What It Was Like Inside the 'Gilmore Girls' Pop-Up in NYC

luke's gilmore girls pop-up
Emily Teague/Thrillist
Emily Teague/Thrillist

It’s 10:50am and I just ordered a latte at one of two East Village locations of The Bean. I know what you’re going to ask -- didn’t you stop drinking coffee months ago? (thanks for remembering), don’t you have a job to be at right now? (whoa, thank you for the compliment, yes I am employed!), and is The Bean even good? (maybe?!).

The reason, dear friends, that I am at this Bean right now is because of my two best friends, Lorelei and Rory Gilmore. And they have truly duped me.

luke's pop-up diner nyc gilmore girls
Despite the strikingly real look of this cardboard cut out, this is not actor Scott Patterson | Emily Teague/Thrillist

Here’s a little backstory: on November 25th, Gilmore Girls is returning with a four-episode limited run on Netflix. To promote Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, which is sure to win at least three People’s Choice Awards, Netflix sponsored a one-day pop-up of the show’s notorious Luke’s Diner at about 200 coffee shops and cafes across the country from 7am to noon (13 in NYC alone). This is nothing new -- Warner Bros. brought a Friends pop-up to SoHo in 2014 to celebrate the show’s 20 year anniversary (I had a casual coffee with Gunther on a replica of the couch, but I also do that most days) and last year, Hulu hosted a pop-up version of Jerry Seinfeld's apartment to promote Seinfeld's arrival on the streaming service.

In Gilmore Girls -- which you should know once won an Emmy for Outstanding Makeup for a Series -- Luke’s Diner is run by Luke Danes, a curmudgeonly-but-sensitive-at-heart Park Slope Dad-looking man who supplies fast-talking mother-and-daughter duo Lorelei and Rory Gilmore with way too much coffee and a little fodder for some pretty decent jokes about men who are ostensibly curmudgeonly but sensitive at heart. He also romanced Lorelai, but we really don’t have time to get into that right now.

luke's pop-up coffee shop nyc gilmore girls
Staff dressed in Luke-inspired flannels, hats, and aprons | Emily Teague/Thrillist

Here’s what Netflix promised at the pop-ups, per Eater:

-Free 12oz coffees (while supplies last!)
-”Luke’s Diner” hats and aprons for staff
-A "fun surprise under their custom Gilmore Girls coffee sleeve"

And here is where I tell you I should have known better. It was really all my fault all along, wasn’t it? My caffeine-addicted friends never promised me that we’d sit around a table and gab about how instant mashed potatoes are actually a lot of work, so how can they even claim they’re “instant"? The show’s promotional website, townofstarshollow.org promised me nothing more than “free coffee at 7am," an hour of the day at which I have never been awake. Lauren Graham, who to be completely frank with you, I only started following on Twitter this morning, never even texted, DMed, or Tweeted at me to tell me that she’d be there.

gilmore girls pop-up nyc
The face of sheer heartbreak | Emily Teague/Thrillist

Here’s what I found at the Second Ave location of The Bean:

-A small yellow sign outside that said “Luke’s” (overshadowed by the very large THE BEAN sign above it. Disgusting.)
-A cardboard cut-out of Luke that was taller than me (most things are) holding a sign that listed off all the thing not allowed in Luke's: “texting while ordering, man buns, taking pictures of food, headphones.”
-A sign that said "no cellphones."
-Staff in flannel shirts (not as good as Luke’s), “Luke’s” hats that said “Netflix” on the back (nice!), and Luke’s aprons (no merch for sale)
-No free coffee (but lots of small lattes for $4!)
-No coffee cups with witty Lorelai Gilmore quotes about life and coffee on them (as Instagram tells me was the “surprise”)
-Coffee sleeves that said “Luke’s” (I took 10. Please arrest me.)
-Four people who have watched Gilmore Girls before

According to Instagram, this was pretty much the scene at all the pop-ups (just with more free coffee and cups with quotes). Does that make me any less distraught that there wasn't even coffee that seemingly resembled the kind Luke made (which I imagine is years-old Folgers with lots of Adderall in it) or any of his classic cheeseburgers? No. No it doesn't. But will I watch those four episodes the day they go on Netflix while clutching onto all my stolen coffee sleeves? You bet! Great job, Netflix, you’ve done it again.

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Lucy Meilus is Thrillist's New York Editor and did not drink that $4 latte. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram, especially if your name is Lauren Graham.