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Posted at 7:00 AM ET, 02/14/2010

How to avoid Cupid on Valentine's Day

By Fritz Hahn

Tonight, D.C. is sure to be full of those lovey-dovey folks who've drunk the Feb. 14 Kool-Aid. If you saw Lavanya's Valentine's Day FAQ in Friday's Weekend section, you know my take on staying away from Cupid: Go somewhere that won't be all hearts and flowers or trying to set the mood with sappy love songs.

Here's where I'd suggest, not necessarily for "singles ready to mingle," but for people who just want to enjoy the Sunday night before a long weekend and not be reminded that of what Hallmark tells us about today. (Remember, since Monday's a holiday, last call is at 3 a.m. instead of 2.)

Dive bars are number one on my list, especially if you're heading out with a group of friends. Think The Tune Inn, the Raven, Jay's Saloon or Quarry House Tavern. Be advised that someone might put some heartbreaking Patsy Cline or Johnny Cash song on the jukebox at the Quarry House or Raven, but in my opinion, that adds to the atmosphere. (Trust me, couples don't want to hear Patsy sing "She's Got You" on Valentine's Day.)

The bars at music venues also seem to repel hand-holding duos. Galaxy Hut, the upstairs bar at the Rock and Roll Hotel, downstairs at the Velvet Lounge, the Black Cat -- with its long-running rock and roll dance party -- are all good places to hang out with no pressure. If you do see a couple at Velvet Lounge, they're more likely to be doing shots together than making out.

Now, let's say you want somewhere a little nicer. Wine bars? Skip 'em. Too much of a cliche. (And too many places doing Valentine's Day tasting menus.) Go wet your whistle with American whiskey at Bourbon in Glover Park, sample four-ounce tastes of a couple of ales you've never heard of at ChurchKey, taste Eastern European vodkas at Russia House, or hit the hidden, Reagle Beagle-esque bar at Cafe Mozart, where the bartender will be all too happy to serve you a giant Oktoberfest-sized mug of German beer.

And, finally, this should go without saying, but sports bars are seriously not romantic. True, a couple can share a passion for a team, but a pitcher of beer and plate of wings at a place like Velocity Five, the Cleveland Park Bar and Grill, Public Bar or Rhino Bar isn't likely to inspire thoughts of romance.

-- Fritz Hahn

By Fritz Hahn  | February 14, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Bars and Clubs, Valentine's Day  
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