Valentine’s Day is here, and the Hallmark holiday can cause mixed reactions from people.
The day likes to focus more on couples than singles, which is why Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) from "Parks and Recreation" invented the increasingly popular Galentine’s Day, a way for female pals to celebrate their friendship on Feb. 13.
Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky restaurants, coffee shops and breweries have Galentine’s and Valentine’s Day covered, with everything from casual, inexpensive beer dinners to exotic river cruises. And because V-Day lands on a Thursday, it means some dinners will occur on the special day and others will be extended throughout the weekend.
While the holiday is meant to be romantic, you don’t have to break the bank to impress your date. If you somehow run out of options, though, there's always sharing a Crave Case at White Castle.
But to prevent that, we've selected nine places you might like to dine on V-Day and/or V-Day weekend. Dinners are subject to sell out, so purchase tickets or make a reservation sooner than later.
On the day before V-Day, Braxton Brewing will host a five-course and six-beer -- including Dark Charge Mole and Kickback Rose cider -- Beer Lovers Dinner in their loft event center. They’ll tap across-the-street neighbor Peppe Cucina to provide the victuals: beer-braised sausage, braised beef taco, spring greens and a vinaigrette made with Braxton beer Tropic Flare (an IPA), and the best dessert ever--Braxton’s Graeter's Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip beer, in a float, with a pie crust topper.
Tickets are $50 per person. Purchase them on Eventbrite. The Loft at Braxton Brewing, 27 West 7th St., Covington. Dinner time: 6:30-9:30 p.m.
The brewery -- which is home to the delicious Holtman’s Apple Fritter Cider -- opened almost two years ago in Sycamore Township. (They’ll celebrate two years on March 1 with a weekend bash.)
This year, the taproom’s hosting its first formal Valentine’s Day dinner. On Feb. 14, Milford catering company Barraco Culinary will present four courses paired with four of March First’s brews. The menu includes butternut squash bisque, a Reuben-style pork belly slider, and a whoopie pie paired with March’s Swiss Chocolate Stout.
Tickets are $30 per person and can be purchased on Eventbrite. March First Brewing, 7885 E. Kemper Road, Syacamore Township. Dinner time: 5:30-7 p.m.
Every V-Day, nationwide chain Buca Di Beppo unleashes what they call a Lasagna Love Feast, their cheesy lasagna in heart-shaped form. For $49.99 per table, the meal (it feeds up to three people) includes the loving lasagna, small garlic bread, a small mixed green or mixed Caesar salad, and a mini chocolate chip cannoli. The deal is available for dine-in only, from open to close.
If, however, you want to get something heart-shaped to-go, they’re also offering a free heart-shaped margherita pizza with any to-go order. Rockwood Commons is the only Buca in the area, so get your heart-shaped fix there.
Make reservations here. Buca Di Beppo, Rockwood Commons, 2635 Edmondson Road, Norwood. 11 a.m.-10 p.m., or until supplies last.
On V-Day, Covington pizza parlor The Gruff will throw a family-friendly dinner, featuring five kinds of pizzas paired with wines, such as Mezzacorona Pinot Grigio and Le Courtage Brut Rose. For a super affordable $25 per person, guests will receive an arugula salad with lemon vinaigrette; slices of margherita, smoked brisket, truffle sausage, Italian meat, and bacon and apple pizza. If that's not enough, they’ll also serve a chocolate mousse cup for dessert. Kids and non-drinkers are welcome, too, and they’ll be able to order from a full menu. The Gruff sells wines, beers and local liquors in their shop, so after dinner take home a bottle or six-pack and keep the love fest going. Make reservations on Eventbrite but pay at the dinner: The Gruff, 129 E. 2nd St., Covington, dinner times: 6 and 7 p.m.
Affection for sliders and beer will meld into one on V-Day, when Streetside Brewery teams up with their on-site food truck, Street Chef Brigade. Purchase a ticket ($28) and receive four sliders and any two Streetside pints.
Starting at noon, they’ll release new beer Bee Mine, a raspberry honey milkshake IPA, on draft and in cans. The sliders will be made with ground beef, cheddar, mustard relish, greens and Wham! sauce, a kind of smoky thousand island dressing.
Vegetarian sliders will be available, and those will be made with seared mushrooms, hummus, cheddar, organic greens and green onions on a brioche bun.
