WHEN nervous diners enter the First Dates restaurant, Merlin Griffiths is usually the man who calms their nerves and eases them into the date.
But you won’t catch the barman in London’s swanky Paternoster Chop House once the show ends. Here’s why…
Who is Merlin Griffiths?
The king of cocktails, Merlin has been a bartender and mixologist for more than 20 years.
The 40-year-old grew up in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, and was educated at Pate’s Grammar School.
Merlin, who previously worked in India, owns his own bar and restaurant, The Priory Tavern, in Kilburn, north-west London.
He has one child with partner Lucile who Merlin, a keen cyclist, met at a cocktail competition more than a decade ago.
— Merlin Griffiths (@MerlinFDC4) June 28, 2016
He won the contest, and bagged himself a girl in the process.
Lucile and Merlin took over The Priory Tavern in 2010, taking influences from classic British pub food and their time working in Canada and America.
The couple’s pub won Regional Cellar Keeper of the Year in 2015.
What does Merlin do on First Dates?
Merlin is the barman at the First Dates restaurant, and normally the first port of call for the nervous diners.
Catching up on #firstdates – I have a soft spot for the barman who looks a bit like Mr Bean.
— Eloise (@imeloweez) December 7, 2016
— Daniel Goody (@dantheartist84) August 31, 2016
After maitre d’ Fred Sirieix offers the daters a seat at the bar, Merlin makes them their perfect drink – while quizzing them about their choice of date.
He tends to have banter with the customers, some of whom have even drawn comparisons between the friendly face and Rowan Atkinson as Mr Bean.
When is First Dates on TV?
First Dates airs on Monday evenings at 10pm on Channel 4.
This is the ninth series of the popular dating show.
Tonight’s episode goes head-to-head with the news on BBC One and ITV, W1A on BBC Two and Aircrash on Channel 5.