Experience: The Buena Vista, San Francisco
Ah, the Buena Vista, the “home of Irish coffee” in the U.S. It’s on a hill overlooking Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, and they really do have great Irish coffee. You can read the story here, but essentially two guys who had had Irish coffee at the Shannon Airport in Ireland wanted to recreate what they’d had– and they ended up with probably the most famous Irish coffee in the world. Terry got addicted to these coffees a few years ago, and has perfected the recipe at home. It’s great for the winter doldrums– that much Tullamore Dew (which we have on our bar and essentially use only for Irish coffee) is bound to warm anyone up.
So I’d had these at home, and when I finally got to the Buena Vista in November, I was pleasantly surprised– theirs were just as good as Terry’s! Seriously, though, it’s an experience, albeit a touristy one, that everyone has to do when they’re in San Francisco. Watching the bartenders make the coffee is an experience in itself, and as a singleton heading to the bar, it was fun to people watch and eventually chat with a nice local couple about the Bourbon Trail in Kentucky and other points of interest in our respective home turfs. It’s a very friendly and convivial place that feels like it hasn’t changed a bit since they built it (and I think the bartenders might be the same too– they’re perfectly ageless).
I have no idea how the food is– I hear they do brunch, but I did not see anyone doing anything other than drinking. It’s just that kind of place. Good thing there was that In-n-Out down the street!