The biggest problem with a parental “date night” is that once you decide not to talk about the kids or whose turn it is to empty the diaper pail, you often discover your first uncomfortable silence as a couple. The key? Choose dates with activities, not just a meal. Also, don’t be surprised if you can’t find a sitter for February 14. Don’t panic, just be flexible and choose another date, even a week earlier or later. Here are some great options.
Casa Loma Ballroom
3354 Iowa Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63118
For a classic evening out, give Casa Loma a try. The Ballroom has been hosting loving couples in the Lou for over 85 years, with big bands, a giant floating wooden dance floor and a nice selection of drinks and snacks. Don’t know how to dance? Not a problem. Casa Loma offers free beginner lessons. On Friday nights, learn waltz, fox trot, tango, Latin and swing steps. On Saturdays, focus on swing dance. Then rock the night away on the big open dance floor to live music alongside couples who’ve been coming here for decades.
Jazz At The Bistro
3536 Washington Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63103
This restaurant in the Grand Center neighborhood is probably the most intimate music venue in the city. The food is good, but the music is the real reason to come to Jazz at the Bistro (and it is possible to enjoy the show without ordering dinner, if you prefer). For Valentine’s weekend (Friday and Saturday nights), the Bistro has booked Erin Bode, an artist the BBC has called “…the most magnificent solo performer on this planet right now.” Call early for reservations, but if you must come on another night, rest assured that the talent at the Bistro is always first class.
Moolah Theater & Lounge
3821 Lindell Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63108
The fascinating Moolah Shrine building near Grand Center has been rehabbed as a full entertainment complex, and it’s the perfect spot for a date night. The leather couches in the front of the theater let couples stretch out or snuggle up. Both a full cocktail bar and old-fashioned candy counter are available. There’s a bowling alley downstairs, if you’d like to share a long evening. Choose a restaurant in the Grand Center area for dinner before the show.
Edge 5 Bistro Theaters
701 S. Belt West
Belleville, IL 62220
Less well known than the Moolah, the Edge theaters on the Illinois side of the river might be the best-kept secret in the area. The theaters are located at the back of the laser tag and bar/restaurant complex, but the Bistro theater, especially, is worth seeking out. No one under 21 is allowed in. The seats are leather recliners set together in pairs with a moveable armrest in between so you can cuddle. A bell calls a server, who will bring beer, wine and pub fare right to your seat during the movie. This theater is the ultimate luxury, yet tickets are priced at just $12.
Brunch And The Galleries At SLAM
St. Louis Art Museum
1 Fine Arts Drive
St. Louis, MO 63110
Valentine’s Day falls on a Friday this year, but if Sunday morning is an easier time to get away, the Art Museum has you covered. The Museum’s new Panorama Restaurant serves up a very popular Sunday brunch from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Unlike the old Museum restaurant, there is no buffet, but the menu includes items like eggs benedict and an autumn-harvest-flavored French toast. The food is made with fresh and locally sourced ingredients, and the setting is lovely. Arrive early, stroll the galleries hand in hand and make a reservation for a later brunch so you’ll have the art to discuss while you eat. Consider having your sitter bring the kids to meet you for the Museum’s free Family Program at 2:30 p.m., which includes a family tour of the gallery and a take-home art project.
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Lauren Haas was the founder and publisher of The St. Louis Area Family Gazette magazine, and editor-in-chief of Marketplace Magazine. Now, Lauren is a full-time freelance writer who travels the world, using St. Louis as her base. Contact her at Lauren@LaurenHaas.com