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Café society was the description of the "Beautiful People" and "Bright Young Things" who gathered in fashionable cafés and restaurants in New York, Paris, and London beginning in the late 19th century. Maury Henry Biddle Paul is credited with coining the phrase "café society" in 1915. Lucius Beebe created the term "chromium mist" for the café society lifestyle he chronicled in his weekly column, This New York, for the New York Herald Tribune during the 1920s and 1930s.

Members attended each other's private dinners and balls, and took holidays in exotic locations or at elegant resorts. In the United States, café society came to the fore with the end of Prohibition in December 1933 and the rise of photojournalism to describe the set of people who tended to do their entertaining semi-publicly—in restaurants and night clubs—and who would include among them movie stars and sports celebrities. Some of the American night clubs and New York City restaurants frequented by the denizens of café society included the 21 Club, El Morocco, Restaurant Larue, and the Stork Club.[citation needed]

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  • Beebe, Lucius (1967). Clegg, Charles & Emrich, Duncan (eds.). The Lucius Beebe Reader. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday & Company. OCLC 720851.CS1 maint: Uses editors parameter (link)
  • Blumenthal, Ralph (2000). Stork Club: America's Most Famous Nightspot and the Lost World of Café Society. Boston: Little, Brown & Co. ISBN 0-316-10531-7. OCLC 42072089.

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