Ready to feel a little bit...old? Our best “Friends” just turned 20 this past September 22. That means a full two decades have passed since the show first aired in 1994, and to celebrate, we’re getting a chance to hang out at their old stomping grounds.
From now through Saturday, October 18, the gang’s favorite fictional hangout will become a reality over at 199 Lafayette Street (near the corner of Broome Street in SoHo). Warner Brothers and Eight O’Clock Coffee have partnered up to recreate the famous coffee shop right here in Manhattan. They’ll serve free cups of joe to folks in the mood to reminisce.
Then, for the shop itself, they’ve really gone the whole nine yards. Along with signature props and a backdrop from the show’s set, they’ve also got the original orange couch that served as the scene of so many laughs and conversations amongst the group. Visitors are invited to have a seat and take a photo with their own friends while remembering all the decades this ol’ furniture has seen. Back in 1994, it would’ve been surrounded by Monica (who was nervous about meeting Paul “the wine guy”) Joey, Chandler and Ross (who was depressed after being left by his now-lesbian ex-wife Carol) before we all met a soggy Rachel Greene, looking panicked in her wedding dress.
Stick around long enough, and the real-life Central Perk will also receive a visit from its long-time barista, Gunther, played by James Michael Tyler, and plenty of live musical performances. Each week, a band will come to stir up some songs along the lines of Phoebe’s old coffee shop tunes. (We will not rest until we hear a rendition of “Smelly Cat” at least 5 times.)
The best reason to brave the lines and grab some caffeine? The shop will also host daily giveaways, trivia contests and other challenges to test the mettle of true fans. Think: themed merchandise right outta Central Perk itself and other schwag from the show. How yooouuuu doin’?