Buena Vista Cafe

2765 Hyde Street, San Francisco, CA


Buena Vista Cafe

Photo taken by Richard Doody in July 2010



The building where the Buena Vista sits today was built in 1891 as a boardinghouse with the Royal Stag Saloon on the ground floor. It survived the 1906 earthquake. The Buena Vista replaced the Royal Stag in 1916.

The Buena Vista introduced Irish coffee to America in 1952. On the night of November 10th in that year Buena Vista owner Jack Koeppler, challenged Pulitzer Prize-winning San Francisco Chronicle columnist Stanton W. Delaplane to help re-create a highly touted "Irish Coffee" served at Shannon Airport in Ireland. Stan Accepted Jackís invitation, and the pair began to experiment immediately.

Throughout the night the two of them stirred and sipped judiciously and eventually acknowledged two recurring problems. The taste was "not quite right," and the cream would not float. Stanís hopes sank like the cream, but Jack was undaunted. The restaurateur pursued the elusive elixir with religious fervor, even making a pilgrimage overseas to Shannon Airport.

Upon Jackís return, the experimentation continued. Finally, the perfect-tasting Irish whiskey was selected. Then the problem of the bottom-bent cream was taken to San Franciscoís mayor, a prominent dairy owner. It was discovered that when the cream was aged for 48 hours and frothed to a precise consistency, it would float as delicately as a swan on the surface of Jackís and Stanís special nectar.

Update Log 

  • April 11, 2019: New photo from Richard Doody
  • April 10, 2019: New photo from Richard Doody
  • April 10, 2019: Updated by Richard Doody: corrected historical info
  • April 10, 2019: Added by Richard Doody


  • Richard Doody