Over the years, many things have occurred on February 14. In the interest of brevity, we'll stick to just two: The date is both the feast day of two early Christian martyrs and the date seven men were slaughtered by Al Capone's thugs in 1929. Also in the interest of brevity, we present to you an abbreviated list of ten Valentine's Day happenings around town where you can drink and dine. And while VD is often associated with a burning sensation (getting scorched by the candle as you reach across the table to take your lover's hand) and expensive treatment (flowers, gifts, dinner at a crowded restaurant), these events are a little off the beaten path. If you're a traditionalist, there are plenty of great prix fixe options at some of our favorite joints around town (the Bindery, Señor Bear, Goed Zuur and Morin, just to name a few), but if you're looking for something a bit quirkier, keep reading.
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema
4255 West Colfax Avenue, 720-577-4720
7301 South Santa Fe Drive, Littleton, 720-588-4107
Dinner and a movie: the classic date. This Valentine's Day, Alamo is bringing two epic love stories to the silver screen: Armand and Albert from The Birdcage will light up the night near Sloan's Lake, while Shaun and Liz reaffirm their love while battling brain eaters in Shaun of the Dead at the Littleton location. Each movie comes with a celebratory feast, either a three-course Wedding Feast inspired by the legendary cooking of Agador Spartacus (and, we can only hope, served on evocative dinnerware) and paired with beer, wine and a cocktail ($60), or a hearty English meal taken from the Winchester's menu and accompanied by Epic Brewing Company beers ($55). Both shows start at 7 p.m. and tickets are available at drafthouse.com, but they're going quickly, so you'll need to move faster than a sauntering John Wayne or mob of the undead to snag yours.
As with many tiny taprooms tucked into strip malls, Baere is unlikely to catch your eye; you're more likely to be watching out for pedestrians, buses and dick driving moves on this stretch of Broadway. But this brewery is criminally underrated, and Valentine's Day is the perfect time to show it some love. A ubiquitous beer-and-cupcake pairing kicks off at 5 p.m. (sweets for your sweet will be $18 in advance or $20 at the door), but more important is the release of Bourbruin, a sour brown ale aged in Laws whiskey barrels for nine months, and Palisade Bing Bourbruin, that same ale aged on fresh cherries. Baere has a way with tart brews, so we're particularly excited to nab a few of these 375 ml bottles for $12. Find out more at baerebrewing.com, and don't be concerned about showing up to the taproom solo: You can wallow in sour beer even if you're soured on love.
Bear Creek Distillery
1879 South Acoma Street
You're definitely going to be drinking on February 14 — it's a regular Thursday night, after all. Why not pick your poison at this cozy south Denver distillery, where local gypsy and swing band Half Pint and the Growlers will be performing canciones de amor y bebida (that's "songs of love and drinking," but sexier)? Don't care about the love songs? Focus on the excellent cocktails, which are fashioned from the distillery's own wheat bourbon, rye vodka, spiced and cask-strength rum, white lightning and more. Tunes start at 7 p.m.; see the distillery's Facebook page for more info.
4280 Tennyson Street
1635 Platte Street
Looking for love this month? Go about it the old-fashioned way (and then pause to wonder when speed dating became old-fashioned) at a pair of dating events at BookBar and Cerveceria Colorado on February 14. Well-read singles should hit up BookBar at 6 p.m., where conversational prompts will lean toward the literary; craft-beer aficionados can take a stab at meeting their soulmate over cervezas at the taproom at 7 p.m. Your first drink is included in the ticket price at both places; BookBar also offers additional events for queer and nonbinary folks on February 21 and 28, and Cerveceria includes bites along with brews and banter. Find tickets and details at eventbrite.com (BookBar, $27) and nightout.com (Cerveceria Colorado, $15).
1450 South Broadway
Nestled among the dispensaries of South Broadway is a storefront selling a different brand of herbal infusion (albeit with a selection of munchies rivaling any stoner's spread). And on February 14, Capital Tea is offering a very civilized Valentine's Day High Tea with seatings from 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. For ninety minutes, you can enjoy unlimited pots of tea (highlighted pots include chocolate chai and champagne raspberry, though there are almost a hundred varieties to choose from), as well as scones and clotted cream, sausage rolls, shepherd's pie, smoked salmon, cucumber sandwiches, petit fours, chocolates, and raspberry linzer cookies. Reservations are required; call the shop or send a note to [email protected] to make yours. Details and the expansive list of tea are up on Capital Tea's website.