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No date for Valentine's? You're invited to Bitter Singles Night at Next Door by Josie

No date for Valentine’s Day? Not a whiff of a chance? EHarmony just isn't working? You’ve ditched him or her, or vice versa? Or, there never was anyone to ditch?

And yet, you don’t want to spend Valentine's Day at home. It’s Friday night, for God's sake, and every restaurant you can name is booked solid with those merry lovestruck deuces.

One restaurateur has your back this Valentine’s Day. Josie LeBalch is rolling out the red carpet for cozy twosomes on V-Day at her Josie Restaurant in Santa Monica. But at the more casual Next Door by Josie, she’s going with a Bitter Singles celebration for the third year in a row.

She came up with the idea one year when Valentine’s Day was about to roll around and she wondered, “What about the people who don’t have a date or don’t want to be forced into a prix fixe menu—the bitter people? What about having a Bitter Singles night?”

She found some cocktail napkins decorated with cupid flat on his face with an arrow stuck in his back. Perfect for drinks. In keeping with the bitter theme, she puts up black balloons instead of red ones.

“Bitter Singles night is everything that V-day is not,” says LeBalch. You can have whatever you want. No reservations are needed. Just come on by.

The cocktail menu will be built around that theme. Devised by manager David Osenbach, this year's lineup includes “Double Timer” (vodka, pomegranate, lemon, and a splash of soda), and “Hell Hath No Fury” (cinnamon-infused tequila, lime, jalapeño).

The regular menu of small snacks, bigger snacks and some larger entrees is available that night for the crowd of locals and bitter and not-so-bitter singles.

LeBalch is even toying with the idea of making fortune cookies for Valentine’s Day. She thought it would be fun to have them with bitter fortunes for Next Door by Josie, but worried that the cookies—and the fortunes—might get mixed up. What if someone from the romantic Josie’s Restaurant side got one of the bitter fortunes?

Not a pretty picture.

Next Door by Josie, 2420 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, (310) 581-4201.

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Twitter.com/sirenevirbila

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
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