In Austria in the 19th Century it was not uncommon for eligible women to keep a slice of apple stuffed in their armpit during a dance with a man. The hope was that at the end of the night, the guy you fancied the most would then eat the apple slice as a sign of his interest. Although this custom is still practiced in some parts of Oldham (but with a bag of chips instead of apples), most people nowadays like to express their love and devotion on that special of all days – Valentines Day.
Here is a round up of things that are happening in Manchester on that special day, so if you’re looking to impress the other half, you know where to go – and if you’re single, there’s a few places for you too!
If your other half reckons they are funny...
Valentine's Day Special at Frog and Bucket
If your other half thinks they're funny then bring them back to Earth by letting them see the professionals at work...
The Frog and Bucket at th'top of Oldham Street managed to save John Bishop's marriage, so why not let it save your relationship too!? Book yourself a reserved candle-lit table for two, while watching 3 fantastic acts and one bald, brilliant compere. Acts include MC Katie Mulgrew (Edinburgh Festivals Magazine **** - “Self-deprecating good humour and great delivery…hilarious and sweet…”), Allyson June Smith (“Simply one of the funniest comedians I’ve ever worked with. Can play any crowd and always has them laughing their heads off. She’s gonna be a huge star" – Jason Manford) and Adam Staunton ("..confident and demanding stage presence has seen scouse funnyman Adam Staunton perform alongside some of the biggest names in comedy, including John Bishop and Sarah Millican. Definitely one to look out for,")
If you want to get your hands on some decent baps...
Bakerie Valentine's Day
I'm a massive fan of cheese and meat, and so when I heard that Bakerie will be offering a special Valentine's menu consisting of 2 boards and 2 glasses of prosecco, plus a sweet board to share for £32 I nearly changed my plans and decided to go there. It certainly sounds and looks like a great deal; their boards include a choice of a Meat Board, Cheese Board or Seafood Board, as well as a Vegan board; and coupled with prosecco, I could find myself having a thouroughly enjoyable evening. Not only that, they will give you the option to upgrade the meal to a bottle of prosecco for only another £8, which would suit me down to the ground. It all sounds very tempting, but I still think I will stick to my original plan of crying myself to sleep covered in glitter and milk. You should check it out though!
Bakerie, 45 Lever Street, Northern Quarter, Manchester, M1 1FN
Bookings: 0161 236 9014
King Street Tavern
King Street Tavern is a "destination restaurant that serves honest, simple food, no fuss, with all the flavours." Exactly how I like my sex. All filth aside, celebrate the one you fancy by splashing out on their 4 course menu between Saturday 11th and 18th Feb. Not only this, but the Tavern is also offering a seemingly brilliant Valentine's Afternoon Tea. Lovers of Gosford Park and Paul Shane will love their Valentines themed afternoon tea cakes including; Strawberry macaroons, Kir Royal trifle, passion fruit & mango cheesecake and chocolate & raspberry torte as well as much tea and coffee as necessary to get to third base. There's plenty of options here!
King Street Townhouse, 10 Booth Street, Manchester, M2 4AW
0161 667 0707
A lot of people associate Italy with romance. There are the gondolas in Venice, Juliet's balcony in Verona, the stunning Amalfi coast and 2-for-1 pizza at Dominos on Tuesday. Well, according to a poll done on Twitter, 77% of guests at Vapiano on Exchange Square had been to the restaurant on a date - many of them first dates apparently. Suppose you can't go wrong with those stats. Perhaps give the garlic a miss as you sit down for a fantastic laid-back Italian meal, with a wide range of pasta, pizzas, antipasti and salads available - you can't go wrong really!
Vapiano, The Corn Exchange, Manchester, M4 3TR
0161 3487 590
If you need to Spice up your love life...
This title was just for the purpose of a pun, I personally do not recommend some serious sexy times after a curry. Regardless, everyone's favorite city centre Indian restaurant, Zouk, will be serving up a fantastic Valentine's Banquet this year, from Saturday 11th February to Tuesday 14th February. Happily coinciding with their 7th anniversary, the good folk at Zouk have decided to offer a "melt-in-the-mouth" special menu for only £25 per person.
