There's a good chance that most restaurants are already booked solid for tonight's hyper-polarizing holiday, but fear not; whether you're making last-minute romantic plans, trying to avoid the rush of people in love or want a place to hang with your friends in a totally chill, no-emotional-commitment-required situation, Richmond's got you covered for tonight's activities. (You can slide a few Spider-Man valentines under my office door as a thank-you, if you feel so inclined.)
For Full Hearts:
- Valentine's Pop Making Class: Tonight's 7 p.m. slot is sold out, but you can still nab tickets to the 5 p.m. King of Pops Valentine's Day class. Tour the Scott's Addition pop factory, then learn a bit about how to make sweets with your sweet and get down to business by creating your own pops. Choose between milk base and water base, then throw in fruit, accoutrements — it's a world of pure imagination. 5 p.m., 3001 W. Clay St. ($75 per couple)
- For the Love of Stout: Ardent Craft Ales is celebrating romance, stouts and aphrodisiacs with this event from 4 to 9 p.m. Toast your undying love or just sip beer on the patio all super-chill-like with nine — count 'em, nine — stouts on tap, plus Custom Cravings chocolates made with Ardent beer, and Northern Neck Oyster & Seafood Co. slinging raw oysters, grilled oysters, fried oysters, and baked oysters with kale, smoked Gouda and shallots.
- Plant Nite: Live la vie en rose bowl tonight at Ashland's Center of the Universe Brewing Co., where you'll find an adorable Valentine's-themed terrarium class that includes succulents, pink and red rocks and other planting materials, with food and beverages available for purchase. 7 p.m., 11293 Air Park Road. Get your $45 ticket here.
- Do Dinner: As of publishing this piece, a number of restaurants still have a few seats available for special Valentine's Day dinners. Jump on the phone and reserve your spots at Kitchen on Cary (three-course, local-focused meal with a glass of champagne for $85 per couple); Amour Wine Bistro (a five-course dinner for $79 per person with additional wine pairing options); Addis Ethiopian (two entrées, a bottle of wine and a dessert to share for $60); and Strawberry Street Cafe (a four-course dinner for two for $39).
Photo courtesy Jack Brown's Beer & Burger Joint Richmond
For Black Hearts:
- Lonely Hearts Pop-Up Mixer: Find plates that call to mind the shrinking size of your heart at Citizen's downtown anti-Valentine's party tonight with $4, $5 and $6 small plates such as pupusas, chicken grits with pimento jam, and butternut tamales with mole, plus a playlist full of angst-y songs and $1 Black Label beer. 5:30 to 10 p.m., 1203 E. Main St.
- Anti-Valentine's Day: Fire up your best heartbreak karaoke song and get thee to Henrico for Buz and Ned's Real Barbecue's Anti-Valentine's Day party, complete with a special-events room where the mushy stuff comes only in the form of mac 'n' cheese. Find karaoke, plus food and drink specials unique to the party. "We are even having an outdoor fire pit where you can burn any remembrance of your ex!" So says the restaurant's social media, and really, do they know how to sell it or what? 7 to 10 p.m., 8205 W. Broad St.
- Black Valentine's Day: RVA's annual angst-fest is back at Gallery5 with WRIR's tradition of bringing live music, a date auction (buy your way to affection for a great organization!) and dancing. Doors at 7 p.m., music at 9 p.m., auction at 10 p.m., 200 W. Marshall St. (Free.)
- Anti-Valentine's Battle: Over at Jack Brown's Beer & Burger Joint, make love-is-stupid Valentine's Day cards during the restaurant's Anti-Valentine's Battle of Saint Grace & Saint Dylan Day event, wherein both members of the Jack Brown's family have curated the tap list and created custom burgers. At 7 and 9 p.m. they'll also be judging the competition for best anti-VDay heart card, which you can make at any time today. He gave you a blank paper heart, she gave you a pen.11 a.m. to 2 a.m., 5810 Grove Ave.
- Valentine's Day Murder Mystery: Because nothing says love like MURDER, Maggiano's Little Italy is hosting a murder-mystery dinner party with a family-style dinner that includes Asiago-crusted shrimp; roasted pork loin with garlic mashed potatoes; butternut squash ravioli; and balsamic-glazed salmon. Update: tickets are sold out but you can put yourself on the wait list right over here. Doors at 6:25 p.m., show and dinner begin at 7 p.m., 11800 W. Broad St. ($70)