'FRIENDS' IN LA? YES, TRACK THEM DOWN!
WARNER BROS. STUDIO (Burbank): Main soundstage.
“We find that taking the show out of the studio makes it less funny”. This was the answer of executive producer Kevin Bright when asked about the Friends filming locations.
And regarding the huge success of the TV series, we feel sure that filming the majority of Friends inside the Warner Bros. Studio (in Burbank just north of Los Angeles) was the best decision ever made.
The first season made use of Stage 5, but for the following nine the production moved to Stage 24, much larger.
Sadly, when filming wrapped in 2004, the apartment sets were dismantled and the originals no longer exist. But Stage 24 is now known as “The Friends Stage” in honour of the show.
What! Because there are some actual filming locations you can visit with the Studio tour such as the Central Perk set and the Geller’s house (Monica and Ross’ parents) where part of ‘The One with the Prom Video’ episode was filmed at.
And, of course, this tour also stops at the iconic fountain where the whole gang danced away to the rhythm of “I’ll be there for you” in the opening credits.
But curiously this stop was “recently” added, for the fountain was originally built and stood at the Warner Bros Ranch, a sister facility located a mile away that, up until 2019.
In autumn of that year, the fountain was moved to the tourist area of Warner Bros. Studio so the fans could take pictures in front of it (but not inside of it as did the protagonists of Friends).
The Studio tour will also take you to filming sets from another famous TV series and films such as Big Bang Theory, Girlmore Girls, Casablanca or La La Land. And you’ll also get to admire original props from the DC universe or the Harry Potter franchise.
INSOMNIA CAFE (Los Angeles): The coffee shop where everything started.
This story about six friends who spend hours and hours talking while drinking endless cups of coffee in a New York coffee shop actually originated in a local in Los Angeles.
In the heart of LA, at 7286 Beverly Boulevard, it stands the one and only Insomnia Cafe. A cafe from the 80’s which inspired Marta Kauffman and David Crane to start writing what would eventually become the Friends script.
Well, it would be better to say the ‘Insomnia Cafe’ script since the first draft was named after this coffee shop. Regarding this, Marta Kauffman stated the following in an interview:
“We were driving along – I think it was Beverly Boulevard – and we saw a place called the Insomnia Cafe. And I remember we were talking about how that would be a cool place to have as one of our main sets . . . we liked the idea of something being overcaffeinated.”
Yes, the name of the show ended up being changed, but the bohemian-style of this coffee bar stayed, and inspired the set decoration for Central Perk.
But we have some bad news: the Insomnia Cafe is currently closed. However, if you walk or drive along Beverly Boulevard when visiting LA you may get to see its distinctive sign above the main door.