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  • Writer's pictureJenna Broughton

Cocktail Commentary: The Buena Vista Café

If you come to San Francisco there are just certain things you have to do. Take a cable car (I am not saying whether or not I sing the Full House theme song. I do.). Visit Alcatraz. See the Painted Ladies. Another one to add to the list is to have an Irish coffee at the Buena Vista Café.

Don’t let the fact that the Buena Vista Café happens to be in Fisherman’s Wharf deter you from making a visit. It is classic San Francisco, and the nearly 100-year-old building is the embodiment of charm.

But back to the Irish coffee.

The Buena Vista Café has been using the same Irish coffee recipe since 1952 when Jack Koeppler (then-owner) and international travel writer Stanton Delaplane first concocted it. While the recipe may seem simple – coffee, sugar, Tullamore Dew whiskey and whipping cream – there are small nuances that ensure a quality drink each time. For example, the whipping cream is aged for 48 hours – ensuring it floats like clouds on top of the black coffee.

I am not even a whiskey drinker, but this is one instance where I quite enjoy it. It is the perfect way to warm yourself up and/or put a little pep in your step. And I am not the only one who enjoys this liquid goodness. The Buena Vista is the largest single consumer of Irish whiskey in the country. In 2006 it was around 18,720 liter-sized bottles a year. (Source: SF Gate)

So much of the Wharf is a throwaway experience, but the Buena Vista Café offers something real and  genuine, and if you are looking for a little piece of San Francisco history then this is just the place to go.


Bailey's Irish Cream Coffee and Original Irish Coffee



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