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The capital is hotting up
Brand new underwear? Check. Lip gloss? Check. Five current-affairs subjects memorised for sparkling conversation? Check, check, check. Now all you need is dazzling ideas this Valentine’s Day.
Maybe bottomless bao at The Lucky Club or dinner with a world-class view? Or maybe a movie with a cocktail and nibbles at Everyman. Staying in? Crafty couples can drink margarita and make clay pots! Or get an Ottolenghi hamper delivered.
Not cutting it? There’s an overnight stay at a cool hotel with champagne and hi-jinks. Or maybe you just want to show your dog the love you feel. We’re not here to judge…
Dutch courage (Picture: James McDonald)
Nobody – well, nobody we know – can resist a glamorous drink, especially on Valentine’s Day, or around Valentine’s Day (we’re not limiting ourselves to dates in a calendar).
And do we have some suggestions for you? First up is the sexy little Swift right on Old Compton Street where some of the most excellent cocktails in town are served in the buzzy upstairs or the speakeasy-style downstairs.
Then there’s the superstar Lyaness on the Southbank (you know the Sea Containers Hotel?) where the flawless cocktails are served with a view of the river thrown in.
And finally, if you really want to go for it, Hacha, Brixton’s duplex tequila/agave bar, where the twists on the Margarita will dazzle.
Pull an overnighter
So you say you really want to make Valentine’s Day count this year. But like really count. You’re out to impress.
Well, how about a night at the super-cool Standard hotel in King’s Cross (and believe us, there’s nothing standard about it), where they have come up with a spicy room package that includes a bottle of Veuve Clicquot to get the ball rolling, an in-room couples card game called Let’s Drink to That (the mind boggles!) and, when you’re well in the mood, there’s a handy bottle of The Standard’s own massage oil for you to finish the job.
And take your time: you can also get a late breakfast in bed next day and a late check-out.
From February 9-16, 10 Argyle Street, WC1
Dine out with a top view
Reach for the stars
It’s not like you’re going to need a view on your Valentine’s date as they’ll clearly be gazing into your eyes (or down the front of your shirt… well, you didn’t undo those three buttons for nothing, presumably) but if you did want a vista, how about Searcy’s at the Gherkin?
Up top at Helix restaurant they have great views, a special menu and, if you’re more of a daytime lover, a Moët champagne afternoon tea.
Alternatively, you could head to Fenchurch Restaurant in the Sky Garden for a five-course lunch or seven-course dinner with a glass of champagne thrown in (well, it is quite spendy) and the possibility of wine pairing and veggie options from February 12-14.
Love your pooch
Gone to the dogs (Picture: Giles Christopher)
If your Valentine is your dog then there’s nothing to be ashamed of. Well, nothing much. There’s even a Paw Perfect Dog Drag Brunch – which is a lot! – at The Happenstance in partnership with Furmily and Baby Grand Collective that you can take your four-legged paramour along to.
If you love him/her let him/her go into the specially created ball pit, get a snap of you young lovers in the photobooth and unleash the bottomless Pawsecco and doggie treats.
As for you, you’ll have to be satisfied with saucy drag, a welcome drink and a delicious brunch dish. If you treat your pooch this good, you can’t fail to get lucky with a lavish face lick.
February 12, 1-4pm, 10 Paternoster Square, EC4
Reel them in
Flicks and match
Where better to spend Valentine’s away from the restaurant crowds, tucked up in the dark, watching a movie with a free cocktail to get your juices flowing?
We can hardly think of a better way to celebrate. Especially if it’s an Everyman, a total upgrade on the cinema experience. Extra especially if it’s the brand new Everyman in Borough Yards.
And that complimentary cocktail doesn’t hurt any either especially as it comes with treats. You even get a surprise romantic leaving present!
Now all you need is a partner, a movie you both agree on and a date that starts after 6pm. Oh and a handy Everyman. But there are 35 of them.
You should be so lucky
Bao, they’re good
Get lucky at the gorgeous Lucky Club with their bottomless bao brunch – you know, those delicious bun things – that comes with a free aphrodisiac cocktail!
