Live Music and Dancing in Kihei’s “Barmuda” Triangle

A Mai Tai on the bar with a smiling patron in the background at South Shore Tiki Lounge.

On Maui and in Kihei? Enjoy a Mai Tai and a small but lively dance floor at the South Shore Tiki Lounge. Photo © Jessica Pearl, courtesy of South Shore Tiki Lounge.

The majority of Kihei’s nightlife takes place at The Triangle, as in, The Barmuda Triangle, where you could end up getting lost for days. This collection of bars within the Kihei Kalama Village can almost seem like a tropical frat row where each house on the street is having a different sort of theme party.

This rockin’ beach bar has an outdoor patio that looks out toward South Kihei Road and is a great place for people-watching.If you’re starting your night off early, check out Haui’s Life’s A Beach (1913 S. Kihei Rd., 808/891-8010, open until 2am), aka The Lab. This rockin’ beach bar has an outdoor patio that looks out toward South Kihei Road and is a great place for people-watching. There is live music on most nights, or you could just shoot some pool, watch some sports, and eavesdrop on some local happenings.

The best venue within the Triangle for live music is Three’s Bar and Grill (1945 S. Kihei Rd., 808/879-3133, open until 1:30am), a semi-formal dining establishment that also has a VIP Surf Lounge with a built-in stage area and lighting. While there can occasionally be music earlier in the evening on weekdays, late-night shows usually begin at 10pm and run until closing time.

The most popular club in the traditional sense of the word is the South Shore Tiki Lounge (1913 S. Kihei Rd., 808/874-6444, open until 2am) where resident DJs play for a small but crowded dance floor. This place gets popular on the weekends with its thumping house beats and young singles.

Swap your draft beer for some cutting-edge mixology at Ambrosia (1913 S. Kihei Rd., 808/891-1011, open until 2am), a small martini bar that specializes in “upscale drinking.” DJs spin on many nights of the week here, and the vibe is decidedly classier and more refined than at some of the neighboring venues.

One of less refined venues is Kahale’s Beach Club (36 Keala Pl., 808/875-7711, open until 2am), a working-class dive bar that has live music, cheap drinks, and a legitimately local atmosphere. This is your classic neighborhood hangout, and you won’t find any grass skirts, rented convertibles, or timeshare resales within a respectable radius.

Dog and Duck Irish Pub (1913 S. Kihei Rd., 808/875-9669, open until 2am) offers a good old-fashioned touch of the craic. Throw darts, eat bangers and mash, drink Guinness, rock out to live music, or take part in one of their popular quiz nights.

Outside the Triangle

There are some scattered places outside the Triangle where you can catch some live music. In the Azeka Mauka shopping area, Stella Blues Café (1279 S. Kihei Rd., 808/874-3779, open until 11pm) caters to the baby boomer generation, occasionally bringing in big names to perform. Although live performances on some evenings come without a cover, other acts such as Hapa or John Cruz can carry a $30 cover charge, or be combined with a dinner menu for $60/person.

Down at the other end of the parking lot of the Azeka Mauka is Diamonds Ice Bar (1279 S. Kihei Rd., 808/874-9299, open until 2am), a smaller establishment tucked in the end unit that offers live music on most nights of the week. If you have a large group or party there’s a private VIP room. While it doesn’t see the same amount of crowds as down at the Triangle, it can still be a happening place if the right band happens to be playing.

Moose McGillicuddy’s (2511 S. Kihei Rd., 808/891-8644, open until 2am) harnesses the late-night crowd in South Kihei who are looking for cheap drink specials and an old-fashioned good time. This sports bar cranks up the music at 9pm, and the radio ads they run championing their late-night pupu menu as being your best bet for staving off the munchies should give you a general idea of the clientele.

Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Hawaiian Islands.

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