18 Alternative Ideas for Valentine's Day

Forget the box of Black Magic, the candlelit dinner and the PDA - do something a bit different this Valentine's Day instead...

By Ben Brown | Last updated 8 February 2019

Share this story

Lock ’em up at Breakout Manchester
Is there a better way to tell someone you love them than bungling them into a room and locking the door so they definitely can’t ever escape from you? I know some mates who have kept this up their whole lives – often to surprisingly impressive results. Well, you can do the same this Valentines and give Breakout Manchester a try – it’ll certainly also give you the chance to test out just how good of a team you and your significant other are.

Book Now

Breakout High Street: 36 High Street, Manchester, M4 1QB
0161 839 8012


Valentine’s Love Quiz at The Bay Horse Tavern
Thursday 14th February
If you’re anything like me, one of your favourite things to do is to show off to potential lovers that you know an extortionate amount of pointless facts and knowledge. I find it really impresses a girl when you can tell them every Bond actor and each film that they appear in, certainly more than me actually trying to use my looks to get anywhere. So if you’re a champion of knowledge, I’ll be hosting the Valentine’s quiz at The Bay Horse on Valentine’s Day – and the grand prize is a night’s stay at Hotel Indigo (and Bottomless Brunch at the Bay Horse). See you there.

The Bay Horse Tavern, 35-37 Thomas St, Manchester M4 1NA


50% off food and £10 bottles of wine at Eat New York + Chorlton Green
If anyone is reading this and wants to try and impress me this Valentine’s Day (highly unlikely) – well this is your shout. You’ll be able to take advantage of a massive 50% off food at Eat New York (and Chorlton Green) this Valentines, as well as tuck into bottles of wine for only a tenner. That means that for about £40 you can both eat some of the best bagels in the world and about 3 bottles of wine. What a night!

Book A Table


Bittersweet – After Hours at Manchester Museum
Thursday 14th February
Valentine’s Day will give you the opportunity to pop down to the Manchester Museum after hours and check out ‘Bittersweet’ – an exploration into the history, traditions and culture behind our love of food. Volunteers will be on hand to let you get your hands on some aphrodisiacs from throughout history, as well as giving people the chance to handle some of the objects from the Museum collection. On top of this there’ll be a bar, sugar-focused workshops, rum punch and loads more – oh and it’s free.

More Info


The Valentine’s Bucket at Cane & Grain
Forgo the candles and the sliver service this Valentines with Cane & Grain’s brilliant Valentine’s bucket – a massive sharer of meat, cheese and carbs that is more than enough for 4 hungry people. Who those 4 people are I don’t know – perhaps you’re a swinger, or you are both wife-swapping or you’re just single and you want to bring some mates? Whatever your situation – ribs will make it better.

Cane & Grain, 49 -51 Thomas Street, Manchester M4 1NA


Whistle While U Twerk: A Disney + RnB disco at Joshua Brooks
Friday 15th February
If ever there was a more unexpected combination – it would probably be Disney and RnB. There has yet to be a Disney film featuring the music of Ashanti, Aaliyah and Nicki Minaj and I seriously doubt there ever will be one to be fair – sorry to disappoint you! But instead you can head on down to Joshua Brooks on the 15th Feb and get ready to dance to the best of Disney songs, right alongside the best RnB tunes known to man.

Buy Tickets


5 Cocktail Flight at Science & Industry
Some of my most romantic moments in life have come when I’ve been absolutely hammered. There was that one time that I bought a girlfriend of 3 years a DOUBLE vodka Red Bull for example. That’s certainly up there, as well as when I once made a gravy, broccoli and Yorkshire pudding sandwich for one lucky girl after a night out in 42’s. You too can get hammered this Valentines, (as well as taste some fantastic cocktails) at Science & Industry who are putting on a 5 cocktail flight that’s inspired by the whole dining process – so there’ll be starters, a main course – all that jazz.

Science and Industry, Cane & Grain, 49, 51 Thomas St, Manchester M4 1NA


Valentine’s at Hey Little Cupcake!
To celebrate this most erotic of holidays, the gang at Hey Little Cupcake! have decided to create some super-special Valentine’s designs, all of which would be perfect for your other half. There’s loads of designs and flavours available – so even if your fella is a fussy bugger – you’ll be able to get something. My tip – buy a box of 6, get under the covers and devour them together while watching Waterworld with Kevin Costner. Now that’s romance.

Hey Little Cupcake!
2 Hardman Street, Spinningfields, Manchester M3 3HF
Selfridges Food Hall, The Dome, Trafford Centre


Speed Dating at The Crystal Maze
Friday 15th February
They’ve come up with a brilliant Valentines twist to the classic Crystal Maze formula – Speed Dating. So as well as making an absolute fool of yourself trying to get your grubby little mitts on a shiny crystal, you’ll also have to come up with something nice to say to the similarly single team mates around you. I’m not sure exactly how it will all work, but their new character ‘The Crystal Cupid‘ will certainly try sorting you out.

