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The good, the bad, and the unromantic: Where NOT to spend Valentine's Day in Downtown

By Hayley Fox
Published: Monday, February 13, 2012, at 05:15PM
Flickr via Texas.713

Downtown L.A. is full of romantic restaurants, bars and views; the following list does not include those places.

The city is full of romantic possibilities -- skyscraper views, historic buildings, charming urban parks -- but we won't be talking about any of these places.

In an effort to help maximize your red-hearted success, here are some unromantic places to steer clear of. Lovingly compiled by blogdowntown readers and writers, this is the definitive list of DTLA's non woo-worthy locations to avoid this Valentine's Day.

1. The Original Pantry: Although a controversial pick for this list, The Pantry's old-timey, steakhouse charm was decided to be the opposite of romantic. Slabs of sourdough toast are a real crowd-pleaser but the atmosphere is often hectic and your dinner will feel rushed. There will most likely be a line spilling onto Figueroa while you wait to get in, and when you leave you'll take with you (in your hair, on your clothes, etc) the smell of thick griddle butter. Good for a late night snack but maybe not for Valentine's Day.

2. The King Eddy Saloon: Sandwiched in between Skid Row and upscale lofts, this venue often has a parade of Downtown characters wandering through. If your significant other is a Bukowski fan, you can talk about how the L.A. writer/poet used to brainstorm at this very bar and wax nostalgic about the local history soaked into every bar stool.

However, it lacks frou-frou cocktails and fancy glassware. Your date better be comfortable drinking beer from a can and eating a tuna sandwich, peanuts or chicken nuggets. A dive bar truly worthy of a visit, but maybe not on Feb.14.

3. Hooters: Does this really need an explanation? This brightly lit all-American sports bar chain may be an easier place to find a date than to bring one. Fine for happy hour or post-Staples Center game, your valentine may not be quite as in love with the array of smiling, tan women in tight t-shirts.

4. Lucky Strike Bowling Lanes: If you're going to bowl for V-Day, go to an old-school bowling alley. Drinks will be cheaper, food will be greasier and you can wear whatever you want. Lucky Strike has a strict dress code that includes no plain white t-shirts, no chains and no athletic wear or sports jerseys (which is funny considering their proximity to Staples Center.)

5. The ESPN Zone: No matter how big of a Lakers fan your date is, this sports bar/restaurant may force you to shout, not whisper, those sweet nothings. Any restaurant that has pizza, air hockey and 150 large-screen TVs is difficult to disparage, but it won't work for Valentine's Day. Plus, if your date is a flop, this may be the perfect spot for a rebound.

This list is an ongoing effort. If you have any questions, complaints or suggestions please put them in the comments section!

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