From NYC to Beijing – Central Perk

Chandler, Phoebe, Monica and Joey enjoying a few lattes at Beijing’s Central Perk

On my way back from Guangzhou I read with interest in the free China Daily that some enterprising Friends fan had opened a copy of the famous coffee shop from the TV show that needs no mention. And speaking of no mention, there was no mention in the article about any potential copyright issues!

It’s a bit hard for me to give a first hand review so perhaps my good friend CP would be kind enough to pop over and let us know how good the coffee is and whether the waitress can hold a candle to Rachel. I actually think it’s pure genius – the best excuse ever to hire completely incompetent waitress. Ever.

Central Perk
Chaowai SOHO
6 Chaoyangmenwai Dajie
Building A, Suite 0616

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13 Responses to From NYC to Beijing – Central Perk

  1. T. says:

    Except the logo, it looks nothing like Central Perk.

  2. wisemanofasia says:

    Damn! Having just left Beijing I am so disappointed I can’t go and check this out!

    This is China…I am sure the waitresses will hold their own against Rachel – in terms of looks and incompetence. The major difference will be of course if the owner fancies her, she’ll almost definitely shag him!

  3. Charleybeijing says:

    It’s actually next door to ‘Central Park’ compound too… the waitresses are just as incompetent as in any coffee shop in China. Sadly no Gunther to be seen…

  4. CP says:

    I’ve just been. Am still laughing too much to write anything. I’ll try a bit later.

  5. WoAi says:

    @T – Well the door is in the right place, the big orange sofa is a pretty similar likeness, they use the same big mugs …

    @Wiseman – I’m all for sleeping your way up the career ladder!

    @Charleybeijing – Maybe it was “Gunter’s” day off. I was just thinking, imagine playing someone who basically stands in the background with the occasional line, for TEN YEARS!

    @CP – You’re such a tease, spill the beans please!

  6. CP says:

    OK, I confess I didn’t actually go inside. That was because it was so hidden away in a distant part of the sixth floor of the shopping centre, so I had long since given up and gone somewhere else for lunch before I got there (in fact, I only found out because I heard a few other groups talking about it in the cafe I chose). But there was still a week’s worth of bloggable material on offer at Chaowai SOHO, including the following gems:

    - The classic double door set-up: “PUSH” on one door, “PULL” on the other. Both of course work in both directions
    - No clear map of the shopping centre, so you just get lost trying to find particular shops. Maybe that’s their marketing strategy: you walk into unexpected shops whilst trying desperately to reach for an exit
    - Bloke walking around in T-shirt saying “PONK” in lots of different but not overly heterosexual colours
    - Hairdresser offering “Ironic Perms”
    - The “Reyoung Yourself” beauty salon
    - Lots of small shops with no apparent purpose in life, complete with bored-looking assistant playing on a computer
    - One shop that just had empty shelves and a bored-looking assistant playing on a computer, but was open for business. Maybe it’s going to be a Reverse Shop: you give them things to put on the shelves and they hand you money?
    - A stationery store with a lower product to shelf space ratio than a Calvin Klein boutique in Beverley Hills

    I do have photos of a few of these, maybe I’ll pass to Peter for a future post? And of course, I’m sure that Central Perk itself will deserve a fuller post when I finally make it inside!

  7. WoAi says:

    @CP – Excellent thanks Chas, you can pass me the pictures but I think it’s better you do a guest post as you will have a better first hand account to write about.

    I like the idea of the reverse shop. Imagine a guy coming in and the sales assistant saying sorry, we’re completely full. Come back next week.

    And of course, at my age, I’d quite like to “reyoung” myself from time to time.

    Oh and it’s WoAi, not Peter on this site please!

  8. Rich says:

    So what’s ‘smelly cat’ in Chinese?

  9. WoAi says:

    @Rich – 臭猫 (chou mao)

  10. Fred says:

    haha…reminds me of FRIENDS( must say though, great pic :) )….ahh, so many memories regarding that awesome show and how I grew up with it :)
    China is so gr8… I stayed there for 10 weeks myself. Just got back..had a wonderful time. Didn’t visit the expo though :D (I know u’re probably thinking Im crazy ^^)
    Just wrote a post about my experience myself :) Do read it if you’re interested and let me know what you think..

  11. WoAi says:

    Thanks Fred, I’ve glanced through your blog post it’s very long so I may need to go back again when I have more time. It is very interesting to see your thoughts on China but coming from India I am stunned you left your luggage unattended and expected it still to be there when you got back!

  12. Fred says:

    hey come on…cut me some slack, it was just half a minute :(
    besides, i’ve a history of goof ups like this ^^

  13. oliver says:

    I cannot really confirm what the people above said. I think that the Beijinger Central Perk is a quite adequat copy of the original from the TV show. Of course its not possible to make everything 100 per cent correct, but I think Guether who runs the café made a great job.

    Surprisingly after almost 3 years the Central Perk still hits the crowds and just in these days a second restaurant opened in Shanghai.

    I am not sure about the copy right violations. But I have talked with the boss for quite a while and it seems that he got the okay from the studios. At least there is now a signature and a photo of a director sticking on the wall.

    I wrote about my experiences from last week and my conversation with Guenther in my blog. Its in German, but maybe you can understand it when you use Google translation. Here is the link:

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