Valentine's Day: Classic, unconventional ways to celebrate

However you wish to spend V-Day, the Bay area has something for you and your sweetheart(s).

click to enlarge Valentine's Day meals and more await around the Bay area. - Simon_sees via Flickr
Simon_sees via Flickr
Valentine's Day meals and more await around the Bay area.


If you're looking to dine out with that special someone on Valentine's Day, take a look at CL's working list of restaurants and other local spots offering romantic feasts, as well as some unconventional ways to celebrate. The gatherings take place Feb. 14 unless otherwise noted, and prices are listed per person.

Bay Area Renaissance Festival Take advantage of the Renaissance Festival's themed (and strategically planned) weekend of chocolate and wine at MOSI. Treats from chocolatiers, bakers and other sweets-makers will be highlighted alongside activities like a couple's pie-eating contest. Tickets are available online$9.95-$89.95. Feb.13-14, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. 11315 N. 46th St., Tampa, bayarearenfest.com.

Beach Bar Restaurant
 Make it the ultimate Valentine's Day and dine waterside. Beach Bar Restaurant's holiday menu will feature a variety to choose from. Start with lobster bisque or a baby bistro salad, followed by Florida crab-crusted grouper or wild mushroom risotto, among other items. Finish on a sweet note with a chocolate torte or sorbet. Reservations can be made online$50. 7700 W. Courtney Campbell Causeway, Tampa, 813-281-8900.

The Bends An encore installment of the hip bar's "Drake Night" (as in the singer) will hit the downtown St. Pete hangout for V-Day. Drake cocktails, valentines, tunes and surprises are promised, and the Champage Papi toast is set for midnight. Feb. 13, 10 p.m. 919 First Ave. N., St. Petersburg, 727-202-8931.

Bizou Brasserie Put a spin on the big meal by incorporating a wine tasting. At Bizou's dinner with executive chef Brian Lairby and certified sommelier Kevin Pelley, four courses will be served with offerings from Rutherford, California's Swanson Vineyards. $150. 5:30 p.m. 601 N. Florida Ave., 813-227-9555, bizoutampa.com.

The Brew Brunch At Green Bench Brewing Co., chow down on brunch selections, including sweet potato and goat cheese croquettes, from the Red Line Truck. Beermosas and beer Bloody Marys will also be available for purchase. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. 1133 Baum Ave. N., St. Petersburg, 727-800-9836, greenbenchbrewing.com.

The Cider Press Café Reserve a table on Feb. 13 or 14 for a taste of the café's three-course aphrodisiac dinner, or à la carte menu items. The pre fixe dinner includes zucchini fettuccine Alfredo. 601 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, 727-914-7222, ciderpresscafe.com.

Columbia Restaurant Enjoy a selection of Spanish and Cuban cuisine while watching any of this Ybor City mainstay's three flamenco dance shows. Call for pricing. 4, 6:30 & 9 p.m. 2117 E. Seventh Ave., Tampa, 813-248-4961, columbiarestaurant.com.

Compass Grille Indulge in a three-course spread, featuring champagne, bananas Foster and other deliciousness, on the beach. $49.99-$99. 5-10 p.m. 5300 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach, 855-706-4347, sirata.com/compass-grille.

Dysfunctional Grace Art Co. Venture into unknown territory at Dysfunctional Grace's pop-up Rare Dinner, where chef Josh Bauer's courses will be divided into six categories: First, Second, Fish, Bird, Meat and Dessert. Expect items like pasture-raised beef carpaccio, wild boar shank and ginger milk curd. Twenty seats are available, and complimentary wine will be offered. $125. 6:30-9 p.m. 1903 E. Seventh Ave., Tampa, 813-842-0830, dysfunctionalgrace.com.

Independent Bar and Cafe Bubbly beverages like Champagne, Prosecco and sparkling wine will be highlighted, along with complimentary cheese and desserts, from 6 to 8 p.m. Live music from Rebecca Zapen and Jeremy Douglas is planned inside the beer hall. Seating is limited; RSVP by emailing [email protected] $25. 6-10 p.m. 5016 N. Florida Ave., Tampa, 813-341-4883, independentbartampa.com.

