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The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Dani’s Debrief: Central Perk is the coffee ‘Friend’ everyone needs

One of the most iconic and emblematic settings from “Friends,” the still massively popular sitcom from 1994 to 2004, is the beloved coffee shop Central Perk.
Central Perk

One of the most iconic and symbolic settings from “Friends,” the massively popular sitcom from 1994 to 2004, is the beloved coffee shop Central Perk. It’s where many memorable scenes from the show took place, serving as the heart and landmark for the friend group of six. It was their hangout and coffee spot, and many fans wished they could visit the New York coffee shop in real life. 

Now, through this coffee shop dubbed “The One In Boston,” you can! 

Central Perk opened its brick-and-mortar location on Nov. 14, 2023, to the excitement and anticipation of “Friends” fans everywhere. The grand opening featured a tribute to Matthew Perry, who played Chandler Bing in the sitcom and passed away unexpectedly in late October 2023. 

As of now, there are no other Central Perk locations in existence, even in New York. It’s a unique and exciting draw for coffee and “Friends” lovers alike in Boston, and I thought it was a perfect place to start my debriefs from searching for the best of the best coffee spots for college students. 

Its location in a classic brownstone on 205 Newbury is conveniently near the Emerson campus and not too far down Newbury Street. It’s surrounded by the stores and the boutiques that the street is known for, making it a nice place for a pit stop on a busy shopping day at Lululemon, Alo, and Trident Books and Cafe (or maybe that’s just me). Location gets a nine out of 10. I am a sucker for Newbury Street, sorry not sorry. 

Ambiance and Vibe

The moment you step inside, it is clear that the aesthetic and overall vibe of the location is unmatched. The goal of the team behind the coffee shop to make it a contemporary vision of the classic ‘90s setting paid off entirely. The shop pays homage to its origins but is unique and reimagined enough to be something new for fans to experience. The well-known logo is everywhere, including on the plastic cups they serve coffee in, and upside-down coffee mugs hang from the ceiling as lights. The ambiance and vibe get a 10 out of 10. 


The decor features a backdrop of the iconic fountain from the show’s intro, the classic orange couches, and a bright neon sign in the familiar friend’s font that reads “The One Where…” inviting patrons to take pictures and immerse themselves in the experience of stepping into a scene from the beloved show. 

The coffee shop also offers merchandise from the show for sale, such as t-shirts, mugs, and bags of ground coffee roast with show-themed flavors such as slogans “Pivot Blend” and “How Ya Doin’?” and “We Were on a ‘Coffee’ Break!” 

After taking in the iconic recreation’s lights, sounds, smells, and nostalgia, I went to the counter and ordered a snack and some coffee. 

I had an almond croissant, one of Central Perk’s many baked goods and treats on their menu. They offer a variety of items inspired by the show, such as Joey’s Meatball Sandwich and Mama’s Little Bakery Cheesecake. My pastry was nice to snack on while sipping my caffeinated beverage, filled with the classic almond paste that the dessert is known for. I wish there had been more of the filling, but what was there tasted delicious, not too sweet or bitter. I would give this traditional coffee shop favorite a six out of 10. 

Now to the main event, what you all have been waiting for: the coffee! 

I got a small iced vanilla latte with oat milk. The small was quite sizable, resembling a medium-sized drink at other coffee shops. The coffee and milk ratio was perfect, with just enough vanilla to sweeten it to my taste. The coffee was reasonably priced, but as usual, they charge extra for alternative milk such as oat or almond. Overall, I found the coffee to be what one would expect from what I ordered, though it wasn’t extraordinary or something I would order every time. I’ll give the coffee a good and fair seven out of 10. 


When I go to a new coffee spot, I am always considering workability. How easy would it be to do homework here? To write here? Do they have outlets in case I need to plug something in?

If you have also been asking yourself these questions, look no further than these reviews. The coffee shop is good to work in, provided it is not super busy or noisy noisy when it is busy, making grinding out an overdue essay difficult. When there are not too many people, I find it a good work environment with fun tunes playing to keep your energy and spirits high. And I did spot a few outlets here and there for those like myself in a constant battle with their old laptop battery. I give it an eight out of 10.


Alongside workability, seating is an important aspect to consider when looking at coffee shops. Central Perk is a sizable coffee shop with many tables and chairs, a booth or two, and two replicas of the iconic orange couch from the original sitcom. I found a table near one of the orange couches and the lit-up sign, making for a cute photo op with my coffee. The seats were comfy and plush, and the lamp near my table added some extra ambient lighting. I would give seating an eight out of 10. 

Final Rating

Overall, Central Perk gets an enthusiastic eight out of 10 from me. The ability to have coffee in Central Perk is everything for fans of the show and is still a novelty for those who are not as die-hard about “Friends.” The merch and themed elements are hilarious, the decor iconic, and the coffee hits the spot when, like me, you need a 2 p.m. pick me up. Central Perk is truly The One With the Coffee We All Need. 

Central Perk Student Tuesdays” Starting on March 26, every Tuesday, students can swing by Central Perk and enjoy a FREE small drip coffee, plus a 20% discount on any ground or bean coffee or single-serve pods. Student discount is available in-store only on Tuesdays with valid student ID.

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About the Contributor
Danielle Bartholet
Danielle Bartholet, Assistant Living Arts Editor
Danielle Bartholet is one of the assistant living arts editors at the Beacon, writing stories about the people and events she is passionate about. She works with local theaters and campus organizations to fill the Living Arts section with pieces that are engaging and interesting to the Emerson College community. As a Writing, Literature, and Publishing student, she crafts narratives that aim to represent diverse points of view and express themes about which she cares deeply. When not writing stories or working on personal projects, she enjoys exploring all Boston has to offer.

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