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Where is First Dates 2021 filmed? Explore the Manchester restaurant on Channel 4 show!

Hold your horses, as First Dates is heading up north for the first time.

If you’re a dater looking for love, but thought that London’s Paternoster Chop House was just a little too far out of your geographical reach, then things are turning around for you. Channel 4 has confirmed First Dates has a new home in Manchester!

It is not the first time that the hit dating show has headed elsewhere, as First Dates Hotel kicked off in 2017 taking daters to both France and Italy, and the Christmas special saw the daters head to the English countryside. But now, they’re switching it up and moving to another of Britain’s major cities.

First Dates returns for its sixteenth series and the first episode airs on Tuesday, January 19th at 10 pm on Channel 4. 

Let’s take a look at the new filming location of the Channel 4 series!

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Screenshot: First Dates S13 E4 – 4oD

First Dates has a new filming location

There has been a massive shift in the media, with the emphasis on opening up the media centre from London to other regional cities across the country. Mainly focussing on the north in areas such as Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle.

This has been reflected in Channel 4’s decision to move both the location of First Dates and move their production centre to Bristol.

Danny Horan, Head of Factual at Channel 4, said:

This move is so great for Channel 4 Bristol and Manchester. We are thrilled to be investing in new diverse talent with Twenty Twenty. This is just one part of Factual’s commitment to expand out of London at scale.

Where is the new First Dates restaurant?

  • First Dates 2021 is filmed at The Refinery in Manchester. 

The new filming venue is a cocktail bar and restaurant, located in Spinningfields, Manchester City Centre. 

On its TripAdvisor page, The Refinery’s bio says that it’s a “unique space with a carefully crafted seasonal menu, quirky cocktails and fine wines, The Refinery is a sanctuary in the city, your escape from the everyday”. The place offers vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free meals and it’s currently closed due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Filming for the new First Dates series restarted in September 2020 after six months delay because of the coronavirus pandemic, Manchester Evening News reports. 

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Will Fred and the London staff move to Manchester?

First Dates would be nothing without maître d’ Fred Sirieix and his whole Paternoster team. From waitress Cici Coleman to barman Merlin Griffiths, the staff makes up the backbone of the show – and the great news is that Cici and Merlin are both back on the show!

But there are a number of new cast members who will make their debut appearances on this year’s series. For the lowdown, check out our story about the new staff members on First Dates 2021. 

Last year, Fred tweeted that he “can’t wait” for Manchester and it’s been confirmed that he will return as the restaurant’s new maître d’. Fred has previously filmed in Manchester for his series, Million Dollar Menu.

Merlin previously tweeted “awesome” in response to the news. He then tweeted in response to a fan: “Much as I love London, I’m happier out of it for now.” 



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Eve spends her days writing about everything culture-related. From celebrity news to music, film and television, Eve covers all bases. When she’s not writing you can find her making music or mastering the art of homemade pasta.