This year, Valentine’s Day falls on a Sunday, giving pubs the perfect opportunity to make a weekend of it. By providing good food, drinks, and a great atmosphere, you could have a fun event on your hands, providing a welcome buzz to your pub in February – for both couples and singles alike.
The formula for pubs wanting to create a romantic experience is relatively simple. The majority of couples will come in expecting a cosy candle-lit table for two, good food, and a splash of fizz or two. Some basic table rearranging may be required to get the setting right, as your couples won’t want to share a table or to be too close to the next one. With Valentine’s Day falling on a Sunday, that could mean the busiest service since Christmas for food-led pubs. The menu itself can make the night, but be sure to keep it simple and sexy – nothing too heavy! Well-presented alcohol and aphrodisiacs are expected, with oysters, chocolate and sharing desserts being particularly popular options.
Keep the pricing straightforward to make the experience as simple as possible for couples. Consider offering a package, with bubbly, chocolates, and red roses ready for them as soon as they’re shown to their table. However, be sure to keep the prices sensible, people expect to pay more but they’ll still be deterred by exorbitant prices for a meal when today there are so many options for luxury dining at home for considerably less.
Be creative when you’re dressing the pub as a romantic haven, but don’t fall into the trap of making it too cheesy. Refrain from rushing out to your nearest discount store and buying up all of their decorations. Candles, soft music, and flowers are enough to exude class and set the atmosphere. One thing to keep in mind is not to forget the single crowd, as well as your usual punters – regardless of their marital status. Keeping the place warm and intimate will satisfy most people, and creating clear distinctions between the couples’ dining area and the bar area can allow you to cater for different groups of people. Wet-led pubs could also consider hosting a party for their punters, or perhaps a singles night to bring more people through their doors. Themed drinks, music, and nibbles can get people celebrating, whether as groups or as friends. This could also appeal to couples who may have gone elsewhere to eat but are now looking for a nightcap.
It’s not too late to market your Valentine’s Day event and to get your pub ready. You may be able to draw inspiration from The Shaftsbury, Richmond as to how they get their punters ready for the grand day: “Whether you’re single and ready to mingle or all coupled up & loved up, we suggest you make the day of love special. Whether it be a special lunch for two or a group of friends joining in the quiz, we say celebrate it with those whom you love. Be it platonic or more physical affection. Love, be loved and spread the love”. And on the day, remember to impress. This is your opportunity to showcase your pub, encourage diners to leave positive reviews about their experience, and come back. Take a look at what impressed this punter to leave a review after spending Valentine’s Day in a pub.