Romantic date night idea ft. House of Bray

(Image courtesy of Anni Bray)

26th February 2021

By Anni Bray

In lockdown, date nights are hard. Like many, I find myself stumped by trying to find innovative ways to how to celebrate my love for my boyfriend when we’re stuck in. Fortunately, after a coffee or two, of course, I thought; why not recreate a bar in my kitchen?

To give a little back story, my partner and I live with my parents in a Borough of London only a 30-minute train and tube away from all the clubs and bars we could dream of. My parents are the types that teach me to appreciate my time now and enjoy the moments when I have them. For me, this translates to clubbing every time you can and never turning down going out, (and thinking about hang over later!) This has significantly influenced how often I plan outings into Central London and Chris, my better half, is more than happy to drink pretty cocktails at every opportunity. In other words, we love going out; to try new bars and restaurants when our bank accounts can forgive us. For the past couple of date nights, we have gone for drinks in our favourite bar, a cosy Belgian beer café, or had a burger at one of the Brew Dog bars. So, you can guess I was a bit annoyed I have to be creative now with my planning.

(Image courtesy of Anni Bray)

During lockdown, Chris and I have been thoroughly missing hopping on a tube to Central London and venturing into a new setting; whether that’s bars, restaurants or cafés. Not being able to get out and about has made each day very monotonous and dull. The only way to rectify this would be to start my own bar, well not really, a very short pop up! My kitchen would have to be transformed into a bar that both Chris and I would venture to. ‘House of Bray’ was born! In order for my plan to succeed, my parents would have to be drafted in as my ‘Landlord’ and ‘Landlady’ and I would have to take a few cocktails making lessons in order to recreate the delicious drinks we have grown to love. I also decided to extend my efforts and turn ‘House of Bray’ into a restaurant as well. (Oh dear).

All while this was being planned, unfortunately, life hadn’t stopped. Being greatly romantic can be a little tricky when I have two maths assignments and a lab report to write in a week, but my ambition certainly gave me the fuel to push through! Fortunately, my dad was very happy to help me select and find my spirits in the local Sainsbury’s, (who knew peach schnapps could be so hard to find?!), and lined up all the ingredients to make a romantic dinner for two. I researched diligently online to find the perfect ‘Sky blue martini’ recipe, a favourite of Chris’, created a simple menu of cocktails and wines and set to work decorating my kitchen to somewhat resemble a bar.

As all successful businesses now-a-days, I created a simple logo; honestly not the most original work ever but I tried! I gathered all the alcohol I could find in my house, admittedly low during lockdown, and placed them beautifully on the dining table. About as bar-esque as you can get! The ‘nice’ plates were positioned on the table in a cute ‘table for two’ way and I lit all the candles I could find. The perfect at-home date was created and Chris was pleased with my creation. Thank Goodness.

(Image courtesy of Anni Bray)

All in all, Lockdown day nights have been a success and we didn’t even have to travel back home at 2am, a bit tipsy, on a crowded tube.

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First published in 1965, InQuire is the University of Kent student newspaper.

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