There’s no shortage of watering holes in Oahu. You’ve got wine bars, dive bars, pool bars, fancy bars, beachfront bars, bars with a view. Even a couple of the tourist traps that are worth a look. In addition to the millions of tourists that come to the island, Oahu has huge military, university, and expat communities, so it’s a center of booze-fueled fun.
You won’t have to search too hard for an adult beverage to celebrate your honeymoon, but start with these six essential spots, the best on the island.
RumfireRumFire, Oahu, Kalakaua Avenue, Honolulu, HI, United States
One of the best-named bars in Oahu, Rumfire offers oceanfront boozing at its finest. Inside the Sheraton, the lively bar has awesome views of the sea, famed volcanic cone Diamond Head, and those famous Hawaii sunsets. You can drink your liquor at the actual bar, inside, but it’s the outdoor seating area with fire pits that really makes this place special. Expect elevated, Hawaiian-themed cocktails, live music, and DJs. If you prefer day drinking, head to the bar for its Spiked Afternoon Tea, every day between 1-4 pm. Naturally, as the name implies, all the teas are spiked with liquor, so it may be the first time you catch a buzz off English Breakfast.
Edge of WaikikiThe Edge of Waikiki, Kalakaua Avenue, Honolulu, HI, United States
Here’s the Sheraton again, which can only mean one thing: this place knows the best ways to booze. This is the popular, adults-only pool bar, and since you obviously need to day drink by the pool at some point on your honeymoon, this is the best place to do it. The big draw is the infinity pool, which gives the illusion you’re floating right into the sea. Hang out at the edge of the pool, where you have a front-row seat to all the action on the beach. It’s more about the scene than the cocktails, so book a cabana, order a bucket of beer or carafe of mai tai, and drink the day away. Early birds can take advantage of the 10 am to noon happy hour, where Mai Tais and Bloody Marys are only 7 bucks. Trust us. It’s worth waking up for.
La Mariana Sailing ClubLa Mariana Sailing Club, Sand Island Access Road, Honolulu, HI, United States
Nothing conjures the good ol’ days of 1950s Hawaii like La Mariana Sailing Club. The authentically retro spot (where the original Hawaii Five-0 was filmed) is old-school heaven, complete with memorabilia, tiki torches, and plenty of nostalgic decor–including the signature Tiki Bar & Restaurant, founded in 1957. Pretty much nothing here has changed in decades (including the rattan chairs, glass balls, netting, and tiki collection), and you really can’t not have fun in a retro sailor bar from the ‘50s. To add to the novelty, cocktails are served in awesome tiki mugs, because who doesn’t love to drink alcohol out of a cup shaped like a grinning Polynesian devil?
Sky WaikikiSKY Waikiki, Kalakaua Avenue, Honolulu, HI, United States
So, there are rules to Sky Waikiki. One: Go for happy hour and don’t stay for the nightclub, which is an utter disaster. Two: Dress up, since the bouncers may turn you away if they don’t like your shoes. Three: Don’t expect stellar service. Four: Order something they don’t have to make, like bottled beer, wine or champagne. Trust us on this. Finally, five: Make a reservation to be on the safe side. Now, if you can stomach all this, you’re in for one of the most insane views in Oahu, from the top of a 19-story building. The sunsets are unreal (so go for happy hour) with unrivaled views of Honolulu’s skyline, and it’s a nice break from all those tourist-packed bars along the beach. It gets crazy busy up here, but the vibe is just right between 5 and 7 pm.
The StudyThe study bar, Oahu, Ala Moana Boulevard, Honolulu, HI, United States
Where do we start with speakeasy bars? They’re old news and nobody cares anymore, right? Wrong. Or at least, wrong when it comes to The Study. This hidden gem inside The Modern Honolulu (one of the coolest boutique hotels on the island) is an essential part of the local bar scene. There’s no cheesy door to knock on or secret phone number to dial, but entering the bar is one of the best parts of the experience. The “door” is an entire bookshelf in the lobby that spins around to reveal a stylish, no-frills watering hole with ottomans and cushy chairs. They take craft cocktails seriously (including the signature Sailor Jerry), using fresh fruits and herbs, but it’s not pretentious. Warning: it’s a bona fide hot spot, so expect it to be uncomfortably crowded at peak times.
Tchin Tchin BarThe Tchin Tchin! Bar, North Hotel Street, Honolulu, HI, United States
Chinatown is all the rage these days, and it’s where most locals and expats hang out to avoid the tourist scene. The joke’s on them though, as cool tourists know about their little secret and make a beeline to a number of awesome bars, restaurants, nightclubs, and lounges here. Tchin Tchin Bar has easily become the coolest bar in the hood thanks to its incredibly charming, low-key, romantic atmosphere, which makes it particularly couples-friendly. The outdoor rooftop patio is where all the action is, thanks to the set up with strung lights, live green fern wall (a vertical garden, to be specific), and the glittery Honolulu skyline for a backdrop. Because it’s a wine bar, you’ll want to order some vino, but there’s a great selection of cocktails and beers too.