Feel the Local Love This Valentine’s Day

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Valentine’s Day is Wednesday, February 14, and for both couples and singles, the disarming questions are where to go and what to buy?

Well, The Rockaway Times wanted to make love day as painless as possible, so here’s an informal guide.

Ladies — Looking for a spectacular outfit that will have all eyes glued to you? Forget crossing the bridge or looking online. The peninsula has some spectacular boutiques that will guarantee you a fabulous look.

According to Lana’s Loft, with botanical prints hot this season, everything’s coming up roses! Stop in and grab an outfit, not only fit for Valentine’s Day, but any date or singles’ night out. Stop in and feel Lana’s Love at 114-04 Beach Channel Drive.

If you are looking for more options and to add a little swag to your style, head up to Beach 129th Street. End of the A (437 Beach 129th Street) offers up that authentic Rockaway-wintery/beachy look that you won’t be able to find anywhere else. And if you want to want to rock a more avant-garde look, check out Polly & Esther Boutique (418 Beach 129th Street). Their prices are fair, especially considering that huge shopping bag you’ll be sneaking home with.

Need to pick up a quick gift for your loved one? Rockaway has plenty of local gift shop options like Blue Bungalow, Gift is Love, Lola Star and more, but there will also be some markets featuring homemade goods and gifts this weekend. On Sunday, February 11, head to Rockaway Brewing Co. on Beach 72nd Street from noon until 5 p.m. for the Rockaway Maker’s Market and head up to the Riis Park Beach Bazaar from noon until 7 p.m. for the Valentine’s Market featuring local vendors.

If you want something sweet for your sweetie, stop by Cuisine by Claudette, Fat Cardinal Bakery, the Rockaway Beach Bakery or Ciro’s Bakery for some special Valentine’s Day baked goods.

Now for the ultimate dining experience. Rockaway rocks a plethora of dining options. Nothing says romance like a breezy night on the bay. Kennedy’s in Breezy Point will be hosting a romantic candlelight dinner with a special dinner menu and chef specials for two, plus live music by Pamela on Valentine’s Day. Call 718-945-0202 for reservations.

The Breezy Point BayHouse will offer a special Valentine’s Day dinner menu complete with shellfish like oysters, lobster, shrimp and mussels, prime cuts of select meat, plus a special dessert. Call 347-926-4926 for reservations.

How about a romantic dinner at Bungalow Bar (377 Beach 92nd Street)? With a beautiful view of the bay, and dimmed lights, you’ll absorb some serious Rockaway love. Note that Bungalow will have an extra special dining selection of food and drinks for your memorable night with your main squeeze or your BFFs. However, note, reservations are recommended. Call 718-945-2100.

Just next door, Thai Rock (375 Beach 92nd Street), also has an unforgettable view of the Bay, and a dining area featuring cozy couches where you can toast to love, while dining on exotic and tantalizingly sumptuous Thai food. This house gets packed, so call 718-945-5111 to make a reservation. Recommendation: The lounge couches are cozy, so try to grab one!

On Rockaway Beach Boulevard’s Restaurant Row, there are host of multi-cultural options. Ever tried Uzbekian cuisine? Uma’s (92-07 Rockaway Beach Blvd.) is the ultimate, offering Central Asian plates, cocktails & live music in stylish, brick digs. This is a popular Rockaway spot, so make your reservations now! 718-318-9100.

Just looking for a drink and delightful bites in a low-key speak-easy setting? The Rock NYC wine bar (92-03 Rockaway Beach Blvd) is back open for the season and Sayra’s Wine Bar (91-11 Rockaway Beach Blvd) is another cozy choice.

Looking to be transported out of Rockaway into Peru? You must eat at La Cabaña Peruana (91-17 Rockaway Beach Blvd). With the vibrancy of the colors and aromas in this eating spot, you may forget it’s Valentine’s Day. Forget your date, focus on the food.

And of course, with Whit’s End (97-02 Rockaway Beach Blvd) back on RBB, with an amazing dining area complimented with chandeliers and Whit’s ever-addictive food and entertaining service, this is a no-brainer. Who could resist steak and langoustine at a pre-fixe price (4 courses/ $165 per couple). Note that seating is available between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m., and reservations are required (718-945-4100). Or if according to Whit, you want to dine at home or “get a f**kin room,” delivery is available.

Of course, Belle Harbor Steak House (268 Beach 116th Street) offers hearty food for a tasty Valentine's choice.  And Thai Kitchen by the Sea (67-20 Rockaway Beach Blvd) is another heartwarming option.

There are also some non-traditional, but super fun ways to celebrate over the next few days. If you want to show your loved one how much you care through song, head to the VFW Post 260 in Broad Channel (705 Shad Creek Road) for some Valentine’s Day Karaoke. For $15, you get light fare, coffee and dessert, plus plenty of time to croon your favorite love tunes. There will also be raffles and a 50/50. Proceeds benefit the VFW.

Want to run through town, declaring your love for that special someone? Or perhaps you just want to burn a few calories before that Valentine’s Day weekend meal. The V-Day Run and Brunch is Saturday, February 17. Kick off the day with a 5K on the boardwalk, starting at 10 a.m. Number pick-up and race-day registration takes place at the Community House starting at 8 a.m. After the run, head back to the Community House for a brunch that's included for runners. It’s $50 per person or $90 for two for the 5-mile race and $65 per person or $100 for two, if you want to challenge yourself with the half marathon instead. Visit rockapulcorun.com to pre-register or for more info.

So, start planning to rock your Valentine’s right here in Rockaway. The Rockaway Times has given you the guide, let us know your experience.

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