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6 ways to spend Valentine’s Day

Whether you’re loved up, forlorn or footloose, there’s an affordable Valentine’s night out in Melbourne that will hit the spot for you

The Station
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Love is expensive, especially on Valentine’s Day – that’s why the price of roses takes a jump every February. But not at these top bars and pubs. Boasting very decent kitchens and plenty of expertise in showing people a good time, they can take the stress and expense out of your big annual date night. 

Here are six pubs and bars that are doing delicious and very reasonably priced dinners and events. And if you happen to be back on the market, you don’t have to hibernate at home on Thursday February 14 – there are options here for girls’ nights and pet dates too. Just don’t forget to book ahead.

You'll love these Valentine's Day dinners

The Newmarket Doggy Date Night
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The Newmarket Hotel’s Doggy Friendly Date Night

People dates are overrated. At least, people-only ones are. Bring your dog along to Newmarket for a special ‘Pal-entine’s Day’. They can gobble up free puppy snacks while you kick back with two-for-one small bites and pizzas and $20 spritz jugs. Partners are welcome too, we guess... but do you really need anybody else when you’ve got your furry friend? Nuh-uh.

The Smith
Photograph: Supplied

The Smith’s Three-Course Dinner

OK, so maybe you do want to spend Valentine’s Day with that special someone and not your favourite fur-baby. In which case, why not sit down to a three-course meal and a glass of sparkling for just $65 per person at the Smith in Prahran? The special menu by head chef Andrew Braham features a canapé plate for two including oysters (a known aphrodisiac), squid ink gougères, smoked mussels and more. Mains are confit duck leg, snapper and clam en papillote, and a lentil, broccoli and apple soup. For dessert choose between a mango and passion fruit parfait and macadamia chocolate soufflé.

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Fargo and Co
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Fargo and Co’s V Day Singles Supper Club

Single on Valentine’s Day? Lucky you. You and the girls can head down to Richmond’s Fargo and Co and have a little bit of fun. Picture a Fargo’s Spritz on arrival and bottomless prosecco, mimosas and house wine (from 7.30-9.30pm), gourmet snacks, topless male waiters and a Magic Mike-style show – all for just $55 per person.

Get down early to make the most of happy hour from 4-7pm with $10 Espresso Martinis, Bellinis and Fargo’s Spritzes, and $7 wines, schooners and basics. All that’s left to do is round up your single friends and make your booking.

The Station
Photography: Supplied

The Station Hotel’s Three-Course Sharing Dinner

Head chef Fraser Stark will be hard at work in the kitchen of Footscray's Station Hotel so that you don’t have to be this Valentine’s Day. For a mere $70 per person, you and your beloved will be treated to a sharing menu featuring oysters on arrival, charcuterie, 600g beef ribs with greens, roasted roots in peppercorn sauce, béarnaise sauce and red wine jus, and a chocolate assiette. Because sharing is caring, after all.

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Middle Park Hotel
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The Middle Park Hotel’s Three-Course Dinner

We love the Middle Park’s spacious period interiors, including the dining room, where chef Adam Fitzgerald is crafting a $65 three-course menu for Valentine's Day. For entrée, choose between an escabeche of sardines with garlic crouton, Dutch carrot, citrus confit and caper berries, or tempura cauliflower with spiced couscous and harissa. Mains are a fillet mignon or a tomato and basil pasta, and dessert offers a chocolate nemesis gateau or a mixed berry Eton mess. If things go super-well and you need to book a room, then the hotel has boutique upstairs accommodation.

O'Connell's
Photograph: Supplied

O’Connell’s Valentine’s Dinner

Bucking every trend, the Valentine’s Dinner at O’Connell’s this year is just $75 (their special event dinners have been known to reach $150). Head chef Tony Moss is planning an amuse bouche of torched ora king salmon to get you in the mood, followed by an 800g Black Angus rib-eye or whole roasted flat fish to share with shoestrings and salad and seasonal greens. Dessert is an Equatorial chocolate delice, and there’s even a cheese course, because to love cheese is the beginning of a lifelong romance.  

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