If you follow me on Instagram, you will know that I am a huge Friends fan! I was born the same year as the show started in 1994 so I can say that I grew up with the show. However, my first encounters with the show were when I was 12 years old. Since then, I catch an episode every now and then but my love for the show seriously started in 2007 as I was mature enough to watch the show entirely and understand most of the jokes. When I started travelling, I went out to look for iconic filming locations, replicas from Central Perk and pretty much anything related to Friends, the best tv show ever!
1- Find the Friends Apartment
Although inside the apartments, it’s all a studio set. The outside however, is real and is seen in almost every episode of the show. It’s an icon! It’s located in New York City, more precisely in the corner between Grove Street and Bedford Street in the West Willage. I had the opportunity to visit back in 2012! I was so happy to see the building in front of my eyes. But, there is no Central Perk on the ground floor as it has entirely been made up in the studios in Los Angeles.
2- Drink coffee at a Central Perk replica
All over the world, from New York to London, and from New Delhi to Liverpool, Central Perk replicas opened for either a limited time or for good. I was lucky to visit the Central Perk replicas in Liverpool. The atmosphere inside was amazing. Friends was playing on the loop and I could only wish I was living on the apartment on the top to make this replica my own Central Perk! In fact, Liverpool had two replicas, 15 minutes walk apart, so I went to both! Also in a nearby city called Chester, there was one replica. However, they all permanently closed (luckily) right after my visit. I am not sure of this information but as at now, only a replica in Beijing is still open!
3- Tour the Warner Bros Studio
Warner Bros Studio is where most the show was actually filmed. The company offers tours to curious fans who like to see the set. The main “Friends” thing on the tour is the original Central Perk’s set which is exactly where Monica, Ross, Chandler, Phoebe, Rachel and Joey were hanging out! However, that as well is a replica. But 99% like the original given that it was replicated right where it started 25 years ago! To see Central Perk, as a studio set and café, you should head for a tour of Warner Bros Studio in Los Angeles. It’s definitely on my to-do list if I ever visit LA!
4- Visit New York City
Actually, many iconic buildings from New York appear on the show like The Plaza Hotel, the Empire State Building and Bloomingdales, where Rachel worked. A walk around New York gives a feeling of visiting the characters’ home! You can find where Chandler works at Solow Building on West 57th Street, “Bloomies” on Third Avenue or Macys where Phoebe sings “Merry Christmas” in 25 languages (that’s a lie)!
5- Get the Geller Cup at Friends trivia and quiz nights
There are so many trivia and quiz nights organised around the theme “Friends”, it’s usually made by fans for the fans! So they are no easy questions! I went prepared to a quiz night in London but I didn’t even make it to the top 5, The Geller Cup just slipped between my hands! You can find events near you or maybe organise a themed Friends night at your home.
6- Go to FriendsFest
FriendsFest is a festival dedicated to Friends. It is happening every year in the UK in various locations, from Glasgow to London and from Manchester to Brighton. Tickets sell out very quickly as some of the big hardcore fans of the show are the Brits! I was lucky to buy a ticket for the date in Bristol, all London tickets were sold out!
The festival has a huge stage which actually is a big screen showing Friends on the loop. There are many street food stalls selling the Joey’s special, Mockolate or coffee à la Gunther. It’s possible to recreate scenes from the show such as the PIVOT scene with the couch, the Phoebe’s grandma’s yellow cab or sip coffee on the orange couch.
The highlight of the festival is a guided tour of the set which includes: Joey and Chandler’s apartment, Monica’s apartment and the hallway with doors 19 and 20 (and not 4 and 5). The new addition this year was Ross’s apartment which also used to be Ugly Naked Guy’s apartment. I was really in love with this experience, people on the tour were also very nice and generous to take each other’s pictures. It felt like we were all in the same boat with a common thing, Friends!
I highly recommend the festival. It was worth a trip from London to Bristol! I just hope FriendsFest continues every year and not die like the Central Perk replicas, because I would definitely go back again!
Are you a Friends fan? Can you think of any other location?