If you’ve been together for a few years, then a date is an affirmation of your feelings and you need to go for broke. Five forks in a row and a head waiter should cut it, and dress up - remember the early days? If this is the first time you’ve ever met (virtual doesn’t count) then go for the buzz and if it’s noisy you can just lean in.
Do not go to your favourite pub, where everyone knows your name. Go somewhere new. It’s about marking out new terrain.
Going off piste (not literally of course, until you know your date actually likes snow), can be huge fun. It shows that you are adventurous and confident that your date is too, but as with everything, think it through. You may adore an escape room, but they aren’t everyone's idea of a fun night out so you may want to build up to that one.
Like everything in life, a bit of advance planning is the way forward. Don’t think you’re going to bag a table anywhere for Valentine’s if you leave it until 5pm on the 14th. If you go for an experience (YES !) think about where you might go afterwards - and book. It’s the little things that impress, and forward planning is definitely one. Then there are the don’ts.
Don’t leave your credit card at home. Don’t go with 'a cold', and whatever else you do - DO NOT SPEND THE ENTIRE EVENT LOOKING AT YOUR PHONE . Remember the eyes are the windows to your soul.
A walk, a talk, and some delicious wine make for an extremely pleasant evening. The East London Wine Walk, starts at 4.00 and finishes at around 7.00 by which time you will have found your way to three different venues (following the Indytute instructions, you will discover straight off who’s the most competent map reader). Stay on at the last stop for a delicious deli supper before buying a bottle to take home. In fact, giving the bottle to your date is a nice touch. They can choose ‘ your place or mine’ or ‘ thanks - I’ll save it’.
All pressure is off if you go for a date in the afternoon. Novel eh? Equally there is nothing quite like having a drink at around 3.30 alongside sharing some very tasty Afternoon Cheese for Two. Oddly decadent, and unexpected. Add a floating barge into the equation - and my goodness you’re nearly married.
This may be one for date 9, as it does require changing into your swimmers and being hit with oak leaves. It’s also a bit hot, hot, hot - you are in a banya where heat reaches dizzying heights. Don’t go if hair of any kind is an issue. Do go if you like to hydrate your body with vodka and appreciate alternative spa experiences. Great for the heart……hopeless for sex. You will be exhausted and in need of a lie down.
Ahhhh - say it with flowers. An exclusive after hours experience in Kew Gardens taking in the displays of Orchids. This is a Costa Rican night in a tropical paradise. Sample cocktails and street food, and listen to a bit of salsa. Bone up a bit before you go. ‘Oh look over there - a Guarianthe Skinneri’. A bit of knowledge is bound to impress
Snooping around a museum after hours is the best, and the Natural History Museum is taking this to a new level. Listen to a harpist by the Stegosaurus and with a cocktail in hand learn about the courtship and copulation rituals of the exhibits. There’s an animal encounter too and you can also learn to salsa, although not at the same time.
If you’re really loved up, maybe you don’t want to leave the house. Feed each other dim sum, which will arrive boxed and ready to rock to the door. You do have to steam it, but they say cooking is like sex (films and books have been dedicated to the subject). 3 cocktails are included to pair with the fluffy char sui baos - whisper that in someone’s ear as you tickle their lobes with a chopstick. Get your dim sum date night here.
Now normally, we wouldn’t bother suggesting the cinema for a first date, but this ones a great night out. TT Liquor are well known for all things cocktail related, and the bar has twinkling atmos in spades. They also boast a 52 seater cinema. Sit and sip a classic cocktail while watching a Hollywood classic. Retire to the bar for the rest of the evening.
And while we think of it, the all new singing and dancing Everyman in the Kings Road is also a proper night out. Snuggle up on your own personal sofa, complete with scatter cushions and order pizza on wood boards, sharing plates, cocktails or dip it to the wine list. There’s waiter service from and to your seat. Like being at home but with added benefits.