Valentine’s Day is the perfect day to declare one’s passion for a certain someone or to reaffirm that passion. It’s also a good excuse for a party that can fit any budget, and if you’re a single looking for a chance to meet someone, choosing the right place to party could bring about a good chance of that. Or if you’d rather just enjoy a stiff drink in relative solitude, there’s something for you too.
1101 W. Sligh Ave.
Tampa, FL 33604
Every year, Lowry Park Zoo invites all comers, whether they come as singles, groups or couples, to its Wild at Heart celebration. The $65 admission brings with it a tour of one of America’s finest small zoos, romantic dinner and champagne as well as an open bar. And what would a zoo tour be without a chance to get up close and personal with some of Lowry Park Zoo’s exotic animals? In keeping with the Valentine’s Day theme, the tour includes a rundown of the way animals meet, mate and procreate. Reservations are required and historically, this is a very hot ticket.
8374 N. Tamiami Trail
Sarasota, FL 34243
The one-time winter home of inventor, broadcaster and industrialist Powel Crosley (once known as Seagate), the Powel Crosley Estate now belongs to the state of Florida and is a popular business conference and wedding venue. This Valentine’s Day, it will also be the perfect place to enjoy the romantic song stylings of Jon Secada. As part of the long-running Chilloungenight series of elegant nights out, the Jon Secada Valentine’s Day offers a total entertainment package, including food, drink and a red rose for each lady starting at $160. The show runs from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m., but the memories will last a lifetime.
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2208 W. Morrison Ave.
Tampa, FL 33606
Best known as the rambunctious young offspring of the stately Bern’s Steakhouse, SideBern’s has developed a reputation as one of Tampa’s best restaurants for innovative twists on contemporary American cuisine. However, it’s also a great place to enjoy a slightly more sophisticated and quieter ambiance catering to the after-hours young business casual crowd, especially at happy hour where wine and cocktail specials go for $5 and beer costs only $3. If you’re not an adventurous eater, the $6 appetizers give you a great low-risk chance to sample some of the menu items.
719 N. Franklin St.
Tampa, FL 33602
The Hub is a downtown Tampa landmark that has been dishing out drinks since 1949. Despite a change in location a few years back, The Hub has kept its ambiance and charm as a true cocktail lounge. From the beginning at its original location between the Tampa Federal Courthouse and the Floridan Hotel to its new location a few blocks away on Franklin Street, The Hub has played host to Tampa’s politicians, lawyers, judges and mobsters. The Hub has at least two characteristics that set it apart. First, the term “Hub Pour” has become synonymous with generous portions of name-brand liquors. No low-rent stuff here. While there is live entertainment at times, the Hub’s jukebox is well known for its wide-ranging selections. Peter Tosh, Led Zeppelin and Frank Sinatra are all available at the push of a button. So if your idea of a Valentine’s party is sitting in a bar, nursing a stiff drink and listening to Billie Holiday, The Hub might be the place for you. While the drinks are reasonably priced, bring cash because The Hub does not take credit cards.
910 Skipper Road
Tampa, FL 33613
One of Tampa’s longest running entertainment venues, Skipper’s prides itself on an eclectic mix of music, drinks and a menu that has gained national attention from food pundits. This year, Valentine’s Day falls on a Thursday and that just happens to be Grateful Dead Tribute night at Skipper’s. With the Dead-inspired musical wanderings of Uncle John’s Band, Skipper’s is a great place to indulge your inner hippie and perhaps meet a certain someone who shares a taste for tie-dies and love beads. If not, it’s still a great night out with only a $7 door charge.
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