Coffee House (ETW building)
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Coffee drinking is a civilized way of passing time, exchanging gossip and keeping up with the important news of the day.
Islamic law is quite strict in forbidding some food and drink for the faithful; intoxicating alcoholic drinks fall into this category. This is why coffee drinking has become a social activity, oiling the wheels of society without any of the risks, dangers and shame of public intoxication. The drink itself is a stimulant, and some conservative imams disapprove of it as a result but this has not prevented its general acceptance across all social classes. The coffee house has also become a place of entertainment too.
Historically, Middle Eastern rulers did not always regard coffee drinking as being a desirable pastime for the general population. Its stimulating effect was seen as somewhat suspect when the drink became wildly popular, although this is precisely what had made coffee popular with Sufis. When the drink reached Europe, coffee houses rapidly became popular. Some turned into business venues where financial deals were struck: the massive insurance business Lloyds of London started life as traders in a coffee house!