Live Reggae Music on Oahu – The Best Places to Hear It

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


From Waikiki to the North Shore, get a taste of the best reggae music Oahu has to offer. Check out our list of live music venues playing reggae every night of the week!

Reggae in Hawaii

Reggae music has its origins in the 1960s, in Jamaica. The music was initially used as a way to protest the country’s political and social issues. Reggae quickly spread to other countries, including the United States. In the 1970s, reggae music became popular in Hawaii.

The history of reggae in Hawaii

Most people associate reggae music with the Caribbean, but the genre has a long and storied history in Hawaii as well. Reggae first came to Hawaii in the early 1970s, brought over by Jamaican immigrants who were working on the sugarcane plantations. Reggae quickly caught on with the local population, and by the late 1970s there was a thriving reggae scene in Honolulu.

In the 1980s, Hawaiian reggae bands started to gain attention beyond the islands, with groups like Zebrahead and Natural Vibrations achieving national and international acclaim. Today, there are dozens of reggae bands active in Hawaii, playing everything from traditional roots reggae to contemporary dancehall. If you’re looking for a taste of authentic Hawaiian culture, listening to some live reggae is a great way to experience it.

The influence of reggae in Hawaii

Reggae music has been popular in Hawaii since the 1970s, when Bob Marley and the Wailers played a sold-out concert at the Honolulu International Center. Reggae music has since become a staple at Hawaiian clubs, restaurants and bars, and is often heard playing in the background as tourists enjoy the islands’ sun and surf.

While reggae music is most commonly associated with Jamaica, its African and Latin roots make it a natural fit for Hawaii, which is also home to many people of African and Latin American descent. Hawaii’s reggae scene is particularly vibrant on the island of Oahu, where local bands play a mix of traditional and contemporary reggae tunes.

If you’re looking to experience the best of Hawaii’s reggae scene, here are some of the best places to catch live reggae music on Oahu:

The Dragon Upstairs
Located in downtown Honolulu, The Dragon Upstairs is one of the best places to catch live reggae music on Oahu. The intimate venue features a small stage where local and touring bands play nightly shows. The Dragon Upstairs also has an extensive drink menu with cocktails, beer and wine from around the world.

The Shack Waikiki
The Shack Waikiki is a beachfront bar located in Waikiki Beach. The Shack Waikiki features live music seven nights a week, with a lineup that includes local reggae bands as well as touring acts from Jamaica and other parts of the world. The Shack Waikiki also has an extensive food menu with dishes from across the Caribbean.

Bob’s Sports Bar & Grill
Bob’s Sports Bar & Grill is located in Honolulu’s Chinatown district. Bob’s Sports Bar & Grill features live music every night, with a focus on local reggae bands. Bob’s Sports Bar & Grill also has pool tables, darts and televisions showing sporting events from around the world.

The best places to hear live reggae on Oahu

When it comes to live music, Oahu has a lot to offer. And if you’re a fan of reggae, you’re in luck. There are plenty of places on the island where you can hear live reggae music. In this article, we’ll give you a rundown of some of the best places to go.

The Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club

The Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club is one of the best places to hear live reggae on Oahu. The hotel has a weekly “Reggae on the Roof” event that takes place on the hotel’s rooftop deck. The event features live music from local reggae bands, as well as food and drink specials.

The Yard House

The Yard House is one of the most popular places to hear live reggae on Oahu. They offer a wide variety of music genres, but their reggae nights are always packed and full of energy. The Yard House is located in Waikiki, so it’s the perfect place to start your night off before heading to one of the many clubs nearby.

Next door to The Yard House is Rockefeller’s, another great place to hear live reggae on Oahu. Rockefeller’s offers a relaxed atmosphere where you can sit back and enjoy the music. They also have a large outdoor patio area where you can enjoy the fresh air and beautiful views of Waikiki Beach.

If you’re looking for a more laid-back atmosphere, then check out Maui Brewing Company in Kihei. Maui Brewing Company has a large selection of local beers and they often have live music playing in their restaurant. Their reggae nights are always enjoyable and their beer is some of the best on the island.

Lulu’s Surf Club

Lulu’s Surf Club is one of the best places to hear live reggae music on Oahu. The club is located on the north shore of the island and features a large outdoor patio with a stage that is perfect for live music. The club also has a full bar and serves food.

Why live reggae is the best

Reggae music has been a favorite of many for decades. The music has a certain appeal that gets people up and moving. It’s also a great way to relax and enjoy yourself. When you’re on Oahu, there are plenty of places to hear live reggae music.

The energy of live music

Live music always has an edge on recorded music. It’s the human element – the pulse and flow of the music that touches something inside of us. And when it’s done well, it can be an unforgettable experience.

There are plenty of good reasons to seek out live reggae music on Oahu. First and foremost, it’s the energy of live music that sets it apart. Recorded music is great, but there’s something about seeing musicians performing onstage that brings the whole experience to another level.

In addition, live music is often a more intimate affair than recorded music. You’re able to see the expressions on the faces of the musicians as they play, and you can feel the energy emanating from them. This can create a strong connection between the performers and the audience that simply isn’t possible with recorded music.

Finally, live reggae music often features extended versions of songs that aren’t available on recordings. This gives you a chance to really experience the power and majesty of the genre as it was meant to be heard. When it comes to live reggae on Oahu, there are few experiences that can match it.

The connection to the culture

When it comes to music, there’s nothing quite like live reggae. The energy of the music is contagious, and the positive vibes of the culture are impossible to ignore. If you’re looking for the best live reggae on Oahu, here are a few of our favorite spots.

The connection to the culture is what makes live reggae so special. The music is more than just a genre—it’s a lifestyle. And when you see it performed live, you can’t help but be drawn in by the positive energy.

Reggae is a music that was born out of struggle, but it’s also a music of hope and defiant joy. It’s a music that has always been about bringing people together, and that’s something that we could all use a little more of in our lives.

Whether you’re looking for a laid-back atmosphere or a party atmosphere, there’s a live reggae show on Oahu that’s perfect for you. So put on your dancing shoes and get ready to experience the best of what this vibrant culture has to offer.

The feeling of community

One of the best things about live reggae music is the feeling of community it can create. When you’re surrounded by others who are enjoying the same music, it can create a strong sense of connection. This is especially true on Oahu, where the live reggae scene is vibrant and supportive. There are several great venues where you can enjoy live reggae music, and each has its own unique atmosphere.

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