Home to a wide variety of talented performers, Maui rocks and sways with plenty of live entertainment after dark. Even its laid-back sister islands, Molokai and Lanai, offer places to enjoy Hawaii’s distinctive music and cultural scene.
Owned by rock icon Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac fame, Fleetwood’s on Front Street is a multilevel restaurant, bar and live music venue in the heart of Lahaina, on the west side of Maui, that is winning rave reviews from event planners.
“They have a fabulous rooftop venue that looks out at the ocean and Lahaina,” said Kanara Woodford, director of sales for Weil & Associates, a local DMC. “You can buy out the whole place and have cocktails and music on the roof with dancing under the stars. The place is decorated with Mick Fleetwood’s personal collection of memorabilia.
“Sometimes he even shows up during an event,” she added.
Groups of up to 400 are accommodated for events that can include lunches, dinners, cocktail receptions and product launches. Along with scheduled concerts and live music at happy hour, Fleetwood’s features daily sunset ceremonies on the roof that include Hawaiian cultural performances and a Scottish bagpiper.
A favorite hangout for musicians—Willie Nelson is reportedly a regular—and local surfers, Charley’s Restaurant and Saloon in the former sugar plantation town of Paia on Maui’s north shore features live performances nightly and open-mic sessions in a variety of genres.
Maui’s resort hotels are also convivial places to enjoy live music in a wide choice of genres and settings. Among the most elegant is Botero Lounge at the Grand Wailea resort, which showcases the resort’s extensive art collection. The lounge provides handcrafted cocktails and nightly live Hawaiian music in a circular atrium area surrounded by ponds, foliage and sculptures by Colombian artist Fernando Botero.
For vintage Hawaiian music, hula and atmosphere, the Tiki Bar at the Kaanapali Beach Hotel, the first outdoor beach bar to open in Maui, is a popular place to enjoy island-inspired cocktails and fare. Adjacent to the bar and featuring a prime view of the stage, the Tiki Courtyard offers reserved seating for private groups.
The slack key guitar, a Hawaiian invention, is celebrated on Wednesday nights at the Napili Kai Beach Resort with George Kahumoku Jr.’s “Master of Hawaiian Music Slack Key Guitar Show.” Not only has the concert series produced Grammy-award winning CDs, but it offers insight into Hawaiian music and culture, according to Candy Aluli, a spokeswoman for the resort.
“We bring in different slack key guitarists every week to perform in our open-air pavilion,” she said. “It’s turned into one of the top shows in Maui. It’s very local with a lot of Hawaiian talk-story and true Hawaiian music.”
In Lanai, the Lanai City Bar & Grille, located at the charming 11-room Hotel Lanai, presents acoustic music by local and international artists as well as contemporary Hawaiian pop music by groups such as I Drive. The restaurant includes a cozy dining room, koa wood bar and a spacious outdoor terrace surrounded by Cook Island pines.
Molokai offers two venues in Kaunakakai for live music by such local artists as Lono, a singer, acoustic guitarist and Hawaiian music historian. At the Hotel Molokai, the recently opened Hiro’s Ohana Grill features waterfront dining on the shores of Kalama Beach. Another is Paddlers Restaurant and Bar, which presents nightly Hawaiian classic and contemporary music on a covered outdoor terrace.
Among the many luaus available in Hawaii, the Old Lahaina Luau is a stand-out choice, according to Randy Parker, director of corporate, meetings and incentive sales for the Maui Visitors Bureau.
Along with the evening luaus, which present traditional Hawaiian music and dance against a spectacular waterfront backdrop, he recommends Old Lahaina Luau’s Ho’omana’o cultural program, a customized event available for groups of up to 80 participants.
“Ho’omana’o is devoted to traditional Hawaiian music, language and arts and provides hands-on activities with cultural practitioners,” he said. “Groups can engage in it at the luau grounds or it can be staged at the meeting location.”
For a classic luau experience, Drums of the Pacific Luau, which takes place on a waterfront site at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa, begins with an impressive torch-lighting ceremony and serves a lavish Hawaiian-style buffet followed by an evening of fire dancing, hula and music from the Pacific islands.
Meeting groups can reserve all or part of the luau seating.
The Maui Theatre in Lahaina is the setting for several popular live shows, including Ulalena, a Cirque-du Soleil-inspired performance in which a troupe of musicians, dancers and singers mix traditional Hawaiian rhythms with special effects as they tell the story of how Maui was settled by Polynesian explorers.
Another regular show at the theater is Burn’n Love, presented by award-winning Elvis impersonator Darren Lee and a cast of musicians and dancers, which includes performances, recorded interviews and video footage pertaining to Elvis’ close association with Hawaii.
The 680-seat Maui Theatre, which has stadium seating and sophisticated sound and staging facilities, is also available for private concerts and events. It can be rented with the adjacent Aloha Ballroom, which offers space for catered events.
Another popular offering in Lahaina is Warren & Annabelle’s magic show, which presents an interactive sleight-of-hand performance by Warren Gibson and other performers in a small theater.
Before the show, guests gather in Annabelle’s Parlor for cocktails and appetizers.
“It’s an incredible show that’s unique to Maui,” said Kurt Wright, president of The Wright Company, a Maui-based DMC and meeting planning firm. “It’s a great experience for groups of 80 or less.”
A performing arts venue that presents concerts, dance, theater and film festivals, the Maui Arts & Cultural Center in Kahului provides a number of places with sophisticated acoustics for groups to stage events of their own.
Among the available spaces are 1,200-seat and 300-seat theaters, a 5,000-seat outdoor amphitheater, event lawn and visual arts gallery.
Built in 1928 as a movie palace, the Historic Iao Theater in Wailuku presents plays, musicals and concerts by Maui OnStage and also hosts the Maui Fringe Festival every January.
The 400-seat theater is available for private events.
CVB Contact Information
Lanai Visitors Bureau
Maui Visitors Bureau
Molokai Visitors Association