'The Chocolate House', 1787. People taking tea, coffee, and chocolate at the White Conduit House, Islington, London. A woman and a soldier flirt over a cup of chocolate in one of London's fashionable establishments. A dog waits anxiously as his master relaxes. An organist entertains the customers. (Photo by Museum of London/Heritage Images/Getty Images)

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First Gentlemen’s Clubs Began as Hot Chocolate Drinking Spots

Chocolate was reserved for those who could afford it, and who could spring for other vices.

Today’s gentlemen’s clubs have bizarre, but sweet, beginnings, according to Atlas Obscura.

It was the allure of “drinking chocolate” — and the company of others who could afford chocolate in 17th and 18th century Europe — that created elitist, members-only establishments where gambling, ladies of the night, and yes, hot chocolate, were regularly enjoyed.

“Chocolate, and all it came to symbolize, may have drawn the initial crowds, but it was the chocolate house culture which kept them coming back,” Lauren Cocking writes, and notes that mass-produced chocolate forced the houses to fall out of fashion.

But “the legacy established by the chocolate houses endures,” Cocking writes.

That it does.

Read the full story at Atlas Obscura