Advert for the Coffee and Dining Rooms on Little Essex Street in London
Medium: Print on paper
Before the 19th century, coffee shops were men-only establishments: a slightly declassé forerunner of the gentleman's club. They were places men could go for tea or coffee, to read the newspaper, or to engage in conversation about business or public affairs. By the middle of the 19th century, these coffee shops began more and more to resemble small modern cafes, serving working men with cheap and wholesome food at lunchtime.