Mate dates: 5 of the best Anti-Valentine’s events in London

Escaping the romance doesn’t have to mean staying at home – there are plenty of ways to avoid the hearts and flowers and still have fun this Valentine’s Day.

Booze and BBQ at Hotbox
Assemble your squad and head to HotBox for cocktails, craft beers, and platters piled high with tacos, smoked meats, and mac ‘n’ cheese. Round off your night with some deep-fried Oreos followed by a nightcap in their basement bar, 46 & Mercy, which is open until midnight.

Piñatas and free fizz at Granary Square Brasserie
Granary Square Brasserie has teamed up with friendship app Bumble BFF and Veuve Clicquot to host two alternative Valentine’s Day dinners. Set over two days (14-15th Feb), anyone that reserves a table of three or more from 6pm onwards will receive a free glass of Veuve Cliquot rosé. During dinner, you’ll have the chance to smash the hell out of a piñata to win sweet treats, temporary tattoos, and a magnum of Champagne. Quote ‘Soul Mates’ when booking to claim your free fizz.

Valentine’s doggy brunch at M Grill
Who needs a date when you’ve got a dog? This Saturday, M Grill in Victoria are hosting a special Valentine’s doggy brunch for pampered pooches and their owners. You can partake in a game of ‘Doggy Speed Dating’, have your photo taken in the ‘Pooch Love Seat’, and dine with your dog from the 6 Legs Menu. The £15 donation per dog (which includes their 2-course lunch) is donated to The Dogs Trust, so you’ll be showing disadvantaged pups some love too.

Cocktails and rock ‘n’ roll at Slim Jim’s
Everybody’s favourite dive bar is extending their 2-4-1 cocktail deal up until midnight on the 14th – handy if you’re toasting your singledom or drowning your sorrows. There’s a free glass of prosecco on offer for every reservation made for two, plus resident DJ David Mortal playing the sexiest rock ‘n’ roll. It’s a school night though, so line your stomach with a fish supper at Trawler Trash, burgers at MEATliquor, or tapas and jamon Iberico at Upper Street newcomer Llerena.

Fries before guys at Drake & Morgan
Drake & Morgan are sharing the love this Valentine’s Day by offering free fries for anyone ordering two glasses of Champagne. If you’re in a bigger crowd, splash out on a bottle of Champagne and get their Trio of Fries – a portion of Cowboy Fries topped with honey, chilli and garlic, Louisiana Fries with Cajun spice, and Roman Fries topped with parmesan, truffle and rosemary.

There are lots more great options – you could get fired up at Temper City, celebrate Mexican-style at Mole Taco Bar, or treat your BFF to a pasta feast at Via Emilia. If you need more ideas, try a search on OpenTable or ask our experts on twitter.