The couple’s yearly connundrum: What to do for Valentine’s Day (Durham edition)

Don’t worry folks, the Tab’s got you covered…


As the clock ticks to Valentine’s Day, couples all around Durham start stressing about Valentine’s Day plans. Perhaps you’ve been in a relationship since first year and are thinking about joining that coveted 70 per cent. Perhaps you’ve panicked and asked a stranger to be your Valentine. Yet, having seen so many articles about date spots in Durham, perhaps it’s only justified that I’m the one to update the list for the anxious and cuffed procrastinators within The Durham Tab’s audience.

1. The Spags and Library Bar Combo

Salt and pepper, eggs and bacon, Netflix and Chill; perhaps Durham’s own equivalent pair lies within arguably Durham’s most iconic Italian restaurant and loudest bar (aptly named the Library Bar). Starting with La Spaghettata (Spag’s), the candlelit tables, the cozy atmosphere and of course, the slightly petite and snug seating plan to me, creates a perfect date night atmosphere. Featured dishes include the Fettucine al Salmone, the tiramisu, Pollo Parmigiana, and perhaps the crowning marketing achievement for Durham University students, the two litre bottle of wine.

Yet, no “wine and dine” is complete without the after dinner drinks. Make your way down to the Library Bar’s terrace to enjoy drinks as if you were in Love Island’s villa. Seeing as it is Wing Wednesday on the 14th, do watch out for the group of single lads who have subsequently decided to arrange a Palentines Day on account of their lack of game.

2. The Bill Bryson Library

We get it, it’s summative season. Having been together since first year, you’ve decided to postpone that Valentine’s Day dinner to the weekend and hit the books instead. But that doesn’t mean you’re exempted from appreciating your loved ones right? After all, some of you have decided to even commit the cardinal sin of PDA on Level 4, so why not bring the spirit of Valentine’s Day to the Billy B?

Perhaps an electric candle, a tablecloth, and those meal preps you’ve made for that all nighter you’re about to pull between you and your significant other on Level 1 seems like the move. Or, if you’d like to spoil your other half, perhaps a trip to the café and bringing a cake or brownie to them to show your appreciation? After all, it’s a well known fact that 70 per cent of Durham students are in a relationship with each other, so that shouldn’t excuse you from neglecting your other half.

3. Waffley Good Company

For the early birds among our audience, perhaps breakfast over dinner. After all, it’s commonly said that breakfast is the best meal of the day. Waffley Good Company on Elvet Bridge offers the ideal spot in town for all kinds of eaters, whether you have a sweet tooth or prefer the savoury.

Featured dishes include the full English Breakfast, the Baconmaple, the Strawbereo or the Bannofee-ella. While of course there are always the big names of the Durham Brunch market, especially Flat White and Riverview (I’m looking at you), what sets this place apart to me is the ability to accommodate all taste buds with a large variety of dishes. Moreover, it’s snug environment creates the perfect atmosphere to enjoy those quiet, intimate moments between you and your other half.

4. Lane 7

For a little change, perhaps some bowling instead of the classic dinner and drinks. After all, dinner and drinks every single date night in Durham can really put a toll on a relationship. The lack of variety, stimulus and external fun could all be solved with a little bit of bowling.

A less intense and more playful option, this place offers an alternative atmosphere inviting more opportunities to break the ice or even engage in some friendly competition. Perhaps even play some more arcade games or head to Spoons nearby afterwards?

5. Manakeet

It’s common knowledge that every generation of university students has started drinking less and less as the years have gone by. Perhaps it’s time we put in a truly non-alcoholic alternative to a night out at Jimmy’s. Manakeet, the new café which stays open until 2am, offers various flavours of cakes, treats and non-alcoholic beverages all night. On top of that, you could even take the opportunity to engage in some people-watching; except the bonus being that they’re drunk.

Related articles recommended by this author:

How to spend Valentines day solo in Durham 

The Durham pubs streaming the Six Nations tournament

How to beat the January blues in Durham