Don’t Forget: Anti, Panti and Alternative Valentine’s Spots in Dublin City


There has been a growing backlash towards Valentine’s Day in recent years, with an ‘anti-valentines’ sentiment becoming popular.

Etsy, the popular online marketplace has a wide range of anti-Valentine’s Day cards, T-shirts and stickers on sale.

‘Ew Valentines’ one jumper states. ‘I don’t need a Valentine, I need a nap,‘ and ‘Cupid rhymes with stupid‘ are both available too.

But even if you are not feeling warm and fuzzy about it this year, perhaps there’s no need to throw the baby out with the bath water. Dublin is chock-full of venues serving up alternative ways of celebrating St Valentine, whether it’s friendship, love, sex, or whatever you’re having yourself!

Tropical Popical

Hands down (pardon the pun!) the coolest place to get a mani or pedi with a side of kitsch music (Madonna and Prince are in heavy rotation) whilst sitting amongst palm tree print wallpaper, The South William Street venue holds ‘nail soirees’ for everyone and Valentine’s day bookings are one of their biggest days for this.

Andrea Horan is the founder and she is also an activist who was involved in the repeal of the eighth campaign as well as marriage equality. At the moment she is spearheading the No More Hotels movement, which seeks to highlight the destruction of the city’s cultural hubs. Her whole vibe is felt within the walls of this funky spot.

In February 2019, Andrea and her crew held a meaningful Galentines Day event- the ultimate celebration of female friendships. Girls and women donning red and pink turned up for their nail art and were encouraged to donate some sanitary products on their visit, all products were then distributed to the charity Homeless Period Ireland to help end period poverty.

As if that wasn’t enough Tropical Popical ‘broke the internet’ when the US chat show host, Ellen DeGeneres tweeted a Happy Birthday message to Oscar-winning Irish actress Saoirse Ronan referencing the business. How did Ellen Degeneres have such specific knowledge of a niche nail spot in Dublin? Well, in a 2016 interview with Saoirse on The Ellen Show, she gave a shout-out to Tropical Popical when she revealed that’s where she was getting her nails done when news broke of her Golden Globes nomination.

Ellen has kept the public nod to Tropical Popical going with yearly birthday tweets to Saoirse saying she hopes she and her nails are getting the royal treatment there.

Vintage Cocktail Club

Vintage Cocktail Club (VCC) is nestled discreetly on Crown Alley in Temple Bar and has been booming for a good few years now, so it’s to their absolute credit that they have still maintained an air of a secret speakeasy but that they have.

Bookings are essential and you needn’t bother showing up late or before they have called you ahead of time. Ring the bell on a plain wrought iron door marked subtlety in small lettering ‘VCK’ and the host will let you in.

This spot is a time warp to the golden age of speakeasies, aviators and starlets from the Bette Davis era. The 1920s-style clandestine bar serves up an extensive menu of spirits and specially crafted, award-winning cocktails, as well as a menu of delectable bites.

Settle in here to enjoy a raucous, yet elegant Valentine’s get-together with friends or a lover, or maybe someone in between!

The Sugar Club

Possibly the wildest Valentine’s event is taking place in The Sugar Club on February 14. The ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show: 18th Birthday Bash’ is an ‘anti-Valentine’s’ party as opposed to an ‘alternative Valentine’s’.

The event sells itself with the blush-inducing line ‘No Pants or Partners required‘. 2023 marks the cult night’s 18th year with promoters saying that the event has finally turned legal!

The evening promises to treat guests to a filthy night of pomp and splendour, the perfect antidote to the sickly sweetness of the Valentines- this birthday bash will be one to remember.

Screening the cult classic with the shadow cast line-up performing over 20 scenes from the film, audience participation and fancy dress is most definitely encouraged.

Attendees can expect complimentary favours, hot cocoa and props, plus prizes for best-dressed, guest performances.

This 18th birthday will be one hell of a shindig.


PantiBar on Capel Street opened its flamboyant doors in 2007 and has served Ireland and its LQBTQ visitors ever since.

Once a bit neglected and unloved, Capel Street is now one of the coolest streets in Dublin, and if you don’t believe us you can believe TimeOut who put the space as number 22 on a recent list. Capel Street’s cool credibility outranked spaces in several big-hitting cities, such as New York, Tokyo and Madrid“The Cool Credibility of Capel Street”

Pantibar is the most personalised gay bar in Dublin and is owned by the Queen of Dublin drag Panti, who can currently be seen dancing her socks off on RTE’s ‘Dancing with the Stars’; breaking ground as their first drag star contestant.

This charming venue has a friendly, fun and welcoming atmosphere. Downstairs the seating is intimate and dimly lit, just in case romance is on your mind.


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