Friends remains such a popular sitcom even now because it's a show with such relatable characters. It's very easy to feel at home and with actual friends when kicking back with an episode of Friends. As much as this has to do with the show's characters and the talented cast that portrays them, it also owes a good amount to the show's iconic locations. The gang's apartments are important settings for the show, but arguably the most notable location from the series is the group's coffee spot, Central Perk.
A good cup of coffee is integral in New York City. The spot appears in nearly every episode and it’s a cornerstone of the group’s friendship, but how well do you really know it? Accordingly, Here Are 20 Things You Never Noticed About Friend’s Central Perk.
23 The Art On Display Changes Every Few Episodes
Coffee shops are usually a solid source for kitschy artwork and creative showcases for local talent. It'd have been easy for Friends to pick out a few memorable pieces and then stick with them, but instead they try to cultivate a more realistic vibe. Every three episodes the artwork at Central Perk changes to some degree, which creates more of a "lived-in" feeling.
21 While Filming The Last Episode, Jennifer Aniston Stained The Couch
Throughout the course of Friends, the cast actually managed to not spill any drinks on their main couch at Central Perk or stain the furniture in any lasting way. However, leave it to fate for things to go wrong while filming the final episode, "The Last One." Nobody spilled any drinks, but Jennifer Aniston had a blue pen on her (for signing autographs for the fans, no less) that exploded and stained the back of the couch.
20 Central Perk Has No Exterior In Season One
Friends might have turned into one of the most popular sitcoms of its time but the end of its run, bit during its earliest seasons it was very much a ragtag production. During season one, the show couldn't afford an exterior set for Central Perk. Accordingly, there's a window that's painted to convey scenery on the outside, but it's pretty obvious when you know to look for it.
19 The Iconic Orange Couch Was Found In The Basement At Warner Bros.
The entirety of Central Perk holds significance for the show Friends, but within the cafe the most beloved item is without a doubt the orange couch that they always relax on. The couch looks quite comfortable, but it was actually just some leftover furniture that was discovered in the basement of Warner Bros.' studios. In the pilot episode, you can make out rips on the couch, which are then later covered up with comforters.
18 The Cast Got A Piece Of Central Perk As Parting Gifts
It's not unusual for shows to give out extravagant wrap party gifts when they finish production. At the end of Friends’ nine-season run, the production went above and beyond with their mementos. Each cast member was given a piece of the sidewalk from outside of Central Perk. It's a touching gesture and underscores how important the location was for the cast.
17 It's The Show's Creators Who Steal The Friends' Seats In The Season Three Premiere
One of the better running gags throughout Friends is that in a place as busy and crowded as New York City, the six friends are always able to get their cushy spot at a busy place like Central Perk. For blocking purposes, it's just easy to always have them in the same place, but the show also has a little fun with this. In the third season premiere, their couch is taken by three people, who turn out to be the show's creators, Kevin Bright, Marta Kauffman, and David Crane. If anyone can rob the group of their spot, it's them!
16 It Has Its Own LEGO Set
Over the years LEGO has branched out more to feature popular franchises and brand names. In spite of this corporate synergy, it's still pretty unusual for a sitcom to make the cut for LEGO sets. It's a testament to the popularity of Friends that Central Perk would experience the LEGO treatment and enter many fans' homes.
15 Central Perk's Coffee Menu Changes On Occasion
Central Perk is supposed to function as a coffee shop, but it's mainly just a convenient location for this cast of characters to hang out and hash out their conversations. Coffee shops are frequently rotating their roasts or variety of products, so it's comforting to see that Friends' fictional coffee shop prides themselves in the same things. At least once a season the visible coffee products on the front shelf of Central Perk will change. That's not a ton, but it's still something to convey change.
14 Gunther Kept The Tie He Was Wearing When He Told Rachel He Loved Her
The core cast from Friends got some very touching goodbye gifts when the series finished production. Gunther's James Michael Tyler also decided to keep a memento from his Friends experience, but went in a different direction. Tyler kept the tie that Gunther wears when he finally professes his love for Rachel. It's sweet that Tyler would resonate so strongly with an item that means so much to his character, rather than something that's just important to the show as a whole.
13 It's Inspired Its Own Coffee Chain Franchise
It's always nice when life can imitate art or pay tribute to some important piece of pop culture in a significant way. Friends made Central Perk look like such a fun and comfortable place to hang out, it's not crazy to hear that many fans wanted that experience and so that opportunity was made possible. A chain of Central Perk coffee shop locations has sprung up, not just throughout New York, but across the entire country, even reaching areas like Dublin and Dubai.
