Buena Vista Cafe

Words by Simon Difford on 26-Oct-2014

Address: 2765 Hyde Street, (at Beach), San Francisco, California, 94109, United States
Tel: +1 415 474 5044
Website: view Buena Vista Cafe’s website
Door: Open door/walk-ins
Style: Restaurant bar
Food: Set menu
Established: 1916


This institution is a must visit, and whether you visit at 9am for breakfast or at 1am for a nightcap you should order an Irish Whiskey as its the Buena Vista that made the drink famous in America.

The original building where the Buena Vista sits today was a boarding house until 1916 when the landlord converted the ground floor into the Buena Vista saloon. Meaning 'Good View' in Spanish, the name is appropriate as the bar looks out over the San Francisco Bay, the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz. The location is even more auspicious due to the Powell & Hyde Street Cable line stopping immediately at the Buena Vista's doorstep, every car delivering another load of tourists to sample the famous Irish Coffee.

Locals also appreciate the Buena Vista's charm. The décor has changed little over the decades giving the room a lived in allure. Dark oak chairs and tables dot the red quarry tile floor with the large windows enveloping the room in daylight. However, grab a seat at the bar so you have a front row seat to watch the drinks making theatre played out in front of you. The skilled white jacketed bartenders effortlessly turn out a dozen Irish Coffees at a time, an average of 2,000 a day, each made with panache at breakneck speed.