The famous coffee shop from the equally famous ‘Friends’ series has sprung up in a somewhat unexpected location. Central Perk has moved to Beijing, and people from all over are flocking to have coffee and muffins at the landmark cafe. You almost expect Chandler to walk through the door while putting his foot in his mouth, as usual.
It’s been ten years since we last sat down to a new episode to watch the latest antics of Joey, Rachel, Chandler, Ross, Monica and Phoebe, but they’ve never strayed far from the mind of Du Xin – also known as Gunther. Xin’s obsession with Friends and their Central Perk hangout finally became a business venture when he turned the sixth floor of an office block into the famous hangout.
Everything was considered for the decor, right down to the food logistics. The menu is based on the Central Perk menu with a few additions such as funny quotes and fun facts from the show.
Everything inside Beijing Central Perk is placed exactly as it is in New York Central Perk, right down to the same fabric coverings on the stools and sofa. The mugs, plates and lights are all replicas, and the coffee bar would be mistaken for being lifted from the Central Perk set of the series. In the corner is a television that plays ‘Friends’ reruns all day thereby curing Xin’s withdrawals but he doesn’t have to worry about that at all.
Xin goes home to an apartment that is modeled on Joey’s home on the series. Everything is 100 percent exactly the same as in the programme. The fooseball table and a huge over sized living room cabinet similar to the one Joey constructed. Like the Central Perk replica, Xin has created an exact replica.
‘Friends’ is still extremely popular, particularly in China, as it has been an English learning tool for the Chinese, and they have learned a lot about American culture from the series. The lifestyle and friendships in the series were inspirational for a lot of people, and Xin has used that inspiration to keep Central Perk, and the fun-loving memory of ‘Friends,’ alive.
Fans come from all over China to visit Central Perk. One guy took his friend and they travelled 300 miles to visit the coffee shop just to experience a bit of the freedom of being young and single in New York.
So many youngsters yearn for that lifestyle, and other entrepreneurs have seen the appeal of Central Perk, so they have decided to open competitive coffee shops that also look like Central Perk. Xin was the first and his dedication to the brand is being fully supported.
This is a guest post. Vida Denning is a freelance writer, and a ‘Friends’ addict. She would love to spend time at Central Perk when she is not researching food logistics, chilled foods, and food fashion.