Bar, Restaurant & Store
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Opened in 1964
Defunct tiki not included,
distances are as the crow flies.
Exterior of Tahiti Nui in Hanalei
October 2011, photo by Koloa Don
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Bruce T. Marston was a Californian serving in Tahiti as a Lt. Colonel in the U.S. Air Force. There, he met Louise, who was from Tubuai, just south of Tahiti. They fell in love, and moved to the town of Hanalei on the north side of the island of Kauai in Hawaii. There, in the summer of 1964, they opened Tahiti Nui.
Tahiti Nui became the go-to gathering place for Kauai's north shore, with musicians, hula dancing, and occasional singing from "Auntie Louise" Marston herself. Louise passed away in 2003, and Tahiti Nui is now run by Bruce and Louise's son, Christian. Tahiti Nui makes an appearance in the 2011 film The Descendants.
The restaurant serves a mix of Hawaiian seafood standards and Italian food. The drink menu is limited, but they do have their own Mai Tai recipe, which they've been serving since they first opened. They still have live music and hula dancing.
The walls are lined with lauhala matting and bamboo, with Oceanic art pieces hanging here and there. The small round tabletops are painted with Polynesian designs, and the barstools are carved tikis. There is a small curio shop attached to the restaurant.
How to find it:
Tahiti Nui is right on the main highway that goes into Hanalei, it's on the right side of the road before you get to town, before Aku Road. Look for the vintage, hand-lettered Tahiti Nui sign.
Tahiti Nui has its own parking lot. There are two driveways, one on each side of the building, you can turn into either one (they connect to the same lot behind the building).