Pre-Appetiser –Pani Puri
Amorous Appetiser– Tandoori Lobster Tail
Lovers Sharing Platter –Spicy Prawn Cakes, Samosa Chaat,Methi Malai Tikka
Dreamy Main Courses –A Romantic Cardamom Chicken Curry, Mangal’s Lamb Laziz, Dall Makhani
Delicious Desserts–Chocolate Mousse
As you probably know if you've been, Zouk offers a brilliant, relaxed environment which would be perfect for a romantic evening with your loved one. It's probably best to book soon to avoid disappointment!
Zouk Tea Bar, Unit 5 The Quadrangle Chester Street, Manchester M1 5QS
0161 2331 090
Scene Indian Street Kitchen
Save yourself the cost of a flight to Mumbai by heading down to Scene this Valentines to take advantage of their eclectic menu inspired by the flavours of India, Pakistan and Southern Asia.
On top of their menu, Scene will also be offering a special set 3-course Valentines meal for only £19.99 per person. Each couple who book on Valentine's Day will receive a red rose and a decadent, luxurious chocolate treat which will save you a few quid and some potential headaches. On top of this, their Chaat Samosa's are absolutely amazing, so head on down this Valentines.
Scene Indian Street Kitchen
4 A Leftbank, Spinningfields, Manchester, M3 3AN
0161 839 3929
If you want to try that 'Hole in a box of Popcorn' trick...
I've always said that for a first date, the cinema is the worst thing you can ever do. It basically screams - "I don't want to talk to you but during the boring middle bit I'm gonna try and pop my hand on your tit". BUT, for someone you are in a relationship with it's perfect. It basically screams - "I don't want to talk to you but it's Valentine's so I have to take you out somewhere." There are plenty of special screenings being shown during the Valentines period, here is a selection of the best...
Gorilla - Romeo and Juliet and Heathers
I've never seen Heathers, but it's got a 7.3 rating on ImDb and stars Christian Slater so it can't be that bad. On top of this Gorilla will be showing the romantic, eclectic classic Romeo + Juliet, directed by that Baz Luhrmann fella which is absolutely fantastic. Not only does it have Leo and Claire Danes, but it also features a pre-fame Paul Rudd looking like a dick head in a space suit. Obviously expect some top-class romance plus the usual delicious cocktails, grub and retro romantic vibes.
Sing-a-Long Grease - Friday 17th February at 7.30pm
Not strictly on Valentine's Day but screw it - it's Grease! With the words on screen! It's likely that I will be at this, so if you see me, don't batter me.
If you like to pot balls into holes...
Share the Love at Junkyard Golf
A quick Google search of Malawi has told me that they suffer from low life expectancy, high infant mortality and a huge HIV/AIDS problem, so you should probably help them out by heading to Junkyard Golf this Valentine's Day. 100% of ticket revenue from Tuesday 14th February will be donated to Love Specs, aka Love Support Unite, a charity sustainably supporting communities in the country. - which is fantastic if you ask me. So get yourself down to Junkyard for cocktails to whet your whistle, a 'range' of dance-able tunes and of course a whole host of mental golf courses.
Times – 4:00pm – 11:00pm
Tickets - £8.00, per person, per game
Box office - junkyardgolfclub.co.uk
Venue – 3 Piccadilly Place, Manchester, M1 3BN
If you're after a bit of posh...
I'm a bit scruffy, but most people aren't and they absolutely love the cocktail and gourmet food scene in Manchester. This Valentine's leaves you with plenty to choose from. One of em is the jewel of Spinningfields - Neighborhood. Featuring a collection of dinner and cocktail specials, including some live entertainment, you're pretty certain to have an extravagant and classy evening with the one you love/fancy.
Neighbourhood, The Avenue North, Spinningfields, Manchester M3 3BZ
0161 832 6334
If 3 courses just isn't enough...
Valentine's Taster Menu at Grafene
In Chinese culture, the number 7 represents the coming together of Yin, Yang, and the 5 elements meaning that it is revered as the luckiest number out there. On top of this there were also 7 Dwarves hanging around with Snow White, Beckham wore the No. 7 shirt and 7up is bloody delicious. As if they've taken a cue from these facts - Grafene on King Street have devised a 7-course Valentine's Taster Menu for all you lovers out there. Personally I think the traditional 3-courses is more than enough, but you definitely cannot scoff at a whole 4 extra courses on top. Including such delights as Partridge breast with ginger and chocolate, and a Lancaster lambs cutlet with black truffles - this refined take on British food will surely impress the lucky person you choose to take with you.
