By Kyle Ellison
January 20, 2017
Courtesy Hyatt Maui

Here’s some trivia you probably didn’t know: It’s illegal to dance in Maui. File it under “strange but true,” but if you’re caught doing a shimmy in a Maui bar, the bar owner gets in trouble. Only bars with designated dance floors are allowed to accommodate dancing—with the strange part being there’s no legal definition as to what defines a “dance.”  I’ll leave the legal debates for the lawyers, but the good news is that Maui has dozens of bars where you can unwind and enjoy a cold drink.

While every town has its own local watering hole (and accompanying cast of characters), the majority of the places for a beer or cocktail are found inside the resorts. The hotel drink prices are definitely steeper than at a local, back-alley dive, but the ambience, views, and live entertainment are what make the drink prices worth it. Here’s a list of hotel bars that are well worth a visit, even if you’re not staying on property.

Alaloa Lounge, Ritz Carlton

Every seat in this lobby bar faces an elaborate piece of art: The interior bar features a lava rock wall with a red, lava-inspired inlay; and the seats on the patio display nature’s art, with views across the channel towards Moloka‘i. The specialty cocktails and pupu menu are exceptional on any evening, but the live music performances held Thursday to Monday are a particular draw. 

Pailolo Bar and Grill, Westin Ka‘anapali Ocean Resort Villas

Does it get better than a sports bar set right on the beach, screening football at 7 a.m.? The nine TVs in this Ka‘anapali pool bar mean you’ll never miss the big game, and the drink specials and pitchers are surprisingly reasonable considering the luxurious setting. 4ba57feaf964a5200d0d39e3

Japengo, Hyatt Maui

The hand-rolled sushi and local beers on tap are enough to draw you in, but it’s the view of the ocean from your barstool that will make you want to stay. With live music every night, the classy combo of upscale and casual has made spot this a Ka‘anapali favorite. 

Lobby Lounge, Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea

It’s sexy, it’s swanky, and there’s live music each night—just what you’d expect from a Four Seasons Bar. Stop by at sunset for the evening hula shows beginning at 5:30 p.m., and stay for the food and specialty cocktails, like the Maui Elite—made with 100-year-aged Rémy Martin Louis XIII. 

Paniolo Lounge, Travaasa Hana

Some nights of the week are mellow and casual here, but the Thursday and Friday live music jams are as authentic as Hawaiian music gets. It’s common for entire families to entertain with their ukulele, singing, and hula, and the community atmosphere at this local pa‘ina (party) defines the spirit of aloha.