Dinner by candlelight, roses, chocolate-covered strawberries and champagne — isn't that all at little passé for the modern lovers' Valentine's Day? Fortunately, Denver's V-Day weekend calendar is packed with sexy celebrations, chocolate-infused tastings, build-your-own bouquet gatherings, parties involving puppies and, to top it all off, a throwback R&B concert featuring the most sensuous of '90s hitmakers, Jodeci, waiting forever for their ladies. Here we've highlighted just ten of the many events celebrating the sweethearts holiday; visit Westword's event calendar for a full list of parties and specials across the metro area this coming weekend.
1. Valentine's Weekend at Shine
Friday, February 12 through Sunday, February 14
See Shine's website for a full schedule of events and pricing
On Friday Shine will roll out its "Lover’s Menu," meals for two made from locally sourced ingredients, along with special sweetheart desserts to share and plenty of magical drinks — the restaurant and brewery is famous for its out-of-this-world "potions" — to get you in the mood. On Saturday night, Shine's companion venue, the Gathering Place, will host Pearl’s Treat Burlesque for a sexy evening of dance, comedy, belly dancing and more featuring sexy hotties and hunks. A dance party will follow the show, which is free with the purchase of a burlesque show ticket. Sunday begins with a brunch menu designed just for the lovers' holiday. That evening, musical couple Strangebyrds will perform “Hearts on Our Sleeves: Songs of Love and Heartache” to close out the Valentine's weekend extravaganza. Dinner reservations for all three nights are filling up fast, so be sure to call ahead.
2. Loveland Fire and Ice Festival
Friday, February 12 through Sunday, February 14
Some events are free; see the fest's website for a full schedule of events and pricing
Loveland is going big and bright on Valentine’s Day weekend, as the Loveland Fire & Ice Festival will turn the town into a three-day, heart-filled wonderland, complete with carriage and carousel rides, live entertainment, delicious local treats, an ice-sculpting competition and more. The weekend also includes some surprises, with omething special for Harry Potter fans: Paula DuPré Pesmen, associate producer of several HP films, and star Devon Murray (who plays Seamus Finnigan) will be holding question-and-answer sessions throughout the festivities, digging into the behind-the-scenes world of the movie franchise. (Pesmen is a co-founder of Colorado nonprofit and festival partner There With Care.) But the big bang comes on Sunday night, when ice artists from across the country will showcase the massive sculptures they’ve been working on all weekend. This invitation-only competition will see teams of artists compete for best of show around the theme “The Yin and Yang of Light and Dark.”
3. Valentine's Weekend at the Mercury Cafe
Saturday, February 13 and Sunday, February 14
See the Merc's website for more on event times and prices; dinner reservations are recommended
The Mercury Cafe's food and eclectic entertainment is great year-round, but the Denver staple goes all out for the Valentine's holiday. Live theatrical performances of Lovers Split Strangers, a "dark, perverse romantic comedy," go on periodically throughout the weekend. On Saturday, the multi-room venue opens up its Jungle Room for Maria Vazquez- Flamenco Denver presents: Romance, a night of Flamenco dancing and music performances. Upstairs in the dance hall that night, it's a live show with local acts Taeogi, The Raven & The Writing Desk, Space Suit for Indians and ScaTTer GaTHer. Sunday will see swing dance lessons followed by a live performance and dance party with The Queen City Jazz band. As always, the Merc's Rose Room will be hosting a specially chef-prepared menu and unique love potions from the bar, set to live classic and contemporary cello music throughout the weekend.
4. Sacred Thistle Pop-Up Shop
Saturday, February 13 and Sunday, February 14, noon
The mother-daughter duo of Sydney and Cornelia Peterson bring their high art flower displays to the Ironwood Gallery this weekend. Those looking for lovely gifts for their significant others can build their own bouquets with the help of Sacred Thistle's expertise and traveling inventory. Not one for flower labor? Purchase a pre-made bouquet or paper flowers made by these blossom experts. See the florists' website for more on their work — and keep your eyes peeled later this year for the opening of Sacred Thistle's new, permanent home at 1110 Acoma Street.
