Hot Maui nightspots serve up music, with dinner on the side

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If American music icon Willie Nelson gets a hankering to perform when hes on Maui, hell often give the folks at Charleys Restaurant, run by his good friend, Jim Fuller, a couple of days notice and then pop by to play a set with his local band, the Planetary Bandits.

Those lucky enough to catch a Nelson gig at Charleys usually have benefitted from blind chance or word of mouth in the days just prior, according to Fuller.

We can hold 150 people, he said. If we started advertising, there would be 1,000.

Tickets to performances at Charleys are available at the bar the day before each event. The restaurant features entertainment four to six nights a week.

Fuller said he founded Charleys, which has been offering up eats and entertainment in the rustic town of Paia for nearly 37 years, when he had grown tired of working for other people. He also decided he wanted to serve customers healthier fare.

Charleys all-day breakfast, served until midnight, is popular and was recently voted best breakfast on Maui by readers of a local newspaper. Charleys is known for its Frisbee-size pancakes but also offers healthier options such as freshly squeezed orange juice and granola.

Meanwhile, another Willie performs weekly at Hapas Night Club in Kihei. Willie K. is a guitarist, singer and recording artist who, along with his rock band, plays traditional Hawaiian music, heavy metal and everything in between.

Willie K.s Monday-night shows usually feature danceable rock n roll, but if the mood strikes him, hell convincingly launch into a classical guitar tune.

Hapas owner, Gus Hoeft, strives to offer entertainment every night, with bands on Saturdays, a disc jockey for Sunday teen nights and a gay night twice a week, usually featuring a disc jockey and other live music by special engagement. All nights except teen nights are for the over-21 crowd.

For customers hankering for a bite to eat between sets, Mexican restaurant Hirohitos, next door to Hapas, serves food -- including steak, wraps and burgers, which Hoeft terms gringo food -- until 1 a.m.

Over in Lahaina, Hoeft has opened a new watering hole, Waveriders Bar and Grill.  Billed as the largest nightclub on Maui, Waveriders has a spacious, smoke-free dance floor, ample bar seating and booths, a VIP room which seats 15 and open-air seating fronting the restaurant for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The clubs musical offerings include regular stints by Los Angeles-based Living Legends, DJ Mark Farina, ska-rock group Go Jimmy Go and an assortment of Jamaican bands.

To contact the reporter who wrote this article, send e-mail to [email protected].

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