San Francisco: Getting “The” Irish Coffee.

I’m going to San Francisco! As soon as the trip became a reality what was the first thing that came to mind? The Buena Vista Cafe and their Irish Coffee. Low and behold soon after arrival, I saw this sign up close at the corner of Hyde and Beach Streets.

San Francisco - The Buena Vista Cafe - Fisherman's Wharf - Irish Coffee

The Buena Vista has roots on this corner back to 1916 when it opened as a saloon. Buena Vista in Spanish means “Good View” which definitely applies as it sits within Fisherman’s Wharf and across the street from where people get on the famed cable cars and go up the steep hills to Lombard Street and points beyond.

Naturally it was crowded inside. I found a spot as far away from the bar as one could get. 😦 No matter Irish coffee deliciousness awaits.

San Francisco - The Buena Vista Cafe - Irish Coffee

Great memories brought me here as well, having enjoyed many fun times growing up. I remember watching them make the Irish Coffee, though when young, I didn’t grasp the Irish part haha. Just the pouring of the coffee helped lead the way to where I am today, lot’s of coffee consumption and time watching them make it from to many coffeehouses to count.

San Francisco - The Buena Vista Cafe - Irish Coffee

Getting a closer shot of the bar I watched the whole process unfold. With the empty glasses lined up, they first put a couple of sugar cubes in the bottom of each glass and then poured in the hot, black coffee. Next they quickly dragged the Irish whiskey bottle across them and topped each with a little creamy froth.

I heard they make 1000’s of these a day and more whiskey is consumed here on a year-by-year basis then anywhere else in the United States. They currently use Tillamore Dew Irish whiskey.

While watching the process, I realized one of those was mine! There it is.

San Francisco - The Buena Vista Cafe - Irish Coffee

I was back at a place of my youth consuming something I remember seeing everyone else drink. Their Irish Coffee making goes back to 1952 and has become an icon in the city of San Francisco and known to some, include me, around the country as “The” Irish Coffee.

I’d been there before as an adult, but I wasn’t that much into whiskey so I passed. What could have I been thinking. Between liking whiskey more, becoming a lover of coffee and wanting to rekindle memories of youth, The Buena Vista was a must stop on this trip. If I could only get my hands on a world record sized Irish Coffee haha. πŸ™‚

The top item on my San Francisco to-do list was checking off and hopefully one day you can check this place off of yours. Checkout their website and story.

Any must stopsΒ Β for Irish Coffee that you’ve come across in your travels? Where are some of your go-to places for eats and drinks in San Francisco?

8 responses to “San Francisco: Getting “The” Irish Coffee.

  1. I’m not much of a whiskey fan either, but I always try the specialty of the house. I’d certainly order one here. I love that you revisited a place from your past.

    • I always try the specialties too wherever I go, whether I would normally drink them or not. Yeppers, great memories brought back. πŸ™‚ Looking around it was like I was just there yesterday.

  2. I would most definitely try that!! So you say you did not grasp the concept when you went as a kid – but does that mean you were SERVED the whiskey in your coffee or not? πŸ˜‰

    • No serving of the whiskey to me. πŸ™‚ I should have mentioned that. At least I don’t think there was any in there haha…

  3. We just moved to SF and are still learning all of the cool things this city has to offer. Def will try out this cafe next time we’re in the area.

    • Wow, jealous. Can’t be in that city enough! Let me know how you guys like Buena Vista. Will have to ask in the future about what hidden gems you guys discover. Enjoy! πŸ™‚

  4. I can vouch for its superiority! You make me want to walk over there and wait for them to open!

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