The Green Dragon Tavern was founded as a coffeehouse in 1697 in the middle of Boston's financial district, and may have been the first commercial source of coffee in the American colonies. For most of its existence, ale and rum were more commonly served than coffee.

In 1773, with the passing of the Stamp Act and the Boston Tea Party, coffee dramatically moved from being a drink of pleasure and luxury to a drink of patriotism. Noted radical terrorists John Hancock, John Adams, and Paul Revere met regularly to discuss acts of sedition. In fact, when Revere left on his famous The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere to activate the Sons of Liberty cells throughout Massachusetts, the signals were planned and he galloped forth from this very Inn.

In 1765, the sign on the door appears to have read:

Daniel Webster once called the Green Dragon "the birthplace of the American Revolution."

Today, Green Dragon Authentic Coffees, including the infamous Midnight Rebel, is the corporate descendent of the Green Dragon Tavern.