On an island like Maui, where good times flow as freely as the ocean all hours of the day, a scheduled happy hour might seem unnecessary; isn’t every hour happy here? That said, we can’t blame the Hawaiian paradise for hopping on the after-work-drinks train beloved the world over. Happy hour is the one workday habit we have no qualms taking with us on holiday, especially when sunset views and microbrews are on the menu.
Five Palms, Kihei
Five Palms in Kihei doesn’t take happy hour lightly. Let’s start with the view: you walk through the restaurant doors to discover a sunny room with soft yellow walls, boasting too-good-to-be-true views of Keawakapu Beach. Elsewhere, the sun-drenched patio seats never fail to please but Director of Operations Kennan Randall says their daily crowd, which consists of tourists and locals alike, love to sit at the bar. “We have the best barkeepers on Maui, and everyone wants to chat with them!”, he smiles. And then there’s the fact that happy hour here has two lives. The first wave is from 3-7pm, and the second is from 9-11pm.
Early birds will find select cocktails, beers, and appetizers half price (we recommend the Chinese-style ribs with a boozy Arnold Palmer). The late evening round is designed to make sushi lovers believe they’ve died and gone to heaven, with 50% off all sushi dishes. Instead of making the painstaking decision between one or the other, we suggest being a true happy hour all-star: go for the first session, take a break for a sunset swim on Keawakapu beach, and return for an evening sushi feast.
Nick’s Fishmarket, Wailea
Imagine all of the good things about a fishmarket – friendly faces and deliciously fresh seafood. Now add white tablecloths, vine-covered trellises, soft lights and palm trees, plus cold, cheap drinks, and this might be the best fishmarket ever. In the past 15 years Nick’s in Wailea (also pictured above) has become something of an institution on Maui. Their 5-7pm happy hour brings a healthy crowd night after night, and people come for the relaxed atmosphere and friendly service.
Even better, the menu speaks to both beer and wine lovers, with half price options on both. Our favorite combination is a light Maui Bikini Blond Lager with oysters, and if we’re extra hungry after a day on the waves, we dive into tender filet mignon for a cool $5.
Monkeypod Kitchen, Wailea
A selection of 36 different craft beers and a menu that has both lobster pizza and chocolate cream pie makes visiting Wailea’s Monkeypod Kitchen a no-brainer. And while the aroma of pizza is intoxicating, it’s the friendly atmosphere that will keep you coming back time and time again. Monkeypod is buzzing with energy, and often there’s live local music. Like Five Palms there are actually two Happy Hour sessions, and craft beer enthusiasts will need to take advantage of both to even make a dent in the “must try” list.
If you’re new to the craft game, start with the Maui Brewing Co’s Big Swell IPA; for a smooth, rich alternative, enjoy a creamy North Coast Russian Imperial stout from California. This is the kind of place you can stay at for hours – so don’t be surprised if your ‘next stop’ plans are eclipsed by making friends with the bartender and discovering your new favorite acoustic guitarist. And did we mention they have lobster pizza?
Cane & Canoe, Lahaina
Take your happy hour to a sophisticated new level and Cane & Canoe. “The restaurant atmosphere is exactly what people are looking for – very mellow, very Hawaiian, and a beautiful view from any seat” says Donovan Praigg, Cane & Canoe’s manager. On any given night, you’ll walk into happy hour at this Lahaina spot soon after sunset (happy hour lasts from 8-11pm), and be immediately charmed by the luminous glow from lit candles in rustic lanterns. Just when warm atmosphere has you charmed, you’ll hear a rendition of Stevie Wonder’s I Just Called To Say I Love You coming from the ultra-chic dining room, played by the in-house pianist. The best thing about Cane & Canoe? The cuisine is just as spectacular as the space. We recommend having the grilled calamari or, if you have a hankering for a late-night grease fix, opt for the spicy and sweet honey chipotle chicken wings.
Where to stay in Maui