Local Public House and Provisions Don't have a Valentine? Come hang at Local. Happy hour pricing will be offered to singles at the bar. The restaurant's Valentine's Wine Tasting on Feb. 12 will feature wines from Spain, Argentina and more paired with Pinellas Chocolate Company sweets. Free. 5-9 p.m. 32750 Pennsylvania Ave., San Antonio, 352-668-4867, localpublichouse.com.

The LOFT Event Lounge A five-course, Paris-inspired dinner or brunch is up for grabs this Valentine's Day. The dinner will have chicken cordon bleu and French-style apple pie, while the brunch will bring tastes like French toast and quiche Lorraine. Free wine, specialty cocktails, dance music and more will also be highlighted. Reserve spots in advance$125. Feb. 13, 7-10 p.m. & 8-11 p.m.; Feb. 14, 1-4 p.m. & 2-5 p.m. 709 W. Lumsden Road, Brandon, 813-685-8777, thelofteventlounge.com.

Marchand's Bar & Grill From Feb. 12 to Feb. 14, enjoy a special dinner or brunch lineup from Marchand's. The eatery's younger sibling, Fred's Speakeasy, will serve up dinner, too. 501 Fifth Ave. NE, St. Petersburg, 727-824-8072.

Massimo's Eclectic Fine Dining Head to Massimo's for a special lineup of 13 dishes, which patrons will use to create a customized four-course meal. Grilled vegetable terrine, porcini ravioli and peppercorn-crusted, center-cut filet mignon will be among the options. $75. Feb. 13-14. 31876 U.S. Highway 19 N., Palm Harbor, 727-784-1881, massimosrestaurant.com.

Mattison’s Forty-One Join Sam Williamson of Williamson Wines for the Art of the Heart Wine Dinner, cooked up by Mattison's chef Paul Mattison. Williamson will guide diners through each wine-paired course, and seating is limited to 40 reservations. $125. Feb. 13, 6:30 p.m. 7275 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, 941-921-3400, mattisons.com.

Mermaid Tavern A four-course feast, showcasing dishes like oyster and bacon pot pie and baked Bulgarian feta, with a wine or beer pairing. The tunes begin at 8 p.m., and tickets can be found online. $75. 6719 N. Nebraska Ave., Tampa, 813-238-5618, mermaidtaverntampa.com.

Pair O' Dice Brewing Co. Throughout V-Day weekend, Pair O' Dice will preview a pilot batch of its Lucky Lucy Strawberry Blonde. While it will only be featured on tap Friday and Saturday, the brewery will offer growler fills of the beer on Sunday. 4400 118th Ave. N. #208, Clearwater, 727-755-3423, pairodicebrewing.com.

Pollo Tropical Two entrees, two drinks, a side of yuca sticks or sweet plantains, and a complimentary guava bar from any participating Pollo Tropical's "two can dine for $9.99" offer. To land the coupon deal, text LOVE2016 to 52198. 828 Providence Road, Brandon, 813-681-2679, pollotropical.com.

TACE Lounge Add a little entertainment to the evening's roster. After dinner, the New Orleans cuisine-slinging restaurant will present In the Name of Love, an intimate 5 p.m. concert by jazz saxophonist BK Jackson. Only prepaid reservations, made by calling the restaurant, will be accepted. $50 for dinner and concert, $20 for concert only. 14380 N. Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa, 813-964-8223, tacelounge.com.

Valentine "Pup" Crawl Try a hop through four South Tampa bars if a fancy meal isn't your style, but with a twist — four-legged friends are allowed. The crawl, which hits Yard of Ale, World of Beer, and The Dubliner Irish Pub, will kick off at MacDinton's. The proceeds will benefit the Humane Society of Tampa Bay. $15 online, $20 at the door. Feb. 13, 4:30 p.m. 405 S. Howard Ave., Tampa, 813-876-4150, humanesocietytampa.org.

Willard's Tap House Pucker up! Willard's will highlight eight sour-style beers from breweries such as Brewery Ommegang and The Bruery during Valentine's Day weekend. Other chocolate suds will accompany the sours. 12500 Starkey Road, Largo, 727-581-8600, willardstaphouse.com.

Yacht StarShip Spend the holiday on the water with a loved one through Yatch Starship's two-and-a-half-hour lunch and dinner cruises. The Clearwater location is offering them, too. $44.95-$149.95. Feb. 12-14. 603 Channelside Drive, Tampa, yachtstarship.com.

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