Awesome places in Beijing #1 – the Friends Cafe

Awesome places in Beijing #1 – the Friends Cafe

Ahh Beijing, my second home. It’s a city that many people know for only two things – bad air quality and the 2008 Olympics. And while the air can be quite bad at times, my goodness is this an awesome city!

Beijing is not a ‘love at first sight’ type city. Beijing is complex and takes some figuring out. It’s a city that grows and grows on you, and given enough time there – you’ll almost certainly come to love it.

Beijing is a wonderful and intriguing blend of old and new and is home to some of the most breathtaking and ancient cultural relics of China. Such as the Sumer Palace, the Forbidden City and the magnificent Tiananmen Square. As far as ‘new’ goes, Beijing’s CBD area is as modern as it gets – Housing jaw dropping skyscrapers, hipster bars and coffee shops and wonderfully efficient public transport systems.

There’s something for everyone in Beijing.

Party animal you say? The nightlife in Sanlitun is insane!

A picture of San Li Tun in beijing

Sanlitun, Beijing – known for its bars, clubs and shops

Not into clubs?

Grab a refreshing beer in the Hutongs!

Hou Hai in Beijing

Hou Hai, Beijing – a great place to grab a beer with friends, or enjoy a relaxing boat ride!

I could go on about how awesome Beijing is for twelve more blog posts. Instead, I want to focus on a particularly awesome place to go chill and grab a coffee – the Friends Cafe! The Friends Cafe in Beijing is an exact replica of ‘Central Perk’ – the coffee shop where Joey, Chandler, Ross, Phoebe, Rachel and Monica used to hang out in the hit, American sitcom ‘Friends’.

A picture of behind the counter at the Friends Cafe in Beijing

Friends cafe – behind the counter

Instead of being located on a street corner, like in the show, the Friends Cafe in Beijing is located on the sixth floor of a relatively empty shopping mall. Despite this, looks wise, the Friends Cafe Beijing is as close as you could get to the ‘real thing’ and the atmosphere is great. It’s always packed with young people – foreigners and locals alike and the staff are friendly and relaxed.

Wanna know the best part about the Friends Cafe? They have ‘Friends’ playing on the TV non-stop (with Chinese subtitles of course)! Once you sit down, it’s so hard to leave. You’ll be saying to yourself, ‘okay, just one more episode’.

The TV playing friends in the Friends Cafe!

24/7 Friends!

I remember hearing about the Friends Cafe from a friend (surprise, surprise!). I instantly looked it up on Baidu maps (China’s version of Google maps) and realized it wasn’t far from my apartment. I set off immediately to check it out and while sitting on the famous, big, red couch, drinking my coffee, I remember thinking to myself, ‘man, Beijing really does have everything!’

At one stage, I went there five Sundays in a row. I just enjoyed the whole experience.

It may seem strange to you that ‘Friends’ is so popular in China, but in actual fact, many young, Chinese students watch American shows to improve their English!

Cappuccino at the Friends Cafe

Cappuccino with ‘Friends’ written on in Chocolate sauce

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