Friends Turns 20 with Central Perk Pop-Up and Free Coffee in NYC
It was 1994 when fans first met Chandler, Joey, Monica, Phoebe, Rachael and Ross, the six now-beloved friends who made up the heart of the cast on NBC's Friends. Over the course of a decade, fans watched as this tight-knit group took their places on a cozy orange couch in the coffee shop downstairs to navigate their 20s before ultimately saying goodbye to them as 30-year-olds settled into their careers and relationships in the Big Apple. Although the show took place in New York City, James Michael Tyler, who played Gunther, the wonderfully awkward barista at the Central Perk coffee shop, revealed that the set was located in sunny Los Angeles. Now, however, 10 years since Friends' finale, Central Perk is finally getting its chance to shine on the streets of Manhattan as Warner Bros. Television Group, Warner Bros. Consumer Products and Eight O’Clock Coffee team up to launch a Central Perk pop-up shop in the SoHo neighborhood.
Beginning today through October 18, fans of Friends in New York City can visit Central Perk and take in the sights and sounds of the cast's cherished hangout spot for themselves. Complete with the same orange couch and gilded espresso machine that were featured on the Central Perk set, plus more original memorabilia from the show, like Monica and Chandler's wedding invitation and Phoebe's guitar, the pop-up Central Perk is located at 199 Lafayette Street and will be serving free cups of Eight O'Clock Coffee daily. Not located in New York? Look out for Eight O'Clock Coffee's limited-edition Central Perk roast at grocery stores near you or online.
FN Dish was on hand at the Central Perk replica as James — Gunther — mingled with A-list New Yorkers at a preview event before the shop opened to the public, and he revealed to us earlier that while Friends may be turning 20 years old, today it's still as relevant as ever. "The characters are relatable, and the story is relatable," he said before offering up an insider's look at what went on behind the scenes on set. "We had amazing craft service. I spent maybe a little too much time at the craft service table over the years." And while Gunther may have been most often behind the counter serving up fancy brews to the Central Perk customers, when it comes to coffee for James, he keeps it simple: "I drink it black. No sugar, no cream."
Photos courtesy Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.