Just like beaches and palm trees, traditional Hawaiian music is a staple of Waikiki living. But dig deeper—and stay out later—and you’ll find some of the most talented DJs the island has to offer.
Waikiki nightlife can feel limited for those who don’t know where to go. Here’s a quick guide that includes parties throughout the week at venues from one end of Kalakaua Avenue to the other.
It’s not surprising that Lulu’s Waikiki, an open-air restaurant just steps from the ocean, will push tables aside and create a club-like atmosphere. What turns heads is a party that rages here on Monday nights.
DJ Delve joined the lineup at industry night “#IN” about a year ago. Along with DJ Jami, the two drop tracks from artists like The Clash, Young Jeezy and local producer Mr. Carmack for a mixed crowd.
“There are so many different people there every week,” says Delve. “Tourists, locals that work at the surrounding hotels, college kids and our friends. Jami and I cover a ton of music genres that we don’t normally get to play at our weekend gigs, like dance rock, nu-disco, brand new house tracks and obscure rap/hip-hop.”
Mondays at Lulu’s Waikiki
2586 Kalakaua Ave. [C:11 Waikiki Map]
Zanzabar Nightclub is the elder statesman of Waikiki nightlife. For nearly 15 years, the Waikiki Trade Center club has drawn a steady clientele of both tourists and locals, hosting some of the biggest parties in town when the NFL returns for its annual all-star game.
DJ Technique helps get the weekend started off right every Thursday night, where the “diversity of the crowd” means playing a lot of 2 Chainz, Trinidad James and Tyga.
“Everyone is from different parts of the world, so you have to cater to them,” he says. “I get people from their 20s to their 50s.”
Thursdays at Zanzabar Nightclub
2255 Kuhio Ave. [B:8 Waikiki Map]
There’s nothing quite like dancing the night away under the stars on the beach in Waikiki. For nearly five years, DJ Betty has helped make that happen at Rum-Fire inside the Sheraton Waikiki.
“Everyone is on vacation, so they’re in the right frame of mind to party,” she says. “Every Saturday is busy. I set the mood for the first hour, then around 9 o’clock I start to bring it up and we rage until 12.”
Along with lots of requests, expect to hear artists like Michael Jackson, Ke$ha and Krewella when hanging out here on a Saturday night.
Saturdays at RumFire Waikiki
2255 Kalakaua Ave. [D:7 Waikiki Map]
dj anit and compose
The current undisputed champ of Waikiki nightclubs is Addiction, an intimate space located within The Modern Honolulu. Bottle service is a must if you don’t want to stand in line outside and want a place to sit inside—although most just end up dancing at their tables anyway!
Steve Aoki, DJ Vice, LA Riots and Manufactured Superstars have all paid visits to the club since it opened in December 2011. Bringing big names to Waikiki was always part of the plan, according to Addiction general manager Tyler Dickinson.
“We always wanted to put a big emphasis on customer relations and the level of service, but we also wanted to put a big emphasis on our music program,” he says.
While Fridays and Saturdays are always busy, Dickinson makes a point of mentioning the club’s Thursday night party with DJs Anit and Compose (who also open/close the night on Fridays and Saturdays), whom he calls “the two best DJs in Hawai’i.”
“They’re just fun,” says Dickinson. “They pride themselves on their music selection and have that draw amongst the locals. They’re familiar with not only what’s hot in Hawai’i, but they stay current with what’s happening elsewhere. They’re very dedicated.”
Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at Addiction Nightclub
1775 Ala Moana Blvd. [D:3 Waikiki Map]