Mermaid Tavern

    A modern illustration of an Elizabethan Inn
Mermaid Tavern was located in Cheapside, to the east of St. Paul's Cathedral. It had entrances from both Friday Street and Bread Street. The tavern's sign, not surprisingly, bore a mermaid. Mermaid Tavern was the meeting place of the “Friday Street Club”, also known as the “Mermaid Club”, a literary club first begun in 1603 by Sir Walter Ralegh. Mermaid Tavern was a favorite haunt of Ben Jonson, Beaumont and Fletcher, John Donne, Robert Herrick, John Selden, and last, but not least, William Shakespeare.

The Mermaid Tavern, which burned down in the Great Fire of London, was memorialized in verse by Jonson in “Inviting a Friend to Supper”, by Beaumont in “Mr. Francis Beaumont's Letter to Ben Jonson, and, two hundred years later, by Keats in “Lines on the Mermaid Tavern.”

Other Local Resources:

Books for Further Study:

Berry, George. Taverns and tokens of Pepys' London.
          UK: Seaby, 1978.
Hopkins, R. Thurston. This London: Its Taverns, Haunts and Memories.
          London: Cecil Palmer, 1927.
Maskell, Henry Parr. The Taverns of Old England. Illustrated by Alan Gill.
          London : P. Allan & Co., Ltd., [1927].
Rogers, Kenneth. The Mermaid and Mitre Taverns in Old London.
          London: Homeland Association, 1928.
Shelley, Henry C. Inns and Taverns of Old London: Setting forth the Historical and Literary
          Associations of those Ancient Hostelries, together with an Account of the Most
          Notable Coffee-Houses, Clubs, and Pleasure Gardens of the British Metropolis.
          Boston: L.C.Page & Co., 1909, 1928.
Timbs John. Club Life Of London. With Anecdotes of the clubs, coffee-houses
          and taverns of the metropolis during the 17th,18th,and 19th centuries.
          London: Richard Bentley, 1866.

Article Citation:

Jokinen, Anniina. “Mermaid Tavern.” Luminarium.
              26 Oct. 2001. [Date when you accessed the page].

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Created by Anniina Jokinen on October 26, 2001. Last updated June 18, 2006.