THE EARLY COCOA HOUSES.
At No. 64, St. James's Street is the "Cocoa Tree Club." In the reign of Queen Anne there was a famous chocolate-house known as the "CocoaTree," a favourite sign to mark that new and fashionable beverage. Its frequenters were Tories of the strictest school. De Foe tells us in his "Journey through England," that "a Whig will no more go to the 'Cocoa Tree' . . . than a Tory will be seen at the coffee-house of St. James's." In course of time the "Cocoa Tree" developed into a gaming-house and a club.As a club, the "Cocoa Tree" did not cease to keep up its reputation for high play. Although the present establishment bearing the name dates its existence only from the year 1853, the old chocolate-house was probably converted into a club as far back as the middle of the last century. Lord Byron was a member of this club, and so was Gibbon, the historian. —From "Old and New Loncfon," Cassell & Co.
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