Past Meetup

Is debate dead? - In the Old Coffee Houses....

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This month we're continuing our tour of London's Old Coffee Houses where debating in London began."Listening and talking to strangers was a founding principle of coffeehouses yet one that seems most alien to us today.

The flavours found in the latest incarnation of London cafes are undoubtedly superior, but the vanishing opportunities for intellectual engagement and spirited debate with strangers have been quite a trade-off" Dr Matthew Green

Thinking bob ( are bringing it back!

The format is not like your typical university debate, the topic is announced shortly after arrival. This makes for the fun, quick thinking challenge we love. Don't worry, the topics are chosen intentionally to suit the format so it doesn't matter how much you know about a particular subject.

As thinking bob ( is primarily a social club, it is also a social event with plenty of time to grab a drink and chat within small groups. This is the perfect event for those of you that want the chance to contribute without feeling the need to use debating jargon or want the chance to be involved without getting up in front of a room of people.

After the topic is announced and the initial buzz has calmed, two volunteer teams will then take to the floor to argue the for and against case. They are given 10 minutes each to devise their argument, often with people keen to help from the floor.

A unique, informal take on the typical debate, there is plenty of opportunity for smaller group discussions and a chance for everyone to have their say on the topic or whatever is on your mind that day.

Please arrive from 7pm for a 7.30pm start. - £4 Entry

Look forward to seeing you there - please note this is a joint social with the hub and thinking bob. For more information on thinking bob click here .


The Venue and Coffee House History Old Coffee House has fantastic reviews and is an old pub, with old pub attitudes, drinks and decor: the vintage etched mirror still advertises MB Foster and Truman, and birds stay stuffed in glass frames.

The layout of the place, though, lies with its 18th-century roots, when such coffeehouses were debating chambers for rational political discussion.

'The first coffeehouse in London was opened in 1652 in St Michael's Alley, Cornhill. From 1670 to 1685 the amount London coffee-houses began to multiply, and also began to gain political importance due to their popularity as places of debate.' Click here for more info (

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