5. The Heartbreakers Ball
Ophelia's Electric Soapbox
Saturday, February 13, 9 p.m.
$5 advance; $10 day of show
Local singer Danette Hollowell and her band will deliver the songs and spirits Sade, Amy Winehouse and Billie Holiday at this Valentine's day downtown bash. Denver's own DJ Big Styles will spin heartbreakers between sets and throw down tracks for a dance party later on in the night. Ophelia's multi-level venue is the perfect spot for a Valentine's night with your sweetie, with plenty of room to dance and plenty of dimly lit spots to canoodle and share cocktails.
6. PawsCo Valentine's Meet & Greet
Renegade Brewing Company
Saturday, February 13, 1-4 p.m.
Enjoy a beer while hanging out with some of Colorado's most lovable, adoptable pets at PawsCo's Valentine's weekend meet and greet. This Colorado non-profit animal rescue has teamed up with Renegade Brewing, local dog toy-maker American Dog and more Colorado businesses to offer drink specials and toys and treats to buy for furry friends — with a portion of the proceeds going to PawsCo. This could also be a great time to meet the next new furry addition to your family. To learn more about PawsCo's mission and services for animals, visit the volunteer-run home-fostering organization's website.
7. Ladies Night Out featuring Jodeci, NEXT and more
Sunday, February 14, 7 p.m.
$49 to $99
Stacked with sensuous singing acts perfect for an evening of romance, this bill is headed up by '90s era R&B legends Jodeci — the kings of seduction whose hits include "Forever My Lady" and "Come and Talk to Me." But fellow crooners Next, Case and H-Town have plenty to offer an adoring crowd, too, at a night that promises to be a one-of-a-kind trip back in time to when soulful and heartfelt R&B declarations of love ruled the charts and the hearts.
8. Valentine's Day Beer & Chocolate Pairing
Denver Beer Co.
Sunday, February 14, 6-9 p.m.
A collaboration with Denver's small-batch sweets-maker Chocolate Lab, Denver Beer Co.'s tasting event should be a fun Valentine's Day for the adventurous palate. From a Coffee Graham Cracker Porter paired with a heart-shaped marshmallow to a Chile Graham Cracker Porter cozied up to a cashew toffee with milk chocolate, you'll find plenty of flavors to savor. No valentine required; both singles and couples can enjoy this rich and malty trip of tastes.
9. 11th Annual Uncle Nasty's Valentine's Day Mass Wedding
Sunday, February 14, noon
This tradition has been going strong for over a decade, and Uncle Nasty will again preside over a mass wedding of epic proportions. Renew your vows or get married for the first time under the authority of this Denver celebrity, while enjoying the breathtaking setting of Red Rocks Amphitheatre. Bring as many friends and family members as you wish to celebrate with you — and the dozens of strangers getting hitched, too — at this fun celebration of love. High Altitude Photography will be on hand to take free downloadable wedding snapshots as local band You! Need! Swagger! provides music for the nuptials. The first 200 couples registered for Uncle Nasty's Mass Wedding get a chance to win wedding gifts from local businesses, and there is lots more in store, including a surprise guest maid of honor and best man.
10. Kai Lee's Big Texas Sweetheart Valentine's Kiki & Pageant
Sunday, February 14, 9:30 p.m.
Close down your Valentine's Day weekend with a wild celebration and beauty pageant hosted by local goddess Kai Lee Mykels. Kai Lee took over the legendary Sunday slot at Charlie's last year, bringing her brand of big Texas glamor and humor to the stage. Tonight's Valentine's Kiki is extra special, however, as RuPaul's Drag Race Season 5 contestant Alyssa Edwards will be in Denver as a pageant judge and performer. Local drag stars will battle it out for the title of Little Miss Sweetheart 2016; the pageant will be followed by a full-on drag show. Whether you're single or attached, a night of Charlie's cool cocktails, beautiful women and top-notch talent offers something sweet for everyone.