Valentine's Day in a Tacoma pub or your car

By Jackie Fender on February 7, 2014

Ah, Valentine's Day. Love is in the air. But if you're a little like me and think love smells like the Tacoma Aroma and have zero desire to sit among the lovey-dovey newlyweds who stare longingly into each other's eyes while dining out on Valentine's Day, it can be a hassle - and an awkward, uncomfortable hassle for the less romantic types. Let's face it, just because you're less ooey-gooey about your show of affection doesn't mean you want to hole yourself up for the day. We enjoy a good meal out with the missus or mister, too. In light of that, here's a list for the low-maintenance types to grab a nibble on V-Day.

Pub Grub

There are some exquisite local hot spots that don't require a jacket and tie or heels and black dress combo to dine: pubs, bar and grills, you know the type. No fuss, no frills - just good eatin'. Below are a few of my picks.

Dirty Oscars Annex falls into the "neighborhood bar: category: it's comfy, casual and a bit of a mad house when it comes to the late night crowd. However, the gastropub-style cuisine is gourmet quality. It's fun, inventive and worthy of its spotlight on Diners, Drive Ins and Dives. Plus, you can pair the fancy eatin' with a tallboy, moonshine flight or glass of wine.

Nothing about The Red Hot speaks the language of love, but gourmet dogs and craft brews make this a great go-to on Valentine's Day. Please note, I did not include Red Hot for the sexual innuendo potential, you know, because there's wieners involved, but if your date has a sense of humor, this could go the distance.

208 Garfield is in the Pacific Lutheran University bookstore, which may scream smoldering to a select group of bookworms. But really, it's more casual than anything, with great shareable plates and gastropub fare in a café-type environment. 208 serves up lots of local vino varietals as well, which is always a bonus on Valentine's Day - even for the less romantic.

Top of Tacoma Bar and Cafe is another neighborhood joint the locals love. Its menu features loads of locally sourced ingredients and options for vegans and vegetarians. It's no fuss fun and fabulously delicious.

Located in Hilltop, Peterson Brothers 1111 has a quirky dive-bar charm and amazingly tasty sandwiches. The service is aces and unpretentious. Throw on your chucks and jeans and have a bite paired with a bourbon or brew in an intimate but casual dining space.

Take Out

Don't feel like braving the crowds and want to eat at the homestead without the mess of cooking? Or maybe you want to grab a bite, and then warm yourself with a stroll at Wright Park or the like. Well, then take out is the solution.

If you enjoy a solid, deli-style sandwich, MSM Deli is the natural go to. Pop into this convenience store-styled deli, grab a couple of sammies, some chips and drinks to go along with it, and head to wherever your heart desires to nosh.

Tatanka Take Out serves up bison-based cuisine good to go mobile with burritos, burgers and even bison on a stick. Plus, it's a hop away from Point Defiance Park and the Ruston Way waterfront for those who want to add just a whisper of romance with a view.

Frisko Freeze in Tacoma and Pick Quick Drive In in Fife both serve up burgers, fries and shakes to go. It's classic, greasy fingered dining for those not afraid to get a little messy in front of their date.

Shake, Shake, Shake is another burger, fry and shake joint that will surely please those looking for delectable nibbles on Valentine's Day. Take it to go, or dine in the über nifty retro restaurant (unlike the two listed above).

And there you have it - a few of my favorite go tos for phenomenal nibbles for the less romantic. Wallet friendly, playful and no reservations required.