The Nonconformist's Guide to Valentine’s Day

By Megan Giller  |  February 3, 2014

The dreaded red heart-shaped boxes are already bursting off store shelves, so we figured it’s time to face the music. Whether you want to lay your heart on the line or keep things casual, Austin has something in store for you.

  • For First Offline Dates

    The casual atmosphere at Henri’s Cheese and Wine means that you can grab a quick glass of wine if things go differently than you’d imagined, or you can linger over a bottle and a cheese-and-charcuterie plate all night.

    What to order: Outstanding charcuterie and cheese and a bottle of wine
    How much it will set you back: About $40 for two, depending on how many varieties you order

  • For V-Day Breakups

    You’ll avoid raising too many suspicions by going to Italian food at Mandola’s, which can often be romantic. But the order-at-the-counter format keeps it casual and might start to plant the seed in their head.

    What to order: Go for the lasagna or the meat lover’s pizza, and add lots of garlic
    How much it will set you back: About $20 per person

  • For Couples Ready to Take the Plunge

    Travaasa Austin is offering a special elopement package at the hotel’s Solidago Gardens. That includes an officiant, flowers, candles, music, one official wedding photograph and a bottle of sparkling wine with two champagne flutes. Call 888-879-2389 or book online.

    What to order: The package is all-inclusive, but we advise a big suite at the resort
    How much it will set you back: The package costs $350, and Canyon Room accommodations start around $300

  • For the Noncommittal Types

    Dolce Neve, the new gelato shop on South First, translates to “sweet snow” and delivers on that promise.

    What to order: Dark chocolate with orange peel or pistachio gelato
    How much it will set you back: Under $15 for two
    Date points scored: 2

  • For the Fancy-Free

    Hit up the anti-Valentine’s parties around town. The Gibson is hosting their annual Heartbreakers and Homewreckers party with KY Jello Shots, black roses for the ladies, and food and drink specials. Lavaca Street Bar is hosting a Singled-Out party, where couples are just barely allowed in the door. Or celebrate man’s best friend at the Rattle Inn’s party, where pets are welcomed and there will be a doggy photo booth, Internet dog celebrity TheRegalBeagle and drink specials.

    What to order: Shots all around
    How much it will set you back: Free entry; depends how many drinks you order
    Date points scored: 0