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‘Friends’ 20 Years Later: Look Inside Central Perk Pop-Up With Gunther

Mon, September 22, 2014 3:31pm EDT by Emily Longeretta 1 Comment
Friends 20 Years
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Next time you’re ‘on a break,’ you can now sip coffee with Gunther. No really! September 22 marks the 20 year anniversary of the ‘Friends’ premiere, and in its honor, NYC has opened a pop up Central Perk — and got the tour from the barista himself.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 20 years since Ross, Rachel, Monica, Chandler, Phoebe and Joey entered our lives, but luckily the memories will live on forever. Thanks to Warner Bros. and 8 O’Clock Coffee, Friends fans can visit Central Perk, which is filled with actual props — including the epic couch, the white dog that Joey bought, and Phoebe’s guitar. Plus, you may just see James Michael Tyler, who will be stopping by throughout the month and chatted to us all about his role as Gunther!

‘Friends’: 20 Years Later

When walking into Central Perk, your eyes are immediately drawn to that orange couch that so many iconic moments took place. That’s where I sat to chat with James — who dyed his hair back blond for the momentous occasion.


The show had many memorable moments — and many huge guest stars like Charlie SheenBrad Pitt and George Clooney. However, James’ favorite with Sean Penn.

Sean played Eric, who dated Phoebe’s sister, Ursula as well as Phoebe. His first episode aired on November 8, 2011, which was the first episode after 9/11. While the show did not talk about the tragedy, James told that having Sean there was emotionally comforting, and in a way, made him feel safe.

Celebrate ‘Friends’ At Central Perk

To celebrate the iconic show, you can head to Central Perk at 199 Lafayette Street in Manhattan, NY. Trust me when I say, it’s definitely a sight to see. Yes, there is Friends merchandise available, but you can also sit on the original couch, drink amazing coffee for free, and watch old episodes.


Memorabilia for true Friends-aholics like myself is also on site — the frame covering their keyhole; the white dog; the actual outfits worn by all of the cast including Ross’ leather pants and Monica’s see-through shirt from karaoke; Ross’ laminated list of the five celebs he can sleep with; and Monica and Chandler’s wedding rings, wedding invite and vows.

We can all just hope that The Rembrandts stop by again — on media night, they performed “I’ll be There for You,” with the help of James! The coffee shop is open through October 18, and the hours are Mondays–Fridays, 8:00 am–8:00 pm, and Saturdays–Sundays, 10:00 am–8:00 pm.

— Emily Longeretta

More ‘Friends’ News:

  1. ‘Friends’: Courteney Cox, Jennifer Aniston & Lisa Kudrow Reunite
  2. Jennifer Aniston’s ‘Friends’ Reunion: Talking Wedding Plans & Gown?
  3. ‘Ellen’ Stages Mini ‘Friends’ Reunion With Jennifer Aniston & More