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20 May 2010

Drink at the Jamaica Wine House

Standing on the site of London's first coffee house, in St Michael’s Alley off Cornhill, the Jamaica Wine House is a City stalwart. Your author popped in last night and, though a pint was well over the £3.50 mark, and it was full of City boys, it was nice enough.

The original coffee house apparently opened in 1652 and, from his diaries it looks like Samuel Pepys was a visitor, noting on Monday 10th December 1660, 'in the evening to the Coffee House in Cornhill, the first time that ever I was there, and I found much pleasure in it, through the diversity of company and discourse'.

A sign on the outside wall reads 'Here stood the first London's coffee house at the sign of Pasqua Rosee's Head', which is suitably cryptic, but we are told that Rosee was a manservant who was brought to England from Turkey by his former employer, Daniel Edwards. When the two fell out, Rosee decided to go into business with another former servant, and they opened the coffee house. Having been through many incarnations, it's now a fairly reasonable Shepherd Neame pub.

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