It’s considered a modern tradition to visit Buena Vista Cafe to order a $7.25 Irish Coffee (it was conceived here in 1952 by a local travel writer). This punch-packing quaff lures hordes of tourists before they wobble toward the cable car turnaround across the street. You may not want to hear how the bartender gets the cream to float—it’s aged for 2 days before use. Some 2,000 are served each day in high season, which means you will probably have to wait for a table on a weekend afternoon (better, probably, to come at night; it’s open until 2am). These beverages are indeed delicious, and the spublike setting is classic without being snooty.
- Erika Lennert