Explore Oahu

Top Venues for Live Music on Oahu

When visiting Oahu, listening to live music (with or without a cocktail) is one of the best ways to unwind and enjoy the beauty and history of the islands, embedded in songs and rhythms. 

Hawaii's musical history began before contact with Western civilization, where ancient Hawaiians celebrated the gods with chants or mele. After foreigners began arriving on the islands, Hawaii's musical culture was influenced by Protestant missionary choirs, who introduced hymns and instruments such as the accordian, piano, violin and flute in addition to Mexican cowboys, who brought with them the guitar. Hawaiian musicians adapted the instrument by loosening the strings to accompany their melodies, creating a new sound called slack key guitar.

At the end of the 19th century, Portuguese immigrants introduced the machete de braga, which Hawaiians developed into the ukulele, and it eventually became a synonomous icon of the islands. Hawaiian music hit mainstream American audiences in the early 20th century, and by the 1930s, Hawaiian music styles were adapted for orchestras and big bands. In the 1970s, Hawaiian music went through a renaissance, where interest in slack-key was rejuvinated largely in part to legendary artist Gabby Pahinui. Later, Hawaiian music evolved into sub-generes like Jawaiian and contemporary music, which mixes Hawaiian and English lyrics.

From traditional and contemporary Hawaiian singers to ukulele and slack-key strummers to non-Hawaiian music like lively jazz, contemporary music and rock bands, Oahu boasts a diverse music scene, offering the perfect supplement to boosting the ambiance of your tropical vacation. 

Blue Note Hawaii

Blue Note Hawaii was borne out of a partnership between Outrigger Resorts and Blue Note Entertainment Group, owner of music clubs in New York, Washington D.C., Milan and two locations in Japan. Blue Note Hawaii serves as the state’s premier venue for world-renowned artists, from jazz and blues to Hawaiian favorites.

Kani Ka Pila Grille

Waikiki's hotspot is at this poolside restaurant where Hawaiian casual cuisine, tropical drinks and live award-winning Hawaiian entertainment create an unforgettable Hawaiian experience.

Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa, Waikiki

Known as the “First Lady of Waikiki,” this oceanfront hotel on Waikiki Beach is a historical landmark. First opened in 1901, the white Beaux-arts building is considered an architectural treasure, and the hotel remains as one the area’s finest hotels.

Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort

First opened in 1928, this 22-acre oceanfront hotel is one of the world's largest and most iconic hotels. On site are five pools including a waterslide, 20 restaurants and bars, Mandara Spa, and Camp Penguin, where children can learn about Hawaii through fun, educational activities. 

RumFire

You could set the world afire with the more than 100 types of rum served at this oceanfront lounge. Listen up, rum aficionados: there are pre-embargo varieties from Cuba, and every table has an ocean view, with outdoor seating also available.

The Study at The Modern Honolulu

Oversized sofas and custom furnishings in natural materials make this a great place to relax over cocktails. The large rotating bookshelf acts as a wall to separate The Study for a more intimate space.

Mai Tai Bar

Ala Moana Center’s laid-back, open-air bar is a gathering place for locals and visitors long after the shops have closed. A very happy hour, live music nightly, and people jockeying for the limited number of tables add to the social whirl.

Duke's Waikiki

Named after the legendary Hawaiian surfer Duke Kahanamoku, Duke’s Waikiki has two sections: the dining room and the Barefoot Bar and offers menus for breakfast, lunch, dinner, children and drinks. Validated parking available.

Lewers Lounge

An elegant venue for live jazz music, this Halekulani classic keeps abreast with the latest in cocktails and mixology. Cocktails created by master mixologists and a state-of-the-art ice machine are among the many special touches complementing the riffs of Hawaii’s finest jazz artists.

House Without a Key

Legendary dancer Kanoe Miller adds to the special ambiance at this popular gathering spot for indoor and outdoor dining and cocktails.