we, well, happily tackled. Here’s the lowdown on the Valley Isle’s best:
Monkeypod Kitchen, Wailea
10 Wailea Gateway Plaza
Monkeypod Kitchen has been a perennial hit since first opening its doors in 2011. The brainchild of Peter Merriman—one of the twelve original founders of Hawaii Regional Cuisine—the posh, hip spot caters to locals, visitors, and keiki alike. With a wide assortment of locally sourced, socially conscious dishes, the rocking venue also features live music by local talent nightly. Pau Hana—literally, “done work”—is so popular at this south side gem that it’s offered twice daily.
Cheers: 36 craft beers on tap (served at 29 degrees); the No Ka Oi (Ocean vodka, Thai basil, lime, and honey-lilikoi puree).
Kau kau: Bar bites get a noble twist with Monkeypod’s beloved Wood-Roasted Chicken Wings, which, with garlic, rosemary, and tzatziki sauce, are impossible to resist.
Score: Their lick-your-fingers good Hamakua Wild Mushroom and Truffle Oil Wood-fired pizza is an utter steal at $9.
What Ales You Tap House, Kihei
1913 South Kihei Road
Derek Braun reinvents the microbreweries of his home in the Pacific Northwest at this unique little jewel in Kihei’s Triangle (formally known as Kihei Kalama Village). A huge chalkboard above the bar displays Braun’s penchant for the perfect ale, while their lanai—homey and yet chic, with hanging plants and plush, red-cushioned couches—offers an ideal space for kicking back with your crew. Find out What Ales You on Maui.
Cheers: 20 frosty taps in rotation, from Rogue to Belching Beaver; Sake Mules.
Kau kau: Make your way into What Ales You at the (real) start of the week: They’re cherished for the street eats served on Taco Tuesdays, including “grandma’s” tamales with honey-lilikoi hot sauce.
Score: Nitrate-free brats are grilled to excellence and served as a pupu or sandwich with a variety of toppings—and for $6 a pop, you’d be loco not to try one.
The Red Bar at Gannon’s, Wailea
100 Wailea Golf Club Drive
Tucked between Wailea and Makena on the island’s south side, Gannon’s is the gorgeous result of famed chef Bev’s vision (read: fresh, delicious food served against a stunning setting). Dinners tend towards the spendier side, but daily food specials at their literally red “red bar” are fantastic, from $8 tater tots with cheddar-jack, aioli, and scallions to $14 mussels with pineapple coconut curry and fried lavash. The vistas alone—of Pu’u O’Lai and the outlying islands—are well-worth the trip.
Cheers: Hapa Mai Tai with Old Lahaina light and dark rum, orgeat, lime and pineapple juice, orange curacao, a Pernod rinse, and lilikoi foam.
Kau kau: Get a taste of old Hawaii with Bev’s Kalua Pig Spring Rolls—dynamite bites with shoyu “fire.”
Score: From $3 domestic drafts to $8 salads, Gannon’s is a win-win on the wallet. But for a real score, try a trio of Crab Cake Sliders with Asian slaw and ginger remoulade—all for $14.
The Mill House, Waikapu
1670 Honoapiilani Highway
Award winning chefs authenticate the farm to fork trend by sourcing ingredients grown mere yards from his kitchen. The effect? Dishes bursting with flavor—and cocktails with locally-cultivated ingredients to match them. Situated on the lush, romantic grounds of Maui Tropical Plantation—and paired with dramatic views of the West Maui Mountains—The Mill House’s happy hour creates the feeling that life should always be like this.
Cheers: Featuring some of the finest mixologists on Maui—as well as hand-crafted cocktails prepared with fresh fruits, veggies, herbs, and cold-pressed sugarcane—The Mill House gets top marks for their eclectic swills, including a “Mill Mule” with Kōloa Dark Rum, Maui Brewing Co. Ginger Beer, and fresh lime juice.
