Valentine's Day isn't all cupids and flowers for some people. If you're looking for love or want to avoid happy couples all night, try one of these events.
Blues (and cocktails) for the Broken-Hearted
Get an early start on your anti-Valentine's Day celebrations at the Gibson, where Blues for the Broken-Hearted features a special cocktail menu for the night and live blues by Johnny Grave and the Tombstones. (If you're going on a date or just want to have a drink without paying a cover charge, the upstairs bar will be open as usual.)
Thursday at 8 p.m. The Gibson, 2009 14th St. NW. www.facebook.com/thegibsondc. $5 in advance, $10 at the door.
Two kinds of pre-party
Napoleon is hosting two pre-Valentine's Day events on Friday night. Upstairs, the "Love Hurts" party, which runs from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m., features a special cocktail menu, with selections including the Is it a Crime? (bourbon, crème de violette and blood orange), DJs playing "heartbreaking hits" by Aretha Franklin, Chaka Khan and other soulful singers, and old movies playing on the bar's projection screen. Admission is $10, which includes one of the "broken-hearted" cocktails; drinks are $12 after that.
The atmosphere will be more celebratory downstairs, where the $20 cover includes unlimited sparkling rosé from 10 p.m. to midnight. The evening starts with a flight of wines from France, Italy and Spain, and then guests can order whichever they want until the clock strikes 12. Meanwhile, a DJ spins Top 40, dance and retro tunes until the wee hours. Tickets are available in advance.
Friday beginning at 6 p.m. (upstairs) and 10 p.m. (downstairs). Napoleon, 1847 Columbia Rd. NW. 202-299-9630. www.napoleondc.com.$10-$20.
A twist on your favorite break-up songs
Charlottesville's Love Canon takes '80s hits and spins them into funky bluegrass tunes full of peppy mandolin and singing fiddles. It's a novelty for sure, but the level of musicianship is so high that you'll spend more time dancing than rolling your eyes. The band is in town this weekend for two shows at Gypsy Sally's. Friday's theme is "Love Hurts/Unlucky in Love," with the band focusing on songs about relationships gone wrong. That's sure to be more fun than Saturday, which features a completely different setlist about "The Power of Love." Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door each night, but a two-night pass is $25.
Friday and Saturday at 9 p.m. Gypsy Sally's, 3401 K St. NW. 202-333-7700. www.gypsysallys.com.
Single? Get ready to mingle
After an exhaustive search, the Washington Blade has found the 20 most eligible LGBT men and women in Washington. The lucky bachelors and bachelorettes are guests of honor at Town on Valentine's Day, where DJ Ed Bailey is hosting Love Shack, a night of love-themed '80s and '90s classics. If anyone in the crowd catches your eye, you can post messages to them on Town's Valentine's Day Message Board. Who knows where it could lead?
Saturday at 10 p.m. Town Danceboutique, 2009 Eighth St. NW. 202-234-8696. www.towndc.com. $10 before 11 p.m., $12 after.
Booze Riot: The Anti-Valentine's Day Party
Punk bands called Booze Riot and Caustic Casanova. Cocktails named My Girlfriend's Girlfriend and Fascist Pig. A beer and a shot combo for $5. Takoma Park's Republic, usually a safe place to go for oysters and wine on Saturday night, isn't trying to pull the wool over anyone's eyes on Valentine's Day. Make that Anti-Valentine's Day, actually: The crashing chords and sharp cocktails are a cool contrast to the restaurant's Valentine's Day dinner earlier in the night. The Booze Riot cocktail (Copper Fox Rye, Averna and sherry) might even inspire some moshing on Laurel Avenue.
Saturday beginning at 10 p.m. Republic, 6939 Laurel Ave., Takoma Park. 301-270-3000. www.republictakoma.com. Free.
Bar Pilar's party for bitter, offal people
Bar Pilar has become well-known for its clever and bitter Anti-Valentine's Day cocktails, and this year is no exception. It's tough to know what to order first : "No One Will Ever Love You," with rye whiskey, prickly pear, Cocchi Americano and lemon, or "Love is Like a Bottle of Gin," which is a shot of gin with a bitter amaro chaser. (Both drinks take their titles from songs on the Magnetic Fields' "69 Love Songs.")
Pair your beverages with the night's offal-focused menu, which includes smoked head cheese with pickled quail egg and fried chicken skins, and chicken-fried chicken livers with buttered grits and black pepper cream gravy.
Saturday beginning at 5 p.m. Bar Pilar, 1833 14th St. NW. 202-265-1751. www.barpilar.com. Free.
Time to shred
We all have one ex that we've never really forgotten. Sure, the breakup was bad, and we say we've moved on, but we still have that one picture hanging out in an album somewhere. You know what? It's time to let go. Bring the photo to Satellite Room on Valentine's Day, where the staff will have a shredding machine at the bar. Destroy that picture of yourself with Mr. or Miss Wrong and you'll get a free cup of boozy Tainted Love Punch, plus food and drink specials all night.
Saturday at Satellite Room, 2047 Ninth St. NW. 202-506-2496. www.satellitedc.com. Free.
Sour beers for a sour day
"Embrace your inner sour" is the theme at City Tap House's Anti-Valentine's Day Beer Dinner. Four courses are paired with four unconventional ales from Maine's Allagash brewery, including crispy berkshine pork belly with fuji apples, farm egg and lambic sauce served alongside the funky, juicy Farm to Face, a pale ale made with peaches and two types of lactic acid bacteria. Dessert is a dark chocolate tart alongside Nancy, a sour red ale fermented with cherries.
Saturday from 6 to 10 p.m. City Tap House, 901 Ninth St. NW. 202-733-5333. www.citytaphousedc.com. $75.
Because 'Cupid is Stupid'
Town Tavern's annual "celebration" of Valentine's Day starts with the "It's Not Me - It's You" open-bar happy hour from 8 to 10 p.m., and keeps going with $5 Bacardi shooters and $3 domestic beers until midnight. No wonder the night is popular with groups of singles.
Saturday beginning at 8 p.m. Town Tavern, 2323 18th St. NW. 202-387-8696. www.towntaverndc.com. Optional open bar $10.