It's like going home.
I have been going to the Buena Vista for Irish Coffees for over 24 years. Every time I would visit San Francisco, it would have to include an Irish Coffee at the Buena Vista.
Now that I live in SF, I keep coming back for more. I have met bartenders that work there today that I met over 20 years ago! It's like a homecoming every time I visit.
I have tried many Irish Coffees in many Irish pubs (even one I worked at for 4 years) and I've never found a better recipe than the Buena Vista!
My wife and I come here every time we come to the city. We travel by train from Rosevill, CA. to Jack London Square then ferry over. This is one of our first stops.
If you have never visited this great place it is a must.
Last day in San Francisco, entire trip was extra nice.
We decided we wanted to EAT at the Buena Vista. Got there around 1, got a table very quickly. Sat down, got menues. Blonde waitress comes over and starts throwing napkins on the table. She asked my husband and I if we wanted an Irish Coffee. We had our 2 daughters with us and declined the Irish Coffee and order regular coffee. We were all going over the menue when she came back and told us we would have to leave. That is was a bar and restaurant and we just couldn't sit there and drink coffee.
We tried to explain to her we were ordering food. She got extremely nasty and said the bus boy told her we were not eating.
After sitting there trying to figure out exactly what the problem was, we gathered up our children and left. The waitress saw us leaving and follow us out the door screaming.
We will never know if the food is good and we will never go back either.
Best to avoid this place since from other comments she seems to have a nasty attitude for no reason
Buena Vista Cafe (My favorite stop in San Francisco). I have been going to Buena Vista Cafe for the past five years it is the first stop off the plane from New York and the last stop before we go home. We dont even check in, we go straight there for our annual irish coffees. I love this place!!! Larry the bartendar has the best magic tricks, after a few irish coffees you are hooked on his magic. Plus the view from the windows is spectacular, the Golden Gate bridge, the cable car turn around. It is my favorite place in San Francisco. We come to San Francisco every September and I count the months until I return to Buena Vista and Larrys magic tricks!
Great Irish Coffees & Great People. I've been going to the "BV" for nearly twenty-five years, so this review is obviously going to be biased. The archetype of San Francisco's version of the family pub, the BV is the best place to go for a truly locals joints that also caters to tourists. And contrary to the complaints of whiners set forth in earlier reviews, the staff of the BV (many of whom I count as friends) are polite and efficient. Just take a look around you at the BV, and you'll usually see an impatient crowd, out of which many are clamoring for his or her next drink or another paper napkin. The servers run their a**es off, eight grinding hours a day. So don't be surprised if the server doesn't want to stand by as you painstakingly decide between the reuben or the patty melt. Drink-wise, stick with house specialty, the Irish Coffee, and don't make a face if you order a pina colada and it isn't as good as the one you had on Maui ten years ago. Food-wise, the BV isn't Aqua or Boulevard, not does it pretend to be. Burgers are OK, and the breakfasts give you your money's worth. Actually a lot more, see, cuz you get to look out over one of the best restaurant views in the world - the San Francisco bay, with ships gliding in and out as you drink and dine. One last note for the character who complained below about not being served his precious decaf: perhaps an assisted living facility would be more to your liking, where you can gum your pabulum-laced early-bird special and sip Sanka to your artificial heart's content. The BV is for folk who want a good time and aren't going to bring others down in getting it.
One of those places . . ..
where if you stay long enough, sooner or later you'll see everyone you know. Went for the first time in 1968, most recently in 2005 and several times in between. Can't say it has changed a lot from what I remember almost 40 years ago. It is a landmark. Great Irish coffee, decent pub food, tons of tradition.
The guy who went and asked for a decaf got what he deserved.
SNOBS!. Horrible waitress! We took a trip to San Francisco and heard that the coffee at the Buena Vista was really good. I realized it was Irish coffee, so I specifically asked for a regular decaf. We sat at the bar and I asked the waitress if they had regular decaf, and she snapped back "yeah, who doesn't, you can get decaf at McDonalds." Uh, okaaay, I thought. Then, she gave me one of the Irish coffees, which I didn't want, but I tried it anyway. It was very strong, with a shot of whisky. I?m sure it'd be really good if you're into that sort of thing, but I just needed a generic decaf, nothing special. She took the Irish coffee back, slammed it on the counter behind the bar and said "what a waste!". Skip this place, they're snobs!
Lot's of Fun. Just a fun friendly place. Mix with locals and tourists alike. Try the original Irish coffee. Space is limited, so if your claustiphobic, this is probably not the place for you. Our waitress did find us a table in the back room which was quiet, but we missed the noise out front. Thats part of its charm. Think Lucille Ball and the sinking slip in "Yours, Mine and Ours" and you get a feel for almost any weekend night at this historical bar.
Irish coffee chases the chill away at this historic bar near Fisherman's Wharf..
This place claims to be the birthplace of Irish coffee. Whether that's fact or fiction, the java here is amazingly tasty. Strong coffee is stiffened with a generous shot of Irish whiskey and topped with a float of heavy, sweet cream. Thanks to the bar's wall-to-wall papering of old newspaper and magazine articles touting the joys of this signature drink, few patrons (mostly tourists) try anything else. There's also full menu of slightly upscale coffeeshop bites.
Thumbs Up for Buena Vista. Yes, its crowded, yes its hard to get a seat most of the time...but its a famous ICON in San Francisco! sometimes you haveto put up with inconvenience..the Irish coffee is great (small glasses for the price tho)...the view is like no other..ambiance is festive and fun, and you never know who you will run into...and the sweet potatoe fries are worth any of the negatives the viewers mention. If you are in SF, you MUST go!
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