In 1956, former wrestler and wrestling promoter Paul Lincoln opened the 2i's, an espresso bar at 59 Old Compton Street. With the coffee bar supplemented by a small basement club, the 2i's was quickly to become one of the hippest places in town. Billing itself as the 'Home of the Stars', it played host to many of the new up and coming stars of the day, including Tommy Steele, Cliff Richard, Joe Brown, Johnny Kidd, and the Vipers skiffle group. It quite rightly gained a reputation as being the birthplace of British rock 'n' roll.
Although the 2i's struggled on in business until 1970, its heydays were in those early few years. To commemorate its, albeit brief, influence on British music, a Green Plaque was unveiled in September 2006. The Boulevard Bar and Dining Room now occupies the site, and the former basement club is a featureless lobby, which offers no hint of its past.