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In a temporary tribute to Friends, Seattle now has a Central Perk coffee house on Capitol Hill

Thanks to a CHS reader for the pictures!

With big brands joining the carnival of all things weird and wonderful about Broadway and Capitol Hill, there are moments when it is gets harder and harder to believe your eyes. For example, this morning along E Thomas just off Broadway, you will now find the Central Perk coffee house and the famous orange couch that was a central setting for the ultimate saccharine sitcom of the 90s — Friends.

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.

Thanks to a CHS reader for the pictures!

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.

Friends 25th anniversary celebration at Cap Hill AT&T Lounge

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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19 thoughts on “In a temporary tribute to Friends, Seattle now has a Central Perk coffee house on Capitol Hill

  1. AT&T tops the list of corporations that donate to anti-gay politicians nationwide. According to Forbes, AT&T donated $2,755,000 to 193 anti-gay politicians in 2017 and 2018’s election cycles.

      • They also offered medical benefits for same-sex domestic partners and dependents years before lots of other companies did, and years before marriage equality. And their employment non-discrimination policies included sexual orientation back till at least 1982, or sooner. Looking only at who a company contributes to isn’t a good predictor of what their policies are. Sometimes it’s just political reality.
        Somebody definitely should’a gotten fired for suggesting paying off Michael Cohen, and definitely for not figuring out sooner how slimy he was.

      • tell ya what, Ryan. You come back and tell me all about if after YOU’VE worked there for 22 years, and then maybe you’d have some cred. I can tell you first-hand that AT&T and all it’s spun-off companies have been gay-supportive and gay friendly for years. If you’re still looking for a company that’s intellectually and philosophically pure, I’m guessing you don’t have a cellphone or a computer (hey, how are you even posting this?), grow all your own food, and make your own clothes.
        This is why we Democrats lose elections– always making the perfect the enemy of the good– and nobody’s ever good enough. Look how great that’s been working out.

    • Ryan, please cite your sources for the numbers you posted. Numbers are meaningless without citations. Are those actual corporate dollars or are those dollars donated by employees of the company, which the company cannot control.

      Also, anyone who knows anything about our political system understands that most corporations pretty much have to butter both sides of the bread. So citing all of the dollars they donated to alleged anti-gay candidates without also citing the number of dollars donated to alleged pro-gay candidates is a bit disingenuous.

      No company is perfect, but if you boycott every single company that supports some anti-gay candidate somewhere you will likely starve to death since pretty much every grocery in this region supports Trump and his policies in some fashion or another.

    • It’s funny how Friends looks worse and worse in the rearview.

      Ross’ wife leaves him for a woman, because she comes out as a Lesbian…so, of course, the character’s manhood is questioned basically every episode throughout the show.

      The only other LGBT character, I believe, was the stuffy coffee shop manager who is a caricature of 90s era gay neuroses.


      Also, they live in Manhattan and know no gay people, nor people of color, and none seems to have a job that would pay enough to live in the city excepting Ross and Chandler.


  2. Ada and Joey Tribbiani sure why the f not.

    (eyebrow waggle followed by a finger twirl of a thong panty stolen from who cares let’s high five)

  3. The people at Ada’s are all great, but they really should’ve passed on this weird at&t partnership thing. Any ambitions they had to just be a good cafe will be rolled over by this weird stunt… just wait for the tourists.

  4. I don’t understand this sudden interest by young people in this TV show. It was/is total garbage. Homophobic, misogynistic, racist, superficial garbage. Like really why?????????????

    • Maybe it’s the people who thought it was funny when it was on, that might find it interesting now? Maybe it’s not young people who they’re targeting (go figure)? Hard to believe, I know.
      For the record, yes I am old, but I found it mostly insipid when it was on, and didn’t watch it. But a helluva lot of people liked it. And guess what? They have money too.

      • It is young people… All of the 20 somethings in my office love the show to the point of it being kind of weird. Hell, Neumos was even doing a Friends trivia night for awhile, and I think we know what their target demographic is.

  5. Shall we call it what it was? Friends inspired humans to not care about backgrounds, race, jobs or titles, it called to humans to love humans for their attitude towards life and their imperfections. Yes, it would have been great to have had more of a mix of diversity. Period. But calling out the show as if it meant nothing while it obviously meant something (hello, ran for HOW LONG, because people actually watched it and continue to… hello reruns!) is just plain “I want to see the world in only my way” is showing a lack of diversity on your part. Open your minds, hearts and souls to excepting and loving humans (and old shows).