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Coffee. Whiskey. Cream. Sugar. The ingredients are simple enough for the drink known the world over as Irish Coffee. Yet, like snowflakes, it seems that no two places serve the hot and sweet concoction exactly the same. That’s why we here at Irish Central have compiled a list of the 10 best places to grab an Irish coffee in the US.

First a little Irish coffee history for you.

The first Irish coffee was served in Ireland in the 1940s at what is known today as Shannon Airport by the head chef Joseph Sheridan. Apparently Sheridan added whiskey to coffee to warm up passengers as they got off their Pan Am Flying Boat. When asked the name of this peculiar drink he replied “Irish coffee”.

The travel writer at the time for the San Fransisco chronicle, Stanton Delaplane, brought the recipe back to the states and namely to the Buena Vista Café in San Fransisco where the first Irish coffee was served on Novemeber 10th 1952.

To perfect the drink, Buena Vista bar owners worked with the town mayor to perfect the art of floating  the cream on top of the coffee. They discovered that cream aged for more than 48 hours would work best.

The Irish coffee as we know it today was born.

Here are the best spots in the United States to grab an Irish coffee:

1.    Buena Vista
2765 Hyde St (@ Beach)
San Francisco, CA 94109
Phone: 415-474-5044

2.    Rochambo Coffee and Tea House
1317 East Brady Street
Milwaukee, WI 53202-1612
(414) 291-0095

3.    The Dubliner Irish Pub
Number 4 "F" Street,
Washington, D.C. 20001
(202) 737-3773

4.    Nearys Pub
358 E. 57th Street, New York, NY
Tel: (212) 751-1434

5.    Celtic Crossings
751 North Clark St.
Chicago, IL, 60451
Phone : - 312 337 1005

6.    T.S. McHugh's Irish Pub
21 Mercer St.
Seattle, WA 98109
(206) 282-1910

7.    Black Rose
160 State St
(between India St & Chatham Row)
Boston, MA 02109
(617) 742-2286

8.    McGurk's Irish Pub

1200 Russell Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 6310

9.    McGuire's Irish Pub
 600 E. Gregory St.
Pensacola, FL 32501-9971
(850) 433-6789

10.    Rula Bula Irish Pub

401 S. Mill Ave.
Tempe, AZ

For my money and my taste buds I will stick to the grand daddy of them all. The Buena Vista in San Fransisco. According to Irish Coffe expert  and former San Fransisco resident Joleen Grussing, “it’s a cozy spot, but these days is mostly frequented by tourists.” And oh boy are  those tourists in for some treat. mmmmm

Visit our special St. Patrick's Day section


The art of making a proper Irish coffee