Grafene, 55 King Street, Manchester, M2 4LQ
0161 696 9700
If you both love extravagance and decadence...
Love at First Bite at Menagerie
Menagerie seems to seamlessly mix together acrobats, champagne, fire, food and cocktails into a cacophony of senses which would rival the imagination of even the most perverted MP you can think of. Crammed within a space of catwalks, cages, lights and sexy people, your Valentine's evening will allow you to indulge like you’ve never indulged before with the one you love. Enjoy a specially curated ‘Love Bites’ menu with shared desserts, prosecco, candlelight & live performances. ‘Love Bites’ Menu is available Saturday 11th-Saturday 18th February 2017 at £50pp. (vegetarian menu available on request)
Menagerie Restaurant & Bar, Ground Floor, One New Bailey Salford, Manchester, M3 5JL.
0161 832 3818
If you truly want to push the boat out...
Not only has their executive chef, Clifton Muil, designed a special menu, there is also a special Valentine's sharing cocktail over at Tattu on Spinningfields. The stunning restaurant and bar is the perfect place to treat your other half, surrounded by their fantastic Rose Garden, and scoffing down a Tu Shui Huo inspired menu featuring Aberdeen Angus rib-eye, half Canadian lobster, Szechuan sauce, samphire, pickled chanterelles, truffle, and a porcini teriyaki, served with Chinese noodles. When you get thirsty you can share – ‘Til Death do us Part – a unique cocktail designed to represent the harmony and balance of a relationship, with delicate layers of flavour, presented in Tattu’s signature skull decanter for two. It will also get you pissed up.
Tattu, Gartside Street, 3 Hardman Square, Spinningfields, Manchester, M3 3EB
0161 819 2060
If you want to get oiled up...
TLC Introduction to Massage Package at Spa Satori
Giving someone a massage is boring. It starts off pretty sensual and exciting, but after around 15/20 seconds, your mind starts to wander, your fingers start to ache and the excitement simply wares off to be replaced with you wondering when it's your turn.
So this Valentine's you can just let the professionals do it (and you as well) at Spa Satori with their Introduction to Massage Package for two. Their qualified therapists will guide and teach you how to deliver a belting Swedish massage, which would make even the most haphephobic person relax and get their top off.
On top of this, you will both receive a FREE 30 min Detox Box Session (usually £30) - which is just like a sauna "only better"!. This means that you will perspire up to 3 times more, as relaxing infrared heat soothes away all your worries and hang-ups, burning off calories while you're at it too. Fit.
Spa Satori, 112 High Street, Northern Quarter, Manchester, M4 1HQ
0161 819 2465
If you’re afraid she’s going to dump you...
This is a bit of an odd choice for Valentine's, but what better way to show someone that you fancy them than locking them in a room with just yourself and some mind-bending challenges!? Perhaps you just want to lock them in a room so you can finally talk about the pubes in the sink, or perhaps (more likely) you want to work as a team to show you can accomplish anything, then Breakout is a great option!
Breakout Town Hall: 14a Brazennose Street, Manchester, M2 6LW
Breakout High Street: 36 High Street, Manchester. M4 1QB
0161 839 8012
If you both want to get sweaty and covered in fluids – but with your clothes on...
Manchester Academy - Anthrax
Heavy Metal band Anthrax will be smashing the shit out of Manchester Academy on Valentine's night, so if you're into metal - this is perfect. Formed in New York in 1981, the group have sold over ten million records and probably even more t-shirts. Their 2011 album Worship Music received critical acclaim, proving that these geezers haven't lost their classic metal touch. Expect a riotous display of singing, moshing and sweating - sounds bloody mint.
If you're single and want to get off with someone
Blow Out @ 42s
If you're single and looking to get a slice, there is no better place than 42's. From 11pm til 3am expect Indie Tunes, mega cheap drinks, and plenty of snogging, groping and clagging.