What NOT to do for Valentine's Day in Atlanta

A new take on the old go-to standards

Many people celebrated the big day at the popular eatery.

Every year it’s the same thing…Russell Stover chocolates, a dozen red roses and a fixed price meal in the city.

Is it Valentine’s Day or Groundhog Day? Don’t do it again; live adventurously this year.

Here’s what NOT to do this Valentine’s Day, paired with ideas for a unique and memorable celebration.

1. SKIP a prix fixe meal at a fancy restaurant. Even with reservations, the wait will be agonizing.  Who enjoys a long wait in a suit and tie, or heels, only to be accosted by an over-priced meal that doesn't live up to the restaurant's typical standards? Vow to return to that new culinary landmark, but visit after the holiday when the focus is back on the food, and not on churning a large volume of customers through the door in one night.

INSTEAD, go casual with a focus on meaningful conversation. Lose the suit or heels, and head over to Quoc Huong Banh Mi Fast Food for the best Vietnamese sandwich money can buy. You won't sacrifice on flavor, and the cozy atmosphere will ensure you truly connect with your sweetheart. Or try VDay at a Waffle House. Nope, I'm not kidding. Meals include white tablecloths, candle light, and a lemon-lime bubbly in a champagne glass. Reservations are required; participating locations only. If you need to impress, opt for a personally prepared meal in your own home, such as an elegant personal dining spread from

Amy Koran Patricio with Atlanta Personal Chef Service. Your designated driver problem is resolved.

2. SKIP Shakespeare's romantic tragedy. Yes, "Romeo and Juliette" is a beautiful love story. It's also cliché and uncomfortable on a first date. A performance leaves no opportunity to bond with your valentine or parlay your own romantic encounter. One final note – spoiler alert – they both die in the end. Let's finish the evening with something more optimistic.

INSTEAD, get active and focus on connection. If the ballet is a necessity, then try unlimited barre classes at barre3 in Druid Hills. Looking for less…exposure? Head to Blairsville for a romantic hike up Blood Mountain. A bottle of bubbly at the top commemorates the occasion. If the cold is too much for you, a chef's class at Cook's Warehouse is bound to warm your heart.

3. SKIP the heart-shaped box of chocolates. Skip the yellow box, too. They've probably been on the back shelf of the grocery store since last year, and they taste like wax anyway.  Inevitably, each chocolate square is filled with a jelly, nougat or some other concoction designed to ensure the box is never fully eaten.

INSTEAD, choose chocolate, but choose it wisely. Indulge in a wine and chocolate tasting at  The Synposium the Saturday prior to Valentine's Day.

Enjoy wines paired with five decadent chocolate confections from A Cacao Affair. Owner Karl Vivier devises delicious and unusual combinations using only Swiss chocolate with different flavor infusions. The price is even reasonable, $15 in advance and $20 at the door.

Explore»RELATED: 5 local Atlanta chocolatiers

4. SKIP the bottle of after-dinner wine. A delicious after-dinner bottle of Chianti or Malbec cleanses the palette, and settles a large meal.  Once again, though, it's typical and lacks panache. Call for the check after dinner this year, and start a new tradition.

INSTEAD, opt for local and craft libations. The Valentine's Day Beer Dinner at Venkman's for an extra extra special night of craft beer from Creatures Comfort and an delectable dinner from Venkman's on Valentine's.

Venkman's Executive Chef, Nick Melvin, will be serving a romantic 5 course meal. Each course will be paired with a beer from Creature Comforts. You must buy a ticket in advance to get in on this special deal.

Do you have additional ideas for a unique and memorable Valentine’s Day?

Share below and find more Atlanta events at events.accessatlanta.com .

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