Real Central Perk to Open in NYC for Friends’ 20th Anniversary

By Mike Pomranz |

The '90s are Alive © Alun Reece / Alamy

On September 22, 1994, history was made: season 6 of Seinfeld debuted. And then, after that, some show called Friends premiered, which people seemed to like as well.

Truthfully, history—and syndication—have been kind to Friends. What was originally seen as a product of perfect programming piggybacking emerged as a show with a cult following all its own. Twenty years after its debut, Friends continues to entertain old fans and entice new ones through reruns airing on cable some 10,000 times a week (check your local listings).

Maybe even more amazing, despite being off the air for more than a decade, the sitcom is still finding marketing tie-ins. Eight O’Clock Coffee is partnering with Warner Bros. to create the first real-life version of Friends’ iconic hangout, the Central Perk coffee shop. (OMG, I just realized it’s a play on Central Park!)

Previously existing only as a TV set, Central Perk will temporarily be re-created in downtown Manhattan. The pop-up will be around for only a month (at 199 Lafayette St., from September 17 to October 18), but during that time, it promises to have everything a die-hard fan could ask for.

According to Entertainment Weekly:
“Visitors to the decorated storefront will be able to take photos on the actual orange couch from the show, along with a myriad of signature props and a show-themed backdrop. Weekly performances will add some occasional musical flair—yes, they will play “Smelly Cat,” along with other tunes in the same vein as Phoebe’s improvised songs—along with special select appearances by James Michael Tyler, who played barista Gunther...”

And, oh, yeah, they’ll also be giving out free coffee—the whole thing is simply a promotion for Eight O’Clock Coffee’s new Central Perk–themed blend, which will be available in grocery stores.

So there you go: the couch, “Smelly Cat,” free coffee. What more could you want?

Tickets to New York City to see it? You should have saved your money instead of buying all of those Friends DVDs!

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