Valentine’s Day is always a minefield. A chance for restaurants to rake it in from couples by putting love hearts on the menu border for the night while Ben & Jerry’s sales to rocket due to those home alone. Cynics will claim it is over-commercialised – but it can also give life to some pretty inventive evenings, as listed below. And remember, St Valentine may be the patron saint of love, couples and happy marriages, but he’s also the patron saint of bees and the plague. So celebrate how you wish.

SPEED DATE: Pick & Mingle at Chill Factore

Speed dating hits the slopes with the Chill Factore’s take on the early noughties trend. Pick from events such as luge or tubing and mingle with other singletons then exchange details at the end of the evening and head to the bar for a free drink. Cue many snow puns such as “cold shoulder” and “playing it cool”. (Thu 14 Feb, Chill Factore, Trafford Way, Trafford Quays Leisure Village, M41 7JA. Tel: 0161 9234994, 6.30pm).

TABLE TENNIS: F*ck Valentine’s! Let’s Play Ping Pong at Kraak

Ping Pong Club invites you to play a different game to love with its Valentine’s special. With round table ping pong all night and a second, smaller, more intimate table set up to one side, this could be the ideal place to bring a first date. Or to escape couples making out in bars. (Thu 14 Feb, Kraak, 11 Stevenson Square, M1 1DB, 8pm, £3,

YOUR OWN CINEMA: Just the two of you in A Small Cinema (pictured)

If the kids at home make it hard to settle down in front of a film, and the idea of a cinema full of lovebirds sounds like a nightmare then Moston’s A Small Cinema may have the answer. They are offering two hour slots to rent their cinema and make it completely your own. They will also give you wine, chocolates, popcorn and any DVD or Bluray of your choice. You might not want to take anyone. That just sounds like a damn good night. (Thu 14 – Sun 17 Feb, A Small Cinema, Miners Community Arts & Music Centre, Teddington Road, Moston M40 0DJ. Tel: 0161 6826253 £49.99 per 2 hour slot from 5.30pm,

BOOZE / DISCO: SMS Got Me Pregnant at Common

Common’s bastard love children Stop Making Sense is hoping to sire some more musical offspring at its Valentine’s Special. The popular night’s DJs have picked out their favourite tracks and intend to give a night you won’t remember. There will be a limited run of 50 sex, sorry, mix tapes available (compiled by SMS towers for free). The flyer says it is guaranteed to get you laid, so you never know, in nine months time there might be a few baby Commons and Commonettes running around the NQ in their tiny desert boots. (Thu 14 Feb, Common, 39-41 Edge Street, M4 1HW. Tel: 0161 8329245, 9pm, FREE,

QUIZ: Quizzical Attractions at Joshua Brooks

If you’re busy or working on the night of Valentine’s you could always save all your love (Whitney Houston style) for Sunday night’s Quizzical Attraction. Joshua Brooks’ seasonal quiz presented by Duncan Faggin (Dutch Uncles) and Patrick Ryder (Bring on the Dancing Horses) aims to give you a quiz for body and mind. As well as a DJ set that may or may not be include Barry White. Also, there’s a free drink for anyone wearing pink and a prize for the prettiest in pink. (Sun 17 Feb, Joshua Brooks, 106 Princess Street, M1 6NG. 8pm,

Thu 14 Feb - Sun 17 Feb
John Stansfield
Published on:
Thu 14 Feb 2013