Best Happy Hours and Ideas To Save Money in West Hawaii


The interesting (and sometimes financially painful) aspect to living in West Hawaii and more so up on the Kohala Coast, is the “cough at the bill” shock you get at times. As you know, most folk come here for a week after saving for a year or second home owners come for the holidays and going out to eat and drink is just part of the experience. I say this after asking for a glass of chardonnay recently (and not asking the price beforehand) and getting the bill for $16 ($20 at Four Seasons) and asking for coffee at the Mauna Lani and getting a $7.50 bill. All came with great views, I will add..and we ARE in Hawaii, but whenever I take my family out and spend $70 for burgers or pizza-I am reminded of the “price of paradise”. Talk about mindful eating and drinking! I sipped that wine and coffee VERY slowly, took photos and videos and soaked in the moment and seared it into my memory. I guess if I enjoyed every glass, bite and sip like that 24/7, I’d be having quite a life! But if you’ve waited all year to be here-and you just want awesome with a view-well, the price is reasonable, right? 

So, my fans on the “365 Things to Do In Kona”  Facebook page weighed in on the post above and I wanted to share some of their responses:

Locals Tips

Connie: My husband and I spend three weeks in a rented condo in Kona in January (will be there in 35 days…I may have started packing already!!)…my husband LOVES to cook, so we stock up at Costco, KTA, Walmart, Foodland and cook/grill/eat at the condo most of the time, but splurge at our favorite restaurants a few times throughout the trip. Wine and beer are in the fridge and coffee beans are ground daily. Yes, it can be expensive, but you can’t beat the feel of Hawaii, and there are so many free things to do! It’s a much needed break from our ND winter weather.

Louise: There are so many other options though, we avoid the overpriced the resortsGrab a bottle of Volcano Winery Guava-Grape wine (my new favorite) at the KTA for like $16 and enjoy it with a friend at the beach. Head to Huggos On The Rocks for their AMAZING happy hour specials, $4 for a huge hummus platter. Lots of our favorite restaurants have amazing happy hour deals. For coffee, why not visit one of the local coffee plantations and buy a bag of awesome fresh ground coffee and brew a pot to take with you. Yes living on the BI ‘can’ be expensive but it can also be as affordable as we choose to make it.

Pam: There are deals to be found…happy hour at Tropics by tje Hilton has $2 sliders…and an $8 pizza…we have learned lots of specials if you keep your eyes open…you can also take your coffee in an insulated cup from home and go sit many places for free…Paradise living is totally worth it!

Kim: Also, going off Alii drive and finding the local spots instead of the tourist attractions, such as Big Island Grill, 808 Grindz, Privateers Cove, Super J’s, etc. We had much better food at those little spots than any of the main drag spots!


One of my readers responded to my photo of an expensive glass of Chardonnay at Napua at the Mauna Lani with a photo of Kirkland brand chardonnay from Costco on her lanai! THAT is truly a way to save money, but like I said, it’s nice to go out and do it up now and then!

So, if you ARE looking to save a little, don’t mind starting your evening off a bit early, want to eat local or take your food to the beach, here are some links and ideas!

Happy Hours:

Kailua Kona

Don’s Mai Tai Bar from 4-6 pm for $6 Mai Tais and drink discounts.

On The Rocks-3-5 pm $4 pupu’s and $4 wine and $5 Mai Tais and great view 

Oceans Sports Bar and Grill for discounted beer and mai tais and fish tacos

Kenichi’s Sushi from 5-6 pm 1/2 off sushi in Keauhou Shopping Center 

Daylight Mind- Wednesday Wine for $1 and Happy Hour 3-5 pm Waterfront Row


Lava Lava Beach Club from 3-5 pm with $6 Mai Tais and food specials.  

My hubby and I will sometimes order their fish tacos and split them with happy hour drinks. The view is great!

Good Food You Can Grab and Take To Beach:

Bianelli’s Pizza at Keauhou Shopping Center 

Umeke’s Poke Bowls 

Local Places To Try

Big Island Grill – large portions, Hawaiian style food near downtown Kailua Kona

Super J’s in Kaaloa in South Kona -Inexpensive local style food  

One thing that many people DID mention, is that if you go out, please remember to tip your servers appropriately. They have to live here, too!

Go ahead and leave other restaurants and happy hours you want to share in the comments!

Spread the word if you love what you heard! #365kona so we can say Thanks!

Meet the Author

Julie Ziemelis

Julie Ziemelis is an entrepreneur, business owner, author, blogger and vlogger in Kailua Kona. She created and moderates the “365 Things to Do in Kona” page and the Kona Newbies group on Facebook. She blogs at and and vlogs with her husband, Eric, at “365Hawaii” on YouTube. Julie also authored the books, “How to Move to Kona” and the “Insiders Guide to Buying Real Estate on the Big Island of Hawaii”. You will most likely find Julie in Kona hiking, running, biking, taking photos and sharing Aloha.

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