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Northern California

Warm up with an Irish coffee at the Buena Vista in San Francisco, where the drink was, uh, reinvented

 (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
(Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

Why: Because even though Irish coffee wasn't invented here, it seems to have been reinvented. In any case, it's a fine place for a sip of something hot, especially on a foggy night.

What: The Buena Vista, a bar and grill that sits at the Hyde Street end of the city's most popular cable-car route, has been in business for more than a century.

Much of its fame has to do with a night in 1952, when co-owner Jack Koeppler and travel writer Stanton Delaplane set out to re-create a tasty coffee-and-whiskey drink that one of them had once been served at the airport in Shannon, Ireland.

After many setbacks and help from a few friends, they achieved success and added the drink to the menu. More or less since then, the Buena Vista has claimed to have concocted "America's first Irish coffee."

There's even a plaque. And a server says the restaurant sells 2,000 Irish coffees on a busy Saturday. (I'm pretty sure that means some people are ordering them with breakfast. Or as breakfast.)   

Where: 2765 Hyde St., San Francisco,  388 miles northwest of downtown L.A.

How much: $10 for an Irish coffee. Dinner main dishes cost $12-$28.

Info: The Buena Vista

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