Book Now

The Crystal Maze LIVE Experience, Lower Byrom St, Manchester M3 4FP
0161 791 0727


Valentine’s Menu at Dog Bowl
Keeping to the theme of rather extreme competitiveness – why not treat your significant other to a right proper spanking at Dog Bowl – where you can really show them your skills (and make them look rubbish at the same time). Dog Bowl are offering a special Valentines Menu which consists of 2 courses, a game of bowling and a drink for just £26. Or if you’re feeling particularly hungry, you can get 3 courses for an extra £4.

Dog Bowl, Whitworth St W, Manchester M1 5WW


One Love at Turtle Bay
From Wednesday 6th – Sunday 17th February
Turtle Bay are going all ‘One Love’ this Valentines as they also celebrate the birthday of Jamaica’s second most famous man – Bob Marley. They’ve created a special 4 course Caribbean menu that’s perfect for sharing or you can just eat it all yourself, feel bad about it and cry yourself to sleep like I probably will. They’ve also created a new cocktail (and a mocktail) for the special day. The Wray Crush sounds like it will blow your roof sky high with some Wray & Nephew and white cacao, topped with raspberry, lemon and grapefruit.

Turtle Bay,
3-35 Oxford St, Manchester M1 4WB
46-50 Oldham St, Manchester M4 1LE


Valentine’s Screenings at Tattu
Sunday 10th February
Continuing their brilliant series of special cinema screenings alongside a three course menu and cocktail, Tattu have pushed the (love) boat out for their Valentines version with 3 of their favourite romantic movies. First up is Hitch (1pm), which stars Will Smith as a bloke who teaches blokes how to get off with women. Then there’s When Harry Met Sally (4pm) where Meg Ryan orgasms in Katz Deli over a pastrami sandwich and finally True Romance, which is probably one of the most romantic films of all time. The food includes a Hearts and Roses dim sum selection and a traditional Chinese snowflake cake dessert with raspberry, coconut and white chocolate.

Tickets priced £40 per person and must be booked in advance. Call 0161 819 2060 to book.


Super Special Valentine’s Kebab at BAB
From Monday 11th – Sunday 17th February
Nothing says “I Love You” better than buying someone a kebab. Usually this involves a big sweaty monster the size of a baby, coated in grease and donner juice at 2 in the morning down Portland Street. This year you can be a little bit classier though with one of the splendid offerings from new NQ posh kebab joint BAB. They’ve got a super posh one available this Valentine’s Day (well, between 11th – 17th Feb), and it comes stuffed with 4oz dry aged beef fillet, celeriac and truffle remoulade, celeriac and morel purée, fresh shaved perigord truffle.

BAB, Little Lever St, Manchester M1 1HR


Mydidae at Hope Mill Theatre
Wednesday 13th – Sunday 23rd February
The ultimate in an ‘Anti-Valentines’ night, Hope Hill Theatre in Ancoats will be giving Jack Thorne’s play ‘Mydidae’ it’s Northern debut. What’s it about? Well, here’s the blurb…

Two people. One bathroom. A failed attempt at candle-lit romance. Marian and David are a young couple, at ease with each other and able to let it all hang out.
But on the anniversary of a harrowing event, tenderness becomes fragility in their shared bath tub. Mydidae explores what becomes of a relationship when it isn’t held together exclusively by love.

Buy Tickets


Prosecco & Ping Pong at Twenty Twenty Two
Thursday 14th January
Even more competitive-ness here as brilliant NQ bar Twenty Twenty Two offer a bit of Valentines fizz and bounce with this £15 deal. For that low, low price you can both tuck into a bottle of Prosecco and bat away on a ping pong table for 30 minutes. Once you’ve finished, just do it again. And again. And again. Until you win basically. Either that or you’re both too pissed up on bubbles to care.

Twenty Twenty Two, 20 Dale St, Manchester M1 1EZ


Happy Hour & Bites at Dive NQ
Thursday 14th January
This is certainly an ‘alternative’ option, but definitely one that’s well worth a try. Dive NQ will first be offering up their brilliant Happy Hour from 5pm-10pm on Valentine’s evening – where you can get yourself drinks for £3.50. On top of this they’ll also be offering their Bite Plates for £4 each or 3 for £10. Basically you can eat and drink for proper cheap – as well as listening to some top tunes of course. They also have special cocktails at 4 for £20 – yes please, 8!

Dive NQ, 12 Tib St, Manchester M4 1SH


The Village Screen’s Valentine’s Cinema at Victoria Baths
Friday 15th & Saturday 16th February
Cinema seems to be a biggie this year, with loads of places screening some of the world’s most romantic movies. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean you’re going get to watch Robocop 2 with a box of popcorn with a hole in the bottom perched on your lap, they mean PROPER romance. Down at Victoria Baths they’ll be screening the following; Romeo + Juliet (15th Feb), The Little Mermaid (16th Feb) and 10 Things I Hate About You (16th Feb).

Buy Tickets


CheeseFest Manchester
Saturday 16th & Sunday 17th February
I know quite a few people who would much rather take any form of human companion and just replace them with cheese. They both produce similar effects anyway; pleasure, dirtiness and nightmares to name just a few. They’ll be pleased to know that this Valentine’s weekend sees the famous CheeseFest hit up Manchester, with the promise of every sort of cheese you could ever imagine, alongside every other sort of cheese product you can think of. The perfect date for any cheese lover.

Buy Tickets