Nightlife and entertainment in Lahaina is fun and varied, from cultural events to live music and mingling to late-night dive bars. Many events are also free, and several are family-friendly.
For a heavy heaping of Hawaiian cuteness, the free keiki hula shows at the Lahaina Cannery Mall (1221 Honoapi‘ilani Hwy., by Safeway) take place at 1pm Saturday-Sunday on the center stage.
Magic Dinner Theater
At Warren and Annabelle’s (900 Front St., 808/667-6244, 5pm and 7:30pm Mon.-Sat., $64-104), any skepticism you might have had about attending a magic show in Maui will immediately be erased. Much more than a simple sleight-of-hand show, this enchanting evening revolves around the legend of Annabelle, a ghost whose swanky parlor you have the pleasure of dining in for the evening. After making your way through a secret entrance, you are welcomed into a plush lounge where the sound of piano keys accompanies the clink of oversize wine glasses.
The high level of service starts when you enter, and the refined waitstaff zip about with the air of a caffeinated butler. Settling into an overstuffed chair, guests can relax with some beverages from the bar and dine on gourmet pupus. Once dinner is through, it’s on to the intimate 78-seat theater, and be warned, if you sit in the front row, you’ll end up becoming a part of the show. Two parts magic and three parts comedy, this show will leave you laughing. Rates are $64 for the show only, but do yourself a favor and spend the extra $40 for the cocktails and appetizers package. Due to Maui County liquor laws, this show is only for ages 21 or older. The 7:30pm show is added during busier times of the year. Reservations are strongly recommended.
‘Ulalena and Maui Theatre
‘Ulalena (878 Front St., 808/856-7900, 6:30pm Mon.-Fri., $60-80) is a captivating and sophisticated show that details the history of the Hawaiian Islands through chant, dance, and visual effects in the 680-seat Maui Theatre. Performed without words, it utilizes over 100 different instruments played live. The most expensive tickets allow you to spend 20 minutes with the cast. If you’re a fan of musicals or have an interest in Hawaiian history, this isn’t an evening to be missed. A new show called Kahiko O Lahaina opened at the Maui Theatre, featuring the fascinating history of Lahaina.
Also at the Maui Theatre, Elvis fans will think they’ve died and gone to Graceland when they see a performance of Burn’n Love (878 Front St., 808/856-7900, 7:30pm Mon.-Tues. and Thurs.-Fri., $60-85) by the talented Darren Lee, a longtime Elvis impersonator so convincing you’d swear you were looking at The King.
Friday night is Art Night in Lahaina. In keeping with Lahaina’s status as the cultural center of Maui, three dozen galleries open their doors 7pm-10pm, throw out the welcome mat, set out food and drink, provide entertainment, and usually host a well-known artist or two for this weekly party. Take your time to stroll Front Street from one gallery to the next. Stop and chat with shopkeepers, munch the goodies, sip the wine, look at the pieces on display, corner the featured artist for a comment on his or her work, and soak in the music of the strolling musicians. People dress up, but don’t be afraid to come dressed casually.
Bars and Live Music
Rooted in the grog-shop days of its boisterous port-town past, Lahaina is Maui’s nightlife capital—unless you want to go dancing. Most places close by 11pm, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find live music.
For free, family-friendly live music in a historic outdoor setting, the Lahaina Restoration Foundation hosts a Hawaiian Music Series (6pm-7:30pm last Thurs. of every month) on the lawn of the Baldwin House (Dickenson St. and Front St.) in the center of town. Musical artists vary from month to month, but most sessions involve live music and kanikapila storytelling. Seating is limited at this popular event, and attendees are encouraged to bring a blanket or beach chair to enjoy the show.
The family-friendly Friday Town Party (6pm-9pm 2nd Fri. of every month) is held between the Baldwin House and Wharf Cinema Center. Part of the Maui Fridays series, the free event features everything from live music and keiki competitions to silent auctions and dance performances. Various bars and restaurants feature live music, and most restaurants offer specials valid that night only.
One of the best spots for live entertainment in Lahaina is Fleetwood’s (744 Front St., 808/669-6425), a two-story bar and restaurant that offers the only rooftop perch in Lahaina. This bar was opened by legendary rock musician Mick Fleetwood, and Mick himself has been known to jump in with the band for some impromptu percussion. Live music is offered most frequently on the rooftop bar, beginning around 7pm.
If you’re looking to dance with a young crowd of locals, Lulu’s Lahaina Surf Club (1221 Honoapi‘ilani Hwy., 808/661-0808, until 2am) is the town’s only dance club, located in the Lahaina Cannery Mall. There is usually a $5 cover Saturday night. Other nights of the week sporadically feature live music. While the dance floor is large and there are a couple of pool tables in the back, the mall location detracts from the vintage Lahaina experience. Another problem here is fights.
Both Cool Cat Café (658 Front. St., 808/667-0908) and Kimo’s (845 Front St., 808/661-4811) provide live music during the dinner hour seven nights a week. There isn’t an official dance floor, so the atmosphere is relegated to drinks and mingling.
For karaoke, the most happening place in Lahaina for late-night sake and singing is Kobe (136 Dickenson St., 808/667-5555, until 1am), a steak house, from 9:30pm Friday-Saturday.
If you’re a night owl, Lahaina has a couple of watering holes that stay open until 2am. On Front Street, Spanky’s Riptide (505 Front St., 808/667-2337) in the 505 shopping center on the far southern end is a good place to grab a cheap goblet of PBR, play pool, and engage in conversation with a colorful cast of characters.
For a truly local experience, the legendary dive bar Sly Mongoose (1036 Limahana Place, 808/661-8097) is in the Lahaina industrial park on the inland side of the highway, where visitors don’t go. This is a no-nonsense dive where the beer is cold, the drinks are cheap, and the patrons are regular. This bar isn’t within walking distance from Front Street, so you’ll have to take a cab.
Excerpted from the Tenth Edition of Moon Maui.