FIRST Dates' Merlin Griffiths has spilled the beans on what it's really like to work at the bar on the popular Channel 4 show.
Turns out, it's not all glitz and glamour.
And here's the kicker – there are secret daters who never make it to the show.
When Merlin first stepped foot behind that bar, he was the sole provider of drinks for the entire restaurant.
Mixing and serving drinks left and right, making sure everyone's glass was topped up – it was a grueling task, to say the least.
Merlin described his job as "very difficult" because he had to juggle between serving the daters and attending to the other customers in the restaurant.
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"In the early days it did used to be, pretty much all me, making every single drink for the entire restaurant all day long, he told The Sun exclusively.
Merlin added: "That was very difficult because I had to bounce between, spending time with the daters at the bar, spending huge amounts of time with them."
Then by the time Fred's come to take them to their table I have to then make drinks for the customers."
The First Dates star also shared that there are secret daters who never even make it onto the Channel 4 show.
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While we're all glued to our screens watching those awkward first dates unfold, there's a whole bunch of daters who remain hidden in the shadows.
"We have this thing called, background dates, you can apply to be a background date, if you don't actually want to be featured on a date, you can just come on a date with your significant other," Merlin explained.
Merlin went on to say how pretty much everything about the show is real – the set is a full functioning restaurant with real paying customers.
Merlin shared: "And what you will be surprised to know is that it is a normal restaurant, it's not stop, start, we don't set up scenes and all of this, it's a restaurant, literally from the moment you open that door we are a functioning restaurant."
Speaking of drinks, Merlin and wedding venues, franchise The Gilchrist Collection have worked together to create a brand-new menu of alcohol-free options appropriate for a wedding.
As the drinking culture changes across the UK, it's been reported that a quarter (24%) of wedding guests are choosing to go alcohol-free.
Speaking about the rise of non-alcoholic drinks, Merlin said: “Non-alcoholic drinks stand on their own and are created with the same care and detail of cocktails, which is why we’ve very deliberately avoided calling them mocktails – there’s absolutely nothing “mock” about these drinks!"
He continued: "There's real food, and drink coming from real chefs from a real kitchen, with real drinks coming from myself and a team of bartenders there as well to cover all the tables."
Merlin added: “Rather than mimic existing cocktails or simply mix together some fruit juices, each of these drinks has been designed to give the happy couple and their guests the chance to experience all the wonderful flavours a cocktail has, just without the alcohol content."
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