NYC’s got plenty of cafés and restaurants to choose from, and while they all seem alluring, we’ve got a penchant for themed locations this summer! From an actual Central Perk and an adorable cat café to a hand-painted wonderland and everything in between, read on for our list.
1. Central Perk at The FRIENDS™ Experience
Where coffee’s concerned, Central Perk takes the crown! What used to be the stuff of dreams is now a reality at The FRIENDS™ Experience, since you can actually sit at Central Perk IRL! Sip on a coffee and enjoy one of the delicious pastries before checking out the rest of the adventure: The FRIENDS™ Experience in NYC is its very own flagship, where you can roam through set recreations, FRIENDS™ memorabilia and PIVOT! a ton of photo-ops. Get your tickets, and we’ll see you on 130 E 23rd St!
2. Wonderland Dreams by Alexa Meade
Got an itch to fall down the rabbit hole? Wonderland Dreams at 529 5th Ave transports you straight to Alice in Wonderland’s dreamy world. Tea sandwiches, signature drinks, a whimsical painting station… the vibrant café truly stands apart from other spots in the city. Plus, you can take a walk through the Wonderland Dreams exhibit, exploring the hand-painted works of renowned artist Alexa Meade through bold installations that “play with our perspective of art and reality.” It’s your very own tea party, don’t be late!
3. Peachy Keen
Ready to be transported to the jivin’ 70s? Located at 325 W 44th St, Peachy Keen features incredible decor, including vintage vinyl tables, neon signs, fascinating ceramic tiles and velvet seats, all emphasized on a vibrant central bar. While you definitely could order a coffee — or a milkshake (they look delish) — at Peachy Keen, the spot specializes in burgers, sandwiches and other all-American foods including a fried chicken and gravy that has us salivating. If you’re looking for those disco feels, tune in to this themed restaurant in Midtown West.
4. Koneko Cat Café
The New York Times once said, “at Koneko (…) just who is rescuing whom?” The café at 26 Clinton St. is home to a maximum of 20 cats who remain at Koneko until they find their forever homes. Since opening in 2016, the adorable café has found homes for hundreds of cats, mostly pulled from Anjellicle Cats Rescue’s “at-risk” list. Koneko provides lounge areas for cats and humans alike, where you’ll get to enjoy delightful Japanese-style pastries, beer, wine, sake and of course — coffee and tea. One thing’s clear: if you end up falling in love with one of the kitties at Koneko, we won’t be held responsible!
5. The American Girl Store
For those who were obsessed with the American Girl mags back in the day, there’s a themed store at 75 Rockefeller Plaza that will undoubtedly excite your inner child. While the café there was originally created for those kids and the iconic dolls inspired by them, the spot is now visited by any and all. Returning to places like the American Girl Café brings out untapped nostalgia we didn’t know existed — and we’re not complaining. In a statement, the president of American Girl confirmed: “We know our devoted fans never forget the beloved American Girl characters and stories they grew up with, and we’re thrilled to have them reconnect and reminisce with us as adults.” Plus, they’re hosting their first ever mixer on July 20th! Grab your dolls, bestie!
6. Beetle House – Tim Burton-themed
Another super nostalgic restaurant here, inspired by none other than Tim Burton. The eerie spot on 308 East 6th St. recreates the creeps and thrills behind Burton’s best works. Beetle House gathers inspiration from Edward Scissorhands, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Corpse Bride — and of course — Beetlejuice to present unexpected concoctions in an atmosphere where “everyday is Halloween.” Enjoy foods like “frites & frights,” “Jack’s jambalaya risotto” and delight in signature cocktails with names like “Edward’s lemonade” and “Alice’s cup o’tea” among many others.
7. Harry Potter Store
And if you’re a Potterhead, you’re gonna want to check out this themed store in the iconic Flatiron building at 935 Broadway. Exclusive merch, rare collectibles, interactive experiences, photo-ops… the store features the largest collection of Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts products! And since it’s on our ‘themed café and restaurants’ list, you know you’re in for a treat: the Harry Potter Store has a delightful menu of baked goods and butterbeer. Plus if you’re looking to gift that special someone with Wizarding World memorabilia, there’s a personalization area to engrave a wand, journal or robe! Tens across the board.