12 The Set Remains In The Lot Of Warner Bros. Studios As A Living Monument
It's always a little crushing when a show finishes its production and iconic pieces of scenery are just dismantled and thrown away. Friends was such an important series for Warner Bros. that they tried to honor the show in some way. The Central Perk set was retained and remains on Warner Bros.' lot in Los Angeles. Granted, the location of the set has been moved and it's been downsized to be smaller, but it's still a touching act.
11 Gunther Doesn't Speak Or Get Named Until Season Two
Gunther is a constant presence within the Central Perk ecosystem. He's taken for granted so much that it's hard to remember a time when he didn't have a name or personality. Gunther is around in the background of season one, but he doesn't actually have his first lines until the show's second season. The same happens with his name, which he finally gets in "The One Where Ross Finds Out."
9 Gunther Isn’t The Owner
When it comes to Central Perk, Gunther is often viewed as the face of the company. He's always around and he's become closer with the main characters in various ways. In spite of his image, Gunther is just Central Perk's manager. He doesn't own the place. Terry is actually Central Perk's owner, who makes appearances through the first two seasons and gets mentioned after the fact. Terry's also shown to be the one in charge of hiring Central Perk's musical acts.
8 Gunther Was Hired As A Regular Extra
Gunther's role within Central Perk slowly grew over the course of the series. Afterward he was even appearing in Episodes alongside Matt LeBlanc as his Friends character. Curiously, Gunther's actor was hired as just an ordinary extra and the only reason he was chosen to be in charge of Central Perk is that he was the one extra who knew how to properly work the espresso machine. That one basic skill turned into a fan favorite recurring character.
7 You Can Get A Coffee And A Scone For Under Five Dollars
When it comes to Central Perk, it seems like the Friends gang is more interested in a comfortable hang out than a perfect cup of coffee. However, there is some insight provided towards the pricing of Central Perk's items when Joey is briefly working there. In the episode, "The One With Rachel's Sister," Joey reveals that a coffee and scone combo is $4.25. Similarly, a muffin and espresso is $4.50, a double latte is $2.75, and herbal tea is $1.25. Honestly, these are great New York City prices, even in the '90s.
6 Rachel Works There For Two Years
During the early seasons of Friends, Rachel spent her time as a waitress at Central Perk. It was certainly a humbling decision after the privileged life that she was used to, but it helped her learn a lot, too. It may feel like Rachel is apart of the Central Perk family for a while, but to be specific, she's just there for a span of two years. Rachel begins in the fall of 1994 to the winter of 1996 into 1997. In the show's third season Rachel transitions into fashion with Fortunata Fashions and then Bloomingdale's.
4 It's Located In Greenwich Village
The location of Central Perk has kind of been kept a secret throughout the run of Friends, but observant viewers have been able to connect some dots and make a pretty educated guess of where it is. The exact spot isn't revealed, but it's likely located on Hudson Street, within a block of Grove Street. This is because the exterior shot of Central Perk features an apartment building at the corner of Grove and Barrow.
3 It Was A Bar Before It Was A Coffee House
It can be difficult for sitcoms to figure out the right location to function as the gang's hang out destination. Many shows opt for bars, but Friends evokes the quainter atmosphere of a New York coffee shop. However, it turns out that before they brewed espresso, Central Perk's former location was a bar. The episode, "The One With The Flashback" shines a light on the past and reveals that the spot was previously a bar.
2 Joey Briefly Worked There
Most people think of Rachel as the main cast member with the strongest association with Central Perk, due to the years that she worked there (not to mention Gunther's obsession with her). That being said, many people forget that there was also a brief span of time when Joey also worked there! During season six; times are so tough for Joey that he can't even afford to pay for his coffee. As a result, Gunther offers him a job. Joey's terrible at the gig, so fortunately he gets to quickly leave when he gets the lead role in the show "Mac & C.H.E.E.S.E." Although he doesn't explicitly tell Gunther he quits, even though he gets the message.
1 It’s Less Than 100 Steps Away From Joey And Chandler’s Apartment
It's always great when you can find a perfect hang out spot that's also exceedingly close to where you live. In New York City, there are typically concessions that have to be made, but when it comes to Central Perk the gang gets pretty darn lucky. In the episode "The One with George Stephanopoulos," Joey and Chandler engage in a bet of sorts to see if Central Perk is less than 100 steps away from their apartment, which it is (97 steps, for what it's worth). That's incredibly close, considering it also includes the steps in their apartment. Maybe the coffee's not great and they just like the convenience.
Sources: IMDB.com, MentalFloss.com, Friends.Fandom.com