As I sipped my classic Irish Coffee while sitting at the bar of San Francisco’s Buena Vista Cafe, for just a moment I was transported back to a gentler time. Irish Coffee at the Buena Vista is a bit cliché, but it’s part of my history, my memories from living in this town that I love so much.
On our recent visit, we hopped on a cable car, headed down to the corner of Beach and Hyde in Fishermans Wharf, and joined tourists and locals in a tradition. We ordered the most common item on the menu, the one that earned bartender Frank Silloti the title of 2002 World Irish Coffee Making Champion.
I started the conversation, “I was told to come here for an Irish Coffee.” The quick-witted bartender simply replied, “Do you always do what you’re told?” Was he Frank, the award winner who has worked here for over 30 years. Some say yes, but when I asked him his name he replied, “Nicolas if you like it, George if you don’t.”
He was happy for me to photograph the process (as outlined on their webpage) of the six steps to making an Irish Coffee at the Buena Vista:
Practical and Historical Information:
- The Buena Vista Cafe is a full-service restaurant, offering much more than Irish Coffee.
- According to a plaque, we spotted on the wall, the bar opened in 1886. It’s a San Francisco classic, maybe even an American classic.
- It sits at a corner in Fisherman’s Wharf at 2765 Hyde Street. We took the cable car to get there using the pass included on our San Francisco CityPASS.
- It opens at 9 am during the week and 8 am on the weekends, always closing at 2 am.
- They have been serving Irish Coffee since 10 November 1952 when travel writer Stanton Delaplane accepted the challenge to create an Irish Coffee like those enjoyed in Shannon Airport Ireland.
- Arriving via cable car is half the fun.
- Want to make your own? This recipe book looks pretty interesting: I Love Coffee! Over 100 Easy and Delicious Coffee Drinks
Have you had a classic Irish Coffee at the Buena Vista in San Francisco?
If you like this article, please share it on social media, including Pinterest: