London’s First Coffee House

Standing on the site of London’s first coffee house, The Jamaica Wine House can be found tucked away at the end of medieval St. Michael’s Alley in the City of London. The original coffee house that opened in 1652 was named Pasque Rosee’s Head, and it was the first of dozens of coffee houses that would soon be opened in the narrow alleyways around Cornhill. London’s coffee-houses became popular meeting places where people would gather to share news, conduct business, discuss politics, write, create and exchange ideas, and many of London’s great institutions such as Lloyd’s of London and the London Stock Exchange originated in the local coffee-houses. Between 1674 and 1680, the site became the Jamaica Coffee House and those with interests in Jamaica and the British West Indies became the primary clientele. The current red stone building dates back to 1869, and the original 19th century ovens used to roast coffee beans can be found in the cellar bar. Today, The Jamaica Wine House is owned by Shepherd Neame and serves traditional English pub fare.