Good ol' V-Day has a bit of a reputation. Some love it, some loathe it, but most do find the notion an intimidating one. How are we meant to impress the one we love without overdosing on the sappy and the sickeningly sweet? Here at Concrete Playground, we've whittled down the embarrassing and the desperate, and what we've come up with is the definite list to suit your own specific Valentine's Day in the city of love: Brisbane.
IT'S A FIRST DATE
Alright, so the first step here is just to remain calm. This is totally fine. In our fair city of Brisbane, there are a few surefire ways to impress this new bud-but-maybe-more of yours. You don’t want to go too fancy or look like you’re trying too hard, but this night’s gotta be special. It’s Valentine’s Day, and you can nail this.
Heading somewhere new like The Charming Squire is a great way to break the ice but not the bank; some share plates of pulled pork sliders, arancini balls, chicken wings and marinated olives will give you time to figure out if your favourite beers or ciders are a romantic match. A casual stroll along South Bank’s river walk is excellent, perhaps a spin on the Wheel of Brisbane, turned Wheel of Love, before stopping off at Nitrogenie for dessert with some science-based wow-factor. There will be fairy lights and night markets and maybe some live music, all by the scenic river littered with opportunities to get better acquainted.
YOU'RE SO IN LOVE
Oh my gosh you guys. So you’ve been together for a while now, you’re totes smitten and here it is! It’s V-Day. A great place to indulge in your unabashed love is the Riverbar and Kitchen down at the Eagle Street Promenade. If sharing is caring, particularly when it comes to food, then these guys will help you show your beloved how much you really care with their share platter for two plus a two-person dessert for a sweet $50. On the side you can quench your doting thirst with the specialty cocktails formulated for the Riverbar Valentine's Day Cocktail Menu – Cupid’s Kiss and All Night Long come in at $17 a pop.
YOU DO THINGS DIFFERENTLY
Another Saturday night, another wild adventure for you two love birds. Dinner is probably not too high on the list of the night’s activities, but you might as well take the opportunity to indulge. Alfred & Constance in the Valley have a new menu, boasting some share plates of crispy calamari, haloumi and Persian spiced carrot fritters, served with a classic mojito jug followed by a salted caramel Baked Alaska.
This puts you in prime position for the main event: entertainment. You will rejoice at the options for gig-goers this evening. Everyone’s favourite bearded crooner Chet Faker is taking to the stage at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, and then there’s the lovely Megan Washington at The Triffid. There are also a slew of theatre options, including the lively works of MELT: A Celebration of Queer Arts and Culture at the Powerhouse and a magical adaptation of A Midsummer Night's Dream from La Boite.
YOU'RE LOOKING TO REKINDLE THE ROMANCE
Yeah, yeah. We know. How many Valentine’s Days have you guys seen together now? February 14 is just another date on the calendar these days. But it doesn't have to be. Why not try a few different kinds of eats and add some variety to your lives? Saké are a tried-and-tested favourite of St Valentine’s special day — so much so, they’ve whittled down the menu to the best of the best, a veritable smorgasbord of Japanese delicacies for you to adventure through. $99 per person gets you a glass of house champers on arrival, plus five courses from the shared tasting menu. Try the marble chocolate mousse for dessert, or perhaps the green tea langue de cha.
YOU ENJOY THE FINER THINGS
Perhaps Valentine’s Day is your night of nights, the perfect excuse to romance the apple of your eye with rose petals and the finest champagne? Join those who love the finer things in life at Customs House for stunning dining with views of the river and the best angle of the city. If you’re after an early mark, their lunch menu includes the choice of two courses for $67 per person, of three courses for $85, with a couple of sitting options available. For the night owls, a four-course dinner menu, served with a glass of Veuve Clicquot champagne will set you back $110 per person.
If oysters en masse are more your thing, the Stamford Plaza are having a seafood buffet, packed with romantic riverside ambience, free live music, a glass of Moët on arrival and a single rose for the ladies, for $59 per person for the lunch sitting and $99 for dinner. Afterwards, you can slowly take your full stomachs up to the Superior King River View room, where you’ll find more champagne, rose petals, exotic bath products and a personalised love note for a pretty cute $489 per night.
IT'S GIRLS'/GUYS' NIGHT
On this day for lovers, why not make a date with your best soul mates? Your romantic love might not be available, or not yet in your life, but that doesn’t mean this perfectly good Saturday night will be wasted, no sir. If you still wanted to brave the coupled-up locales, Cloudland are having a dinner event on the day — for $50 per person, you get a glass of rosé champagne on arrival, plus a goodie bag for the ladies. Score!
You could always do things a little differently and wander over to Cowch in South Brisbane. Did you know they do desserts and cocktails? This is a thing, and they’ve got you covered for the ol’ with a round of Milk Choclatinis. It’ll make stepping out without your track pants on so much more worthwhile. For the non-sweet tooths, you can shout your buddy at The Elephant Hotel and enjoy a pizza and a jug of local beer for $25.
THE ANTI-VALENTINE'S DAY
Yeah, look, Valentine’s Day isn’t for everyone. Whether you’re a 'we' or still a 'me', it doesn’t mean Hallmark and Cadbury deserve your money. There are ways to get out of the house and enjoy what is sure to be a beautiful day without getting mushy and romantic and, to be honest, a bit sickening. Have some self-respect.
See your buddies at The Fox Hotel for the ultimate solo sanctuary, the Rooftop Singles Party. For $39 you get the cocktail package of espresso martinis, mojitos and premium spirits, plus wines, beers and mixes. For those solo riders looking to keep things a bit low-key, check out the Digital Writers' Festival. That night, there are sure to be a bunch of movies on television. Did you know that McDonald’s now deliver?