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With the countdown to Valentine’s Day in full swing, here are a few ideas to help you get ready for the 14th.

Ironically sequestered in the coldest stretch of winter, ValentineâÄôs Day is a bittersweet time. It lacks the delectable candy and springtime backdrop of Easter, and for the lonely or single, offers little aside from anguish, disappointment and candy hearts shaped from bone marrow and toothpaste. Yet with the year 2009 comes the already borderline clichéd theme of âÄúchange,âÄù and A&E has decided to adopt this slogan and use it as a call to arms. Stop weeping naked at your breakfast nook! Set down that Hot Pocket and carton of buttermilk, you can finish them later, dammit! Brush your teeth, stuff the Snuggie in the closet and ask someone out. With the aid of this rigorous, three-night, multi-step date plan, you may just trick yourselves into liking each other. Date No. 1, Sunday 11 a.m.: Brunch HellâÄôs Kitchen 80 S. 9th St. Price: Semi-expensive With strong coffee, stronger Bloody Marys and a red-lit basement atmosphere thatâÄôs sympathetic to the hungover, HellâÄôs Kitchen is the perfect place for Sunday brunch. Live gospel music, Ralph Steadman prints sprayed across the wall and a formidable menu grounded in eclectic simplicity, HellâÄôs Kitchen will be sure to take the edge off of any fierce morning, even if it is a first date. 1:30 p.m.: Ice Skating The Minneapolis Depot 225 Third Ave. S. Price: $8 Transformed from the gutted-out remains of an antique train shed, The Depot rink is esteemed as one of the best places to ice skate in America. Heated and well-maintained, the Depot is aesthetically endowed with floor-to-ceiling sun-drenched glass walls and a brilliant view of the city. This makes it an easy choice as a fun and cheap date, and they even sell hot chocolate. 4 p.m.: Cocktail hour NyeâÄôs Polonaise Room 112 Hennepin Ave. E. Price: semi-expensive Renowned by âÄúEsquireâÄù magazine as the best bar in America, NyeâÄôs Polonaise is a step back in time. Slide into a dimly lit vinyl booth, order a couple of Manhattans and warm up with some Polish pierogies. The classy, unassuming atmosphere and polished piano soundtrack of this gem of a corner bar will surely serve as an adequate backdrop to the third act of the afternoon. Date No. 2, Thursday Good dates on Thursday are like opening bands that end up being better than the headliner. This is because Thursday is the best day of the week. It holds the ecstatic excitement and apprehension of knowing that Friday stands erect at the end of the tunnel, yet it escapes the predisposed associations that the idea of âÄúthe weekendâÄù brings. 5 p.m.: Happy Hour Bar Lurcat 1624 Harmon Place Located in the beautiful Fawkes building in Loring Park , Bar LurcatâÄôs aura is difficult not to be swept up in. Hip vogue design, chandeliers and 9,000 square feet of space make this bar a hefty ally for any occasion. With a happy hour that will take the sting out of the tab and an atmosphere that is classy without seeming gentrified or desperate, Lurcat is the perfect prerequisite to an evening out. 7 p.m.: MIA Date Night Minneapolis Institute of Arts 2400 Third Ave. S. On Thursday night, for the sake of love and art, The MIA stays open until 9 p.m. ItâÄôs easy to get lost while shuffling through the encyclopedic 5,000-year timeline present in this museum. The estimated 80,000 objects on display are sure to give anyone fodder for conversation. 9:30 p.m.: Karaoke U Otter Stop Inn 617 Central Ave. N.E. Price: Cheap Unanimously understood as the home of the best karaoke in Minneapolis, the U-Otter persists in being one of the most enjoyable places to go out in the Twin Cities. Whether you choose to sing or simply decide to watch, the eclectic âÄúgrandpaâÄôs cabinâÄù décor and townie vibe make this dive bar a good time no matter what. Try to arrive before midnight, as it tends to heat up quickly. Date No. 3 Saturday 8 p.m.: Dinner Café Barbette 1600 W. Lake St. Price: expensive Café Barbette may be hard on the wallet but you pay for what you get: an intimate French bistro atmosphere, organic and local ingredients, free range poultry, grass-fed beef and really good wine. This shadowy brasserie serves up good food, great music and most importantly, a balanced fusion between old and new, Minneapolitan and Française. 10 p.m.: Drinks Azia Restaurant 2550 Nicollet Ave. Price: Happy Hour The Caterpillar lounge at Azia deserves an as yet unmade and unimagined medal for their late-night happy hour. Live music accompanied by furnishings perfect for clandestine rendezvous, along with beautiful Kung-fu films streaming in the background, make Azia perfect as an in-between bar as well as a main event. 12 a.m.: Too Much Love First Avenue Danceteria 701 First Ave. N. Price: $1 with student ID Saturday NightâÄôs popular dance party at First Ave., âÄúToo Much Love,âÄù may be irritating to many rockers looking to see a concert finish later than 11 p.m., but for those who need to dance, itâÄôs an easy choice. If youâÄôre still rearing to go, you can even try to hop on the train to the elusive âÄúToo Much LoveâÄù after party, which often blazes a path into the early morning. Just watch for the drunken blurred mass of gold tights and V-neck tees exiting the danceteria at closing time. ValentineâÄôs Day 7:00 p.m.: Drinks La Belle Vie 510 Groveland Ave. Price: Expensive This bar represents how we all picture Hemmingway drinking: holed up with cognac and genius in some place that oozes swank and inspiration. To drink at La Belle Vie is to experience a tinge of GatsbyâÄôs gold, gimlets, crystal and chairs. You may only have the budget for one cocktail, but thatâÄôs all youâÄôll need. WHO: Antony and the Johnsons WHERE: Pantages Theatre WHEN: 8 p.m. TICKETS: $31 Whether you love or hate the melancholy warble of frontman Antony Hegarty , the Antony and the Johnsons show persists to be the most starkly interesting thing planned for ValentineâÄôs Day. As a result, tickets may sell out fast. Sound awful? 89.3 is stocked to play a four-hour set list of the best love songs of all time beginning at 7 p.m., so you and your date can swoon-out in private.