TV Coffee Shop Replica Opens In Beijing

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Central Perk, the iconic coffee shop of the classic American sitcom Friends can now be found – not in New York, not in a Hollywood studio – but in downtown Beijing. The replica is the completely self-funded project of Du Xin, who first watched the show when it ended in 2004, as reported by Xinhuanet.

Du began watching the show on a friend’s recommendation after his girlfriend broke up with him. “I fell in love with the six friends’ life and stepped out of loneliness,” he said. “As true fans know, the show is more than about just making people laugh. It shows people the existence of happiness and friendship.”

After four years in the Netherlands, Du returned to Beijing to begin his own business. He looked for a coffee shop like Central Perk where he could hang out with friends, but was unsuccessful, so he decided to open one himself in November 2009.

With scene captures from the show and collected pictures from Facebook, YouTube and Flickr,  Du set out to find a suitable decoration team to reproduce the original set. Every piece of furniture in his coffee shop is customized.

Du, who calls himself Gunther after the show’s Central Perk manager, worked with his team of workers from 9 am to midnight for five months. The coffee shop opened on March 28.

Central Perk had very few customers the first month, but his fortunes changed one day when a student from Peking University visited before and wrote an article about the coffee shop and posted it to the campus bulletin. Soon after, word spread through online blogs and forums about “China’s Central Perk.”

Next month, Du plans to recruit a “Phoebe,” one of the show’s main characters who often performed self-composed guitar songs at the coffee shop.

“My dream is to create a room for (people) to open up and enjoy themselves without any masks,” he said. “I hope it can be the fourth place where people feel safe, after their homes, schools and workplaces.”

Those interested in becoming the next Phoebe must perform two songs from the show and an original song with a guitar.

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Tags: central perk, Coffee Shop

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