Dog’s dinners, love letterboxes and singleton parties - 6 ways to offer something different for your customers this Valentine's Day.

1. Make a dog’s dinner of it

The French might be a nation of romantics, but we can proudly claim to be the nation of animal lovers.

We love pets. So why not hold a dog-friendly get together for couples and singles alike.

The Book Club in Hoxton, London is supersizing this idea with a screening of Lady and the Tramp with checked table cloths, candles, a menu of spaghetti and meatballs and even an accordion player in chef whites to serenade guests.

 

2. Play Cupid with a special Valentine's letterbox

Fancy watching romances blossom right in front of your bar? Install a “love letter box” for customers to post romantic notes (anonymously or not…) to their loved- or lusted-ones. On Valentine's Day itself, you can hand out the love-box contents to whoever was lucky enough to receive a letter.

 

3. Welcome singles or Valentine haters

Offering a “single sanctuary” or a haven for people aiming to avoid all things Valentines could draw in extra sales. Or why not cater for both?

Ojo Rojo Mexican restaurant in Bournemouth is offering anyone without a date a free warm tequila poncho and a V-day-free paradise downstairs, while couples will receive a free glass of cava and a table upstairs.

 

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4. Offer a tasting event

Take a leaf out of the Bridge Pub’s book in Manchester and organise a whisky tasting event.

By inviting down founder of The Queen of the Moorlands Whisky Company, David Wood, the pub is throwing a night to remember. 

Customers can sample whiskies from eight distilleries on the Isle of Islay and learn about how malt whisky is made.

Occurring two days after Valentine's Day itself, the event works as a celebration or a present for your customer to give their whisky-loving partner. 

It doesn’t have to be whisky though. Try sampling gin, craft beer, rum – anything boozy and interesting.

 

5. Group together with surrounding businesses for a loved-up pub-crawl

Fraternise with the enemy? Pubs can benefit from working with other businesses to organise a pub-crawl and tour of the area.

Get customers to sign up in advance to be taken into a number of pubs by a local expert, entertainer or even ghost hunter for an added bit of mystery. 

Each business could offer drinks or food deals for those signed up, plus it might result in an expanded customer base.

 

6. Special menu deals

It’s by no means reinventing the wheel, but offering a special Valentine's Day menu works.

The chef has fewer dishes to cook and the customers can sit back and enjoy something a bit special.  

If you’re struggling for ideas, how about theming a menu around so-called "aphrodisiacs" like oysters and chillies? Or take a look at what’s coming into season in February.

 

Thinking of serving up some special cocktails for the occasion? Take a read of these nine goddamn amazing cocktail hacks.