One Beijing man’s obsession with the American TV show Friends has driven him to create a working replica of the show's main hangout spot, the Central Perk cafe.
On the TV show, the Central Perk was the titular friends' local coffee shop, and owner Du Xin, who describes the show as his religion, has slavishly recreated every aspect of its bohemian style. Fitted with identical brick walls, tables, and even the ever-present orange couch, Du’s Central Perk is a mecca for local fans of the show. The TVs in the shop even play episodes of Friends with Chinese subtitles, and each menu item is food actually mentioned on the show with an annotation stating which episode the snack appeared in.
The café is popular among local college students, who often watch reruns of American TV shows to practice their English. For them, Friends has proven chock full of colloquialisms and mannerisms that cannot be picked up in class. And according to reports, it also offers another rarity in Beijing: cheap coffee, another godsend for college students.
And in case a visit to a working coffee shop from a fictional television series which has been off the air for almost a decade isn't enough of a "Friends experience," Du has also constructed an exact replica of character Joey’s apartment next door to the Central Perk, complete with foosball table and oversize TV stand. Diehard fans of the show can rest assured that Central Perk will be there for you.