In a promotion for the 25th anniversary of the show’s first episode in what would become a decade-long run of pre-streaming cultural dominance, a work crew spent Monday night transforming The Lounge by AT&T and its Ada’s Discovery Cafe into “a full-size replica of the famous Friends’ coffee shop” that will reportedly be in place for “months.”
“Designed to capture the excitement and nostalgia of the show’s milestone anniversary celebration, visitors will be immediately immersed in a world they had only ever seen through their screens,” AT&T promises.
The temporary pop-up peaks Sunday with, yes, a performance by The Rembrandts, the pop duo of Danny Wilde and Phil Solem who recorded the show’s
rage-inducing feel-good theme song. Actor James Michel Tyler, who played the Central Perk’s manager on the series, is also scheduled to be on hand. There will also be trivia and, for some reason, Phoebe’s Yellow Cab Escape Room which offers “the challenge of an escape room with the fun of a Friends trivia game, in a fully operational taxicab.” We expect most will stop in for a selfie on the couch. Sunday, AT&T says, is National Coffee Day.
Ada’s staff will still be on hand throughout the weeks of Central Perk to make sure the coffee remains good through all of the shenanigans. Expect some Friends-inspired pun-ing with a few special menu items during the promotion.
The Lounge and Ada’s project debuted in the summer of 2018 as an experimental new retail concept for the telecom giant linking up with a local, neighborhood host business to create a store they hope is as much an experience and promotional vehicle as it is a retail and service shop. Other big brands have also been drawn to Capitol Hill’s demographics and bustling light rail station. Glossier made a big splash in the city with a summer of Millennial Pink at Broadway and John.
As for the CHS readers who sent notes and pictures of the coffee shop transformation and wondered whether Capitol Hill really was getting a Friends cafe, forgive them. It’s entirely plausible. There are reportedly Central Perk-themed coffee shops in cities around the world including this one in Beijing, China.
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