Button's Coffee House was an 18th-century coffeehouse in London, England. It was situated in Russell Street, Covent Garden, between the City and Westminster.[1]

Location of Button's Coffee House in Covent Garden (top right, marked with a coffee cup)



The earlier Will's Coffee House was badly reviewed by Richard Steele in The Tatler on 8 April 1709[2] and this helped to see the rise of Button's Coffee House nearby. The essayist Joseph Addison established Daniel Button in business, about 1712.[3][4] Button was a former servant in the Countess of Warwick's household.[1]

The lion's head letterbox at Button's Coffee House

The coffee house was known for a white marble letterbox in the form of a lion's head, thought to have been designed by the artist William Hogarth. An inscription read "Cervantur magnis isti cervicibus ungues: Non nisi delictâ pasciture ille ferâ." meaning "Those talons are kept for mighty necks: He feeds only on the beast of his choice."[5] People submitted written material in the lion's mouth for possible publication in Addison's weekly 1713 newspaper The Guardian.

Customers at the coffee house included Joseph Addison, Ambrose Philips, Alexander Pope,[6] and Thomas Tickell – involved with The Guardian newspaper – as well as John Arbuthnot, Martin Folkes, and Jonathan Swift.[4]

Daniel Button died in 1730 and his coffee house eventually closed in 1751.[1] The lion's head was moved to the Shakespeare Tavern and then various other several establishments before the Duke of Bedford acquired it for his country house, Woburn Abbey.

View in Russell Street, including the Starbucks coffee shop on the left where Button's Coffee House was located

The location is now a Starbucks coffee shop at 10 Russell Street, to the east of the Covent Garden Market and south of the Royal Opera House.[7] The Button's marble lion head was on the wall near where the Starbucks community notice board is now located.[8]

See also



  1. ^ a b c "Lost London – Button's Coffee House…". Exploring London. 17 January 2020. Retrieved 10 October 2021.
  2. ^ Steele, Richard (8 April 1709). "Will's Coffee House". The Tatler.
  3. ^ Ukers, William Harrison (1922), All about Coffee, pp. 574–576
  4. ^ a b Walton, Geri (23 July 2014). "Button's Coffee House: Fashionable Eighteenth-Century Site". Geri Walton. Retrieved 10 October 2021.
  5. ^ Krivokapic, Luka. "Button's Coffee House". www.layersoflondon.org. Retrieved 10 October 2021.
  6. ^ "Buttons coffee house: London coffee houses and taverns". London Taverns. UK. 10 September 2020. Retrieved 10 October 2021.
  7. ^ "Starbucks". Covent Garden London. 24 January 2017. Retrieved 10 October 2021.
  8. ^ Green, Matthew (6 March 2017). "The surprising history of London's fascinating (but forgotten) coffeehouses". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 10 October 2021.

51°30′44″N 0°07′18″W / 51.51235°N 0.12170°W / 51.51235; -0.12170