It started with a casual text message to a college friend who worked down at the Embarcadero. Drinks? Sure, most would kill for one after a 9 to 5, but we wanted something immortal, the San Franciscan “nectar of the gods:” the Irish Coffee over at The Buena Vista.
Proudly established as the birthplace of the drink, the Buena Vista’s location on a corner of Hyde and Beach Street is prime, being the perfect last stop on the Hyde Cable Car line after the plunge down the steep hill onto Fisherman’s Wharf. That’s actually how I got to the bar–sailing down and only clinging to a pole as I leaned out on the iconic trolley’s side; your stomach is churning at this point, either in anticipation for the Irish Coffee or the adrenaline of just missing parked cars only by inches.
It’s a welcoming place–a diner and bar that’s dark and wood-paneled like an old pub. Inside is casual and warm, literally and figuratively as you walk in, but it’s crowded, conjuring that home-sweet-home sentiment with the addition of your neighbors eating in your kitchen. Nonetheless, the bar and grub pub is a touch of comfort you look forward to after work, and given the holiday season in motion now, it sure gets fancy with cheap crepe and tinsel decorations to fit the occasion.
But now, down to that kick in a cup. The Irish Coffee exists simply as the following infused:
Two sugar cubes
Coffee (Peerless brand, as the Buena Vista proudly states)
Dollop of whipped cream
Trust this Sage– especially because of the weird frost that contrasts the now-sunny weather that slowly steps out of December, this is your go-to drink. And for The Buena Vista? Safely said, it’s just the go-to. Evenings out can’t be beaten by San Francisco’s finest coffee beverage, nor its most iconic transportation to get there.
PHOTO CREDS: Cable Car passing Buena Vista archive, Bartender Larry archive: The Buena Vista website; Original Photos: Paris Kim.