In the year Napoleon opened his campaign in Egypt, Thomas Rule promised his despairing family that he would say goodbye to his wayward past and settle down. No sooner said than he opened an oyster bar in Convent Garden. To the surprise and disbelief of his family, his enterprise proved to be not only successful but lasting.

Contemporary writers were soon singing the praises of Rules porter, pies and oysters, and remarking on the rakes, dandies and superior intelligence who comprise its clientele.