Chop House
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Basic Information

The chop house (not to be confused with a chop shop or the pidgin term for a custom house) was a sort of restaurant that developed in the 17th Century, providing no-frills, informal dining to the man about town (and they were generally men only - letting women in, in the era, would have required a degree of refinement that was antithetical to the intended dining experience). As the name might imply, these places specialised in grilled cuts of meat … often to the point that they served little else, except possibly some side dishes of vegetables and drinks. In some cases, a man might even pick out his own chop at the butchers and bring it with him to be cooked. Whether the grill might stretch to offal and sausages, or if they might be considered sub-par for the establishment is not clear and might differ from house to house. This was, apparently, the sort of place a man might go for a quick meal before going on to some other engagement - by no means a social event in itself, but possibly a place to meet a friend informally.

The chophouse's modern descendant is likely to be called a "bar and grill" or a "steakhouse" - the steakhouse being a more American flavoured operation and specialising in beef rather than the lamb and pork of their predecessors. That said, a fair few dining establishments can still be found calling themselves chop houses … possibly for a heritage flavour.


1. full source reference

Game and Story Use

  • Likely to be the sort of place a colonial era PI or other urban adventurer frequents - it being a little early for burgers and donuts, but a diet consisting entirely of beer, fried onions and fried potatoes, plus whatever cuts of meat he can afford being very PI. Coffee, in period, may be a little high end.
  • Also popular amongst Dickens characters and Age of Sail naval officers if you are aiming for that sort of campaign … entirely the sort of place the 'Mids might spend their prize money, or the elevation of one of their number to lieutenant whilst on a run ashore.
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