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Thursday, January 31, 2008

For Valentine's Day, Beware the AOL CityGuide

Posted By on Thu, Jan 31, 2008 at 2:32 PM

With two weeks to go until Valentine’s Day, AOL CityGuide recently issued annual its list of recommended spots for Cleveland singles and couples looking to spend February 14 out of the house. It’s a really useful guide – if you want to spend a romantic evening frolicking among the always gentlemanly crowd on West Sixth, ending the night at a club that hasn’t been open for weeks. ... To be fair, the site’s picks are based on its “City’s Best” program, in which online users vote for their favorite places to party. For “Best Date Spot,” the readers picked D’Vine (836 West Saint Clair Avenue; 216-241-8463), the Warehouse District’s dim-lit wine bar. Not a bad choice. But they also single out the Velvet Dog (1280 West 6th Street; 216-664-1116) – a pick even the site’s editor, James Fletcher, seems unsure of: “A hip, upscale lounge, or nothin’ but a hound dog?” he writes. If you’re flying solo on Valentine’s Day, some Velvet Dog might be exactly what you need. But if you take a date there, you might consider hitting the ATM on the way. You’ll need cash for the cab fare home. In the “Best Singles Scene” category, readers do OK, but they can’t tear themselves away from the Warehouse District. The top vote-grabbers include Bar Flyy (1266 West 6th Street; 216-522-7200), Liquid/Fusion (1212 West 6th Street; 216-479-7717), and their neighbor, Dive (1214 West 6th Street; 216-621-7827) – all good picks, but a little narrowly focused geographically. Oddly, the site also gives a collective high-five to Spy Bar (1261 West 6th Street, 216-621-7907), despite the fact that it’s closed for renovation, and may never reopen if the city has its way. If the Warehouse District’s not your idea of a romantic evening, here are some other spots that might lend themselves to cozying up to a sweetie new or old: Budapest Blonde (6901 Rockside Road in Independence; 216-328-8780). Owners Ilona Simon and Leonard DiCosimo have assembled an impressive menu of martinis and gourmet apps, perfect for drunken public snuggling. Pier W (12700 Lake Avenue in Lakewood; 216-228-2250). Lots of wine and a nighttime view of Lake Erie enhances even the rustiest game. Paladar Latin Kitchen & Rum Bar (28601 Chagrin Boulevard in Woodmere; 216-896-9020). Its spicy Nuevo Latino cuisine and an awesome array of imported rums and tequilas can heat up the romance department. -- Cris Glaser For more options, check out Scene’s online restaurant guide and club directory.

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