Purchase tickets on Eventbrite. Streetside Brewery, 4003 Eastern Ave., East End. Dinner time: 6-8:30 p.m.
This time last year, Pendleton’s Boomtown Biscuits wasn’t quite open yet. But this year, they’ll host their first-annual V-Day dinner in which Chef Christian Gill will mainly leave the restaurant's frontier food roots behind.
The dinner’s composed of three courses. For the appetizer, share either a charcuterie board with mini biscuits, fennel salami and cheeses, or a roasted beet stack with whipped goat cheese layered in between. Entrees include confit Duroc pork chop or jasmine-seared scallops. For dessert, each table gets one option and that’s sweet basil panna cotta with a red wine reduction, hibiscus and a candied orange peel.
Boomtown Biscuits and Whiskey, 1201 Broadway St., Pendleton. Dinner price TBD (check their Facebook page for updates). Dinner times: 5-10 p.m.
On Feb. 14 and 16, hit the high seas! Well, the Ohio River. With a romance-fueled cruise, BB Riverboats wants to “give your Valentine a night to remember." They’ll provide a buffet dinner accompanied by live music.
The hearty buffet includes carved prime rib, roasted airline chicken, twice-baked mashed potatoes, Asian-glazed salmon, and chocolate fondue. Tickets are $60 per person and $42 per child.
Purchase tickets here. BB Riverboats, 101 Riverboat Row, Newport. Dinner times: 7-9:30 p.m. Feb. 14, and boarding begins at 6 p.m.; 7-9:30 p.m. Feb. 16, and boarding begins at 6 p.m.
On V-Day through Feb.16 (three nights!), Coppin’s will design a prix-fixe menu, concocting fancy items like oyster soup, blue crab cakes, saffron risotto and coffee-crusted steak.
For $55 per person, you will choose from two options per course. The third course, dessert, might be hardest to decide: do you pick white chocolate cream cheese custard, or milk chocolate millefeuille?
If you don’t want to do the prix-fixe, Coppin’s regular menu will be available.
Make a reservation on OpenTable or call 859-905-6800. Coppin's at Hotel Covington, Covington. Dinner times: 5-10 p.m.
Going to a coffee shop to celebrate V-Day might not seem a likely choice, but when Carabello Coffee’s setting the mood with candles, romantic music, good coffee and desserts, you need to be there.
On Feb. 14 and 15, Carabello will offer three seatings a night -- 7 p.m., 8:15 p.m. and 9:30 p.m -- with tables for two or four people. The $38 fee includes choice of coffee or tea drinks and desserts from a prix-fixe menu. Besides the seated event, Carabello’s adjacent Analog Bar will have a three-course tasting experience ($22 per person; two seatings per night), on Feb. 14 and Feb. 15.
The menu includes a cortado made with chocolate syrup; a cold brew rose mocktail; and desserts from Olde Kentucky Market’s Memorie Makers. Carabello’s events typically sell out in advance, so book one of those enchanting evenings soon.
Get tickets here. Carabello Coffee, 107 E. 9th St., Newport. Feb. 14 and 15th couples dinner, seatings at 7 p.m., 8:15 p.m., 9:30 p.m. Cost: $38 per couple (table for two) or $76 (table for four). Analog Coffee Bar tasting, Feb. 14 and 15, seatings at 5:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. both nights; $22 per person.
Non-Dinner Yet Fun Events
Landlocked Social House: On Galentine's Day from 6-10 p.m., Landlocked Social House will exhibit its semi-annual Latte Art Throwdown. Women and non-binary baristas will compete in a bracket-style competition to see which barista makes the best latte art. Those who aren't participating can root for their friends, imbibe a special cocktail and choose from 15 eclectic beers on tap. Landlocked Social House, 648 E. McMillan St., Walnut Hills. Admission is free.
Swine City Brewing: On V-Day, Fairfield’s Swine City Brewing will commemorate all the single ladies (and men) with Valenswine’s Day Single Night. The motto is “love stinks,” and pints will be $1 off. The event starts at 3 p.m. and lasts until 10:30 p.m., ensuring at the end of the night you’ll probably still be single but maybe a little happier. Swine City, 4614 Industry Drive, Fairfield. Admission is free.