Kau kau: Small plates—such as Taro Leaf Risotto or Beef + Bacon Burger—go for $10-$12 each. Everything is made from scratch and sourced as locally as possible (often from their own property surrounding the restaurant.) Check out their fresh pizzas like my favorite, the Italian Sausage Pizza.
Score: There’s no better way to wind down a Maui day than with a cold beer—something the staff at The Mill House takes to heart with their $5 brews, ranging from Bikini Blonde to Coconut Hiwa Porter. Keep in mind that their menus change regularly.
300 Maalaea Road
Home to Hawaii’s only wood-burning rotisserie smoker, Beach Bums is as well-known for its barbeque wonders as it is for its ultra-economical happy hour, where pints of PBR go for $2.50 a head and a margarita costs less than a latte. Combine that with stellar views of Maalaea Harbor, a boisterous crowd, and a warm, aloha vibe, and you might want to stay long after the drink and food specials have come and gone.
Cheers: Kona Brew Co.’s Longboard Lager—one of the most beloved beers in Hawaii—goes for a smooth $3.25 a pint.
Kau kau: Featuring some of the best BBQ in the islands, it would be criminal to not pair your drink with one of their epic platters. Got a crew? Go big with their Tailgate Sampler, which includes guava or kiawe-smoked ribs, pulled pork, hot links, and SPAM (this is Hawaii).
Score: Nothing says “I’m vacationing on Maui” like a Mai Tai. Grab one for $3 and then enjoy their 1000-square foot, scenic lanai.
845 Front Street
A veritable Lahaina landmark, Kimo’s Restaurant in Lahaina—with its outdoor seating and Front Street locale—specializes in aloha vibes, so much so their version of pau hana is aptly titled “Aloha Hour.” $5 drafts taste priceless at this cheerful hangout, thanks to glorious views of the Pacific (and occasional sightings of Humpbacks), while the laidback but tasteful setting hammers home the fact that you’re on holiday, even if you’re kama’aina.
Cheers: Barrel-to-glass chardonnay and pinot for $6.
Kau kau: Kimo’s offers some of the best happy hour bargain fare on all of the island, including $7 macadamia nut-crusted calamari and $5.50 Asian BBQ ribs. Need to seriously replenish after a day of braving Breakwall’s waves? Dig into their Kalua Pork Cheese Fries, which are kinda like the Hawaiian version of nachos.
Score: Get refreshed with their $8 Lahaina Lemonade, which blends citrus vodka with lemonade and cranberry juice.
Myths of Maui
2780 Kekaa Drive, Lahaina Town
We know this isn’t technically a happy hour, but drinks are served at the same time, and after the meal, cost is low enough to feel like you got in early at a local Maui bar. Located in the heart of Lahaina at the Royal Lahaina Resort, the Myths of Maui luau is one of the best priced luaus without sacrificing quality. A great show, delicious food, beautiful music, and stiff cocktails. Be warned! They don’t skimp on these ones.
Cheers: Mai Tais that will knock you on your ti-leaf skirt
Kau kau: Everything you’d expect at a luau, buffet-style. Delicious kalua pork, fresh local fish, Molokai sweet potato, poi, salad, desserts and an entire buffet for the kids.
Score: Try the the Chee Hu!!! Vodka, coconut rum, pineapple juice and sprite. Clean, delicious and will make you scream CHHHHHHEEEEEE!!
Barefoot Bar at Hula Grill, Ka’anapali
2435 Ka’anapali Parkway
Soak up all that Maui has to offer at this quintessential Hawaiian bar at Whalers Village in Ka’anapali. Sand comprises the Hula Grill restaurant’s floor, the ocean is mere yards away, and locals and visitors alike gather in joyful crowds at their hopping bar, where Crispy Fish Sliders are served alongside—yep—Blue Hawaiis.
Cheers: Their $6 signature cocktails are super fun—go for their Pau Hana Punch with Hana Bay gold rum, fresh guava juice, and lilikoi—while $5 drafts range from Lavaman Red Ale to good old Coors Light.