The cocktail has gin, lemon juice and a liqueur with ginseng and manuka honey (we can feel our inhibitions taking a dive just reading about it!) and you get it on your way in before you lay into an hour and a half of kimchi Bloody Marys, espresso martinis or bubbles with unlimited freshly steamed bao filled with chicken, tofu or fish.
The only problem is, if you find yourself getting amorous after that little lot, you won’t know if it’s the complimentary cocktail or the gallons of booze you’ve put away.
February 12, 56 Davies Street, W1
Nuts oh hazelnuts
I should coconut
If the thought of super dishy Israeli chef Yotam Ottolenghi of Ottolenghi and Nopi, cookbooks with recipes featuring hundreds of ingredients and off-the-telly fame doesn’t get you in the mood in itself, there is a special Ottolenghi Valentines Hamper to finish the job.
Perfect for anyone with a sweet tooth, this all-new idea will be packed to bursting with specially designed bakery treats from the man who is one of the most creative cooks in the business including debut bakes like sweet and crunchy coconut meringue brittle, PB&J rocky roads and moon rocks alongside salted caramel-coated roasted hazlenuts and almonds.
You’ll need a lie down (together) after that little lot, winky emoji.
Nationwide delivery from online
Love is a drug…
Medicinal purposes (Picture: Brian Dandridge)
Valentine’s doesn’t have to be sickly and sweet with maybe a drippy soundtrack, not if you book yourself a spot at Apothecary in Shoreditch, where they are not only opening especially for Valentine’s Day (Monday is usually their day off) but they’ve roped in DJ Miche to keep things vibey and cool.
Tuck into 12 Japanese-inspired Valentine’s sharing plates – teriyaki chicken, blackened salmon, grilled cauliflower with truffle sesame, prawn tempura – and a couple of specially crafted cocktails for £45 per person, supplemented with booze of your choice, including a range of Japanese whiskies. Delicious!
February 14, 36 Charlotte Road, EC2
Ride the wave (Picture: Giles Christopher / Media Wis)
You know how they say that seafood is an aphrodisiac? Well, why do you think we’re taking our date down to Fishworks to see if their limited-edition three-course sharing menu does the trick?
It features all-British seafood including an iced platter of 12 rock oysters or the whole Devon crab or even a classic frito misto, which is fried-up fish with fresh lime.
And that’s literally just for starters. Then it’s on to a grilled seafood platter with sea bass and sea bream alongside specially sautéed scallops or go for a pair of fresh lobsters with garlic butter.
Finish up with lemon tart or sticky chocolate brownies. If you don’t get your wicked way after that little lot, maybe he/she’s just not that into you.
February 13 and 14, venues in Marylebone, Covent Garden and Swallow Street
For crafty couples
You like it spicy at Valentine’s? You like it boozy and spicy? Yeah, we thought so. And that’s why we’re pointing you in the direction of a collaboration between Sculpd and Black Lines.
Black Lines will be looking after the inclusion of a bottle of Spicy Tommy’s Margarita while Sculpd will be on top of enough air-dry clay – the type you don’t have to put in a kiln… or even your toaster – and some chilli seeds so you can get plastered on Margaritas while you make pots, presumably as a couple, maybe even naked, to plant your chilli seeds in. Sounds like it could work.
Drag yourself along (Picture: Giles Christopher)
The drag quizzes at London’s original vegan pub, The Spread Eagle, are legendary. Legendary, we say. So if you’re after something a little less, erm, traditional this Valentine’s week, get on down for the Lonely Tarts Club, another fine instalment led by (and don’t think about this name too much) one Penny Tration.
Not so much a quiz as a series of tasks, some of them, yes, a little risqué, you can compete in a team with your beloved or – more safely – in a group of mates.
Oh and obviously you can fill up from the vegan menu of truly great food and get giddy on those cocktails. Now, what to wear?
Thursday February 17, 224 Homerton High Street, E8, email The Spread Eagle
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