Better than Luke’s Diner? Debatable. Our Staff Votes on Their Favorite TV Show Coffee Shops

October 4, 2016 | By | Comments (1)

Fast talkers, tomorrow is your day. On Wednesday, October 5, you can finally sample a cup of plain black coffee, just like Luke, of Gilmore Girls’ Luke’s Diner infamy, serves it. Netflix is sponsoring around 250 Luke’s Diner pop-ups at local coffee shops in the US and Canada, allowing you to grab a free cup of coffee and geek-out with fellow Gilmore Girls fans.

Can't. Hardly. Wait.

Can’t. Hardly. Wait.


While some of us around the office agree that Luke’s Diner is pretty much the best out there, we can’t help but notice that there are a few TV diners and coffee shops that give it a run for its money. Individual staff members have anonymously (not trying to start any interoffice brawls over this) submitted their favorite iconic coffee spots, with a brief explanation of why it’s “the best” below. So, can Luke’s hang? You decide.

Will & Grace

Look at those baby faces!

Look at those baby faces!

You may not know this, but the diner on Will & Grace is actually a Panera (shh!). Nonetheless, it is a place where one would easily be slapped by Cher or spot Karen topping off her coffee with liquor from her flask. Those two reasons, and many more, are why we love the diner on Will & Grace almost as much as we love this Season 1 picture. Plus, did you hear? W&G is back, baby!


Central Perk, our home away from home

Central Perk, our home away from home

There’s nothing more that I want in life than to sit down on the orange couch at Central Perk with my good “Friends” Rachel, Monica, Phoebe, Chandler, Ross, and Joey. Just one day, I’d love to be serenaded with the sweet melody of “Smelly Cat” with a nonfat latte that Rachel would somehow mess up in one hand and a slice of cake that Monica secretly would be wishing was hers in the other. Just once, I’d love to try and snag a bite of Joey’s sandwich and hear those famous words, “JOEY DOESN’T SHARE FOOD.” Don’t worry though, I would never even think twice about taking Ross’ sandwich in fear in my life. (“MY SANDWICH.”) Though my dream scenario might never come true, I can always pop on the old Netflix and visit my good old Friends while sipping a cup of joe in my living room.

Gilmore Girls

They are not discussing coffee here.

They are not discussing coffee here.

Well obviously there has to be an entry on behalf of Luke’s. That’s what started this whole discussion. And Lorelei and Rory started almost every morning at Luke’s Diner, a former hardware store mostly converted to a diner. Perky dialogue, a grumpy proprietor, and bottomless coffee. What could be better? Plus, we learned that it’s not necessary to tip a business owner, so Luke owes the GGs 8 years of back tips.

Happy Days

A simpler time of polyester clothing and tons of hairspray.

A simpler time of polyester clothing and tons of hairspray.

The Happy Days diner, named Arnold’s or Al’s throughout the show, held all the action on the show. Dances, fights, and of course a few good thwacks to the jukebox were only a few show highlights from the hotspot that went from sock hop to therapy session in just a few scenes.

Saved by the Bell

Save the Max. Do the Turtle.

Save the Max. Do the Turtle.

Pretty sure they washed the tables with the tears of teenage angst in this joint. We watched Lisa dance to victory on a broken foot, Screech get rejected countless times, everyone fawn over Kelly Kapowski, and everyone house copious amounts of fries. Sniff. Is someone chopping onions?

One Tree Hill

I mean, Luke is great at all, but Karen’s Café from One Tree Hill trumps all other pseudo TV show diners in my book. Karen is the mother hen of Tree Hill, and teenagers and adults alike come to her little corner café to pour their hearts out over a cup of joe. Though she’s compassionate and loving, Karen ain’t nobody’s fool. She’s wise beyond her years and protective of the one’s she loves. She’s sharp-witted and strong-willed. She’ll shoot you straight and call you on your crap, but somehow you’ll leave every conversation feeling inspired and ready to take on the world. Some of the most important conversations of the show take place on Karen’s little barstools, and everyone is better for it.


You can feel the awkward from here.

You can feel the awkward from here.

Running for nine seasons on NBC, Seinfeld is often known as the “show about nothing.” Following the lives of Jerry, Elaine, George, and Kramer, the beloved show gave us the Soup Nazi, the puffy shirt, and the catchphrase “yada, yada, yada.” Over Elaine’s big salad with “big lettuce, big carrots, tomatoes like volleyballs,” Monk’s Cafe was the meeting place for the meaningless conversations between these four friends who always sat in the first or second booth of the restaurant. Although the interior of Monk’s was on a soundstage, the neon red and blue “Restaurant” sign is the exterior of Tom’s Restaurant in New York. The ultimate Seinfeld superfan dream? During the show’s run on NBC, fans had the chance to buy a seat in the first booth and be an extra in a Seinfeld scene as Jerry, Elaine, George, and Kramer sat down to discuss nothing.


1992, hairspray's glorious heyday

1992, hairspray’s glorious heyday

Beverly Hills, 90210 debuted in 1990 when I was rocking braces, pegged acid wash jeans, and a nike warmup jacket in the seventh grade. Much of the dialogue went over my head, but the best action happened outside of the fictional high school at the Beverly Hills art deco-style diner called The Peach Pit. The Pit’s owner Nat seemed like a stand up, no-nonsense good guy during that first season. Anybody who serves pie with coffee for breakfast is good by me.

So who wins? You tell us. Let us know your favorite television coffee hang spot in the comments below.

Love diner food? Get excited.

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  1. Stacy Ricco

    Cafe Diem from Eureka is the best. Hands down.

    October 5, 2016 at 10:06 pm

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