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One Buffay Latte, please: Central Perk opens in Capitol Hill to celebrate 25 years of ‘Friends’

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A couple poses on the classic orange couch from Central Perk outside the "Friends" pop-up cafe in Capitol Hill.

In honor of the 25th anniversary of the popular television sitcom “Friends,” Warner Bros is bringing a taste of Central Perk coffee to the West Coast by recreating the iconic set of the coffee house at The Lounge by AT&T in Capitol Hill.

The pop-up attracted hundreds of fans with the line to get into the actual coffee house wrapping around the block Sept. 29, National Coffee Day, which was jam-packed with “Friends”-related events. One attendee mentioned that they had been in line for more than an hour.

The menu items were modified to fit the theme, featuring items like the Could It Beee Better Espresso? and Rachel Green Matcha Latte. The coffee was provided by Seattle’s very own Ada’s Discovery Cafe.

The day’s events, which ran from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., kicked off with a live performance by The Rembrandts, the band that sang the famous theme song, “I’ll Be There For You.” The duo, comprised of Phil Solem and Danny Wilde, has been singing together for several decades, but remain most well-known for the theme song. They took a brief hiatus in 1997 before reuniting in 2000. I guess you could say they were on a break. 

The press release from The Lounge promised a series of interactive experiences and, as the long lines outside of each of them proved, they delivered. 

One of these was Phoebe’s Taxi Cab Escape Room. Phoebe Buffay’s infamous taxi cab makes quite a few cameos throughout the show, but its shining moment is in the episode “The One Without the Ski Trip” from season three, when the gang is locked out of the cab and has to break in using a wire from Phoebe’s bra to pick the lock. 

While Phoebe and the rest had to find a way back into the cab, “Friends” fans were tasked to break out of it. The cab, upgraded to keep the loyal fans locked inside, would only open if the group successfully answered trivia questions before time ran out. 

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A woman dressed as Phoebe Buffay sings “Smelly Cat” at the "Friends" pop-up celebration in Capitol Hill.

Another attraction was the Smelly Cat Karaoke Room. No event would be complete without a musical performance and what better song to feature than the infamous “Smelly Cat”? Phoebe’s hit song describes a lovable albeit odorous kitten who is neglected by its caretakers because of its smell. Fans were given the chance to cover the track in a special karaoke booth. 

There were also photo opportunities for the “Friends” enthusiasts in attendance. They could take a picture on the signature Central Perk orange couch where the friends spent a good chunk of their time or in front of the famous purple front door of Monica and Rachel’s apartment (the number of which changed from 5 to 20 when fans questioned why the friends were climbing up stairs if they lived on the first floor.)

To top it all off, there were three rounds of “Friends” trivia hosted by James Michael Tyler, who fans know better as the not-so-friendly Central Perk barista, Gunther. 

While the day of festivities has concluded, The Lounge will remain decorated as Central Perk through the holiday season, giving you ample time to grab a cup of coffee and take the perfect picture just a light rail ride away. 

Reach writer Ash Shah at arts@dailyuw.com. Twitter: @itsashshah

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