Friends flock to Central Perk pop-up coffee shop


Exterior of the temporary coffee shop. Photo by Delaney Filby. New York, NEW YORK -- On the corner of Lafayette and Broome Streets sits a familiar sight to fans of the television show Friends: Central Perk, the coffee shop where Rachel, Chandler, Ross, Monica, Joey and Phoebe hung out for 10 seasons, is open for business until Oct. 18.

According to The New York Times, Warner Brothers has teamed up with Eight O’ Clock Coffee to replicate the fictional coffee shop and revive it for a month to celebrate the show’s twentieth anniversary.

For fans of Friends, Central Perk's iconic logo on a storefront sparks enough love and nostalgia that people are willing to wait it out in line in the hopes of experiencing what they imagine their favorite characters experienced. While some fans may wait in line for an hour expecting an exact replica of the show’s famous coffee shop, the pop-up Central Perk feels more like a museum. Props from the show, like the white ceramic greyhound, Pat, and Phoebe’s guitar, line the walls. Each character's costumes are also on display covered in pictures of Friends’ best moments.

Still, fans of the show are able to enjoy the shop like their favorite characters did, and free of charge: Central Perk is serving up four different kinds of coffee, on the house. For fun, shop-goers also have a chance to win Friends-themed prizes and can also purchase show merchandise such as mugs, totes and aprons. And the merchandise is selling well. By 5 p.m. one evening, Central Perk had sold out of everything but ground coffee.

The Central Perk on the show may exist for the main purpose of serving coffee, but the main attraction at the iconic coffee joint is the orange couch. Flocking fans pack the store and wait in line just so they can sit on the worn orange couch for a few seconds. After having their photo taken, guests receive a card with information on where they can access the photo of their special moment sitting on the same couch as the famous "friends."

The famous old orange Friends couch. Photo by Delaney Filby.

All types of Friends fans are flocking to Central Perk: families, couples and groups of friends from places ranging from Long Island to South America. Among the different languages and cultures, one thing is the same: these people love Friends. Two sisters, Michaela and Allegra, traveled from N.J. with their parents to make sure they could experience even a small part of one of their favorite TV shows. Michaela said the show is important in her own group of friends:

Friends is something my friends and I can talk about,” she said. “We watch it whenever it’s on.”

Maddie Wescott ('18) said that she loved the show because it is “a place where you can go, and always feel welcome. A place where you know your friends will be when you need them.”

The Central Perk pop-up may not be an exact replica of the beloved cafe of the Friends’ crew, but its existence, even if only for a month, is enough to please true fans of the show. Two girls carrying their “Central Perk” coffee cups encouraged the weary fans in line, calling the long wait “totally worth it!”