Kau kau: Barefoot Bar prides itself on sourcing the majority of its food locally; get a taste of Maui’s bounty with their deviled Launiupoko eggs with bacon, microgreens, and yuzu.
Score: Happy hour might be synonymous with indulgent eats (here’s looking at those chicken wings, Monkeypod); buck the trend and go with their $11 Kabocha Pumpkin Hummus with fresh naan and chilled seasonal vegetables.
Milagro’s Food Company, Paia
3 Baldwin Avenue
With its choice location in downtown Paia—a former plantation town turned chic surfer city—it’s no surprise that Milagro’s Food Company draws a steady and buzzy crowd, who fill its barstools long before the Maui sun has started to descend. Readers of the island’s independent newspaper, Maui Time, voted the Southwest restaurant the best happy hour on the island (2017). And it’s no wonder: the beers are cold, the food is spicy, and the vibe is lively.
Cheers: House margaritas are poured for $3, Tecate cans are $4, and their tequila shelf is the most packed—and thoughtfully chosen—on the island. Get a taste of the southwest meets the real west with their Li Hing Mui Rita, wherein the salty-sweet powder (a local fave) is tossed into a classic margarita.
Kau kau: Mahi mahi fajitas taste swell with a cold Modelo, thanks to an achiote glaze and some of Hawaii’s most mouthwatering guacamole (market price).
Score: Milagro’s possesses one of the longest happy hours on the island—it’s pau hana lasts for seven splendid hours—in part because patrons can grab a Kona Brewing Co. draft for $2.88 (indoor only).
Mama’s Fish House, Kuau
799 Poho Place
“We’re always happy”
Deemed one of the best restaurants not only in the Hawaiian Islands but also in the U.S.—with OpenTable rating it the second most popular restaurant in the country—Mama’s Fish House honors its name by serving the freshest and most scrumptious fish available (as in, caught within hours of serving). Their Mai Tais—inspired by the owners’ sailing voyages through the South Pacific—are just as majestic, rendering an “aloha hour” here (or three, or four) one of the most memorable ways to salute the end of a Maui day.
Cheers: Part of their cocktail menu is inspired by the top cocktails of the 1940s, 60s—even the start of the century. For a taste of a bygone Maui, try their Plantation Punch. Invented in the 1900s, the drink—with pineapple, orange, lime juice, and vodka—pays homage to the plantation laborers who tilled Maui’s fields.
Kau kau: Sidle up to the bar and pair your libation with one of Mama’s world-famous pupus, such as seared beef tenderloin in a grilled Hana papaya.
Score: Pau Hanas—comprised of guava juice, Kula lime, and Bombay gin—are shaken right before your eyes. Want to go with a traditional tiki drink? Order that Mai Tai after all—the recipe deviates only a touch from the original concoction invented by Trader Vic in 1944—and sip it with a $6 side of fresh, house-made poi.
Café Des Amis, Paia
42 Baldwin Avenue
Café Des Amis epitomizes the town in which it’s located: funky, vibrant, soulful, and kick back. Do just that at their daily happy hour, where you can lounge in their bright and adorable garden, nibble on Indian-inspired dishes, and enjoy half off beers, wines, and cocktails.
Cheers: Coconut Porter is the tropical answer for every Guinness lover out there; enjoy it ice cold at $3 a glass. Or try the lilikoi margarita. Delicious!
Kau kau: Café Des Amis’s Butternut Squash and Garbanzo Bean Curry is rich and nourishing, while their Mixed Platter—with prosciutto, salami, hummus, vintage cheddar, brie, olive tapenade, and chutney bread—is ideal for a hungry couple or a small party.
Score: Lilikoi margaritas—created with passion fruit, gold tequila, agave nectar, triple sec, and fresh lime juice—are practically given away at happy hour for a scant $5. Sip, savor, and Namaste away—or, as we say in Hawaii, kamau ki‘aha.