We’ve all been there: you’re desperate to catch up with an old friend but after four nights out in a row you’re too tired/hungover to face another night in the pub. Or worse, you’ve just booked in your third date of the week and can’t deal with the gargantuan task of selecting another suitably inoffensive meeting spot — never mind the endless negronis you’ll drink there. Radical suggestion : what if a date (with a mate or new love interest could be an alcohol-free affair?
Better still, what if said occasion actually made you feel better about yourself — and gave your date cohort a boost too? We’re talking healing, not hangovers, here. With Valentine’s Day around the corner (it’s this Friday, people) the dry date emerges as a breath of fresh air. Certainly, it’s a chance to think outside the box as far as your social networking habits are concerned, with spa days which give you plenty of opportunities to shoot the breeze (more so than a Soho pub blasting Balearic house music) and speed-dating-cum-instense cardio class among the options. Disclaimer: you may wish to go for a drink afterwards.
The “pick-me-up” mate date
Spa day at Cowshed at The Ned
Whether you’re two worn-out Londoners or just two friends in dire need of a proper catch-up, The Ned is your sanctuary. Start your day with a long massage before regrouping by the pool for a debrief. Stay robed up for lunch — salads and healthy snacks can be ordered pretty much anywhere in the spa and are delicious — before moving on to side-by-side pedicures (and more chatting). The wonderful thing about this place is that it feels shut off from the rest of London despite its buzzy location in the heart of the City. We emerge revived, refreshed and fully up-to-date.
Any time, treatments from £14, The Ned, EC2R. thened.com
The Hinge date
Paella masterclass at Brindisa
Have your first date Spanish-style. Enjoy pan de coca, mushroom croquettes and Padrón peppers while Brindisa’s chefs teach you how to cook the perfect paella Valenciana. It’s one way to test if he’s as good in the kitchen as he said on Hinge.
Feb 20, £25, Brindisa Battersea, SW11, brindisakitchens.com
The sister date
Floristry workshop at Daylesford
Why buy a Valentine’s bouquet when you make your own? Peckham florist Kat Argent will share her knowledge of shades, structure and seasonal blooms as you put together your own flower arrangement at this two-hour evening floristry class. Gifting afterwards is not compulsory.
Feb 12, £95, Daylesford Pimlico, SW1W, daylesford.com
The singles date
Dater-cise at Right Path Fitness
Right Path Fitness’s meet-cute workout starts with a warm-up to get your heart-rate going, followed by 45 minutes of exercises tailored for couples. You’ll get a few minutes to catch your breath after each circuit before moving on.
Feb 13, £25, Right Path Fitness, E1 designmynight.com
The BFF date
Yin Yoga Live at Psycle
Psycle CEO Rhian Stephenson has just launched a new series of weekend workshops for the mind and this weekend’s is an immersive yoga practice accompanied by a live soundscape. Yogi instructor Kate will take you through a deep meditation to the reviving sounds of voice, handpan and beats.
Feb 16, from £22, Psycle, W1W, psyclelondon.com
The mum date
Re:Connect class at Re:Mind Studio
London’s first meditation studio, Re:Mind in Belgravia, offers sessions from energising breath classes to sound healing in rooms filled with plant walls and Himalayan rock salt lamps. Slow down and book in for a mindful ritual together with this class centred around human connection.
Feb 23 and 24, £22, Re:Mind Studio, SW1W, remindstudio.com
The gym buddy date
All About Love ride at Boom Cycle
Spend V-night on the bike. Boom Cycle’s Valentine’s party kicks off with a high-energy love-themed ride from instructor duo Aaron and Mikey before a post-class knees-up featuring booze-free cocktails, drag queen bingo and a range of prizes.
Feb 14, £25, Boom Cycle Battersea, SW11, eventbrite.co.uk
The soulmate date
How to Make Love Last workshop at The School of Life
Give the gift of growth with this workshop designed to teach communication, forgiveness and closeness in your relationship. The evening masterclass offers a toolkit for how not to sulk, how to navigate conflict through humour and how to deal with differences and desires in the bedroom.
Feb 17, 26 and 27, £55, The School of Life, WC1N, theschooloflife.com
The cheap date
Bring A Friend at Kobox
The best (friend) way to share the love? Save each other money! Boxers who bring a pal to Kobox class this week will both pay less than half price — it’s two classes for £30 at all three Kobox gyms from Thursday to Sunday. After class, celebrate the money you’ve both saved by getting a post-workout treat together.