Best Irish Coffee in San Francisco

March 14, 2017
by Zagat Staff

Whether it's the grandfather of Irish coffee in the U.S. or an inventive take on the classic winter warmer, here are the top spots in the city to get some kick in your coffee.

New American · Alamo Square · $$$
Food 4.6 · Decor 4.3 · Service 4.4

"The overall buzz has not subsided" at this Alamo Square Californian that’ll "rock your socks" with "earthy" locavore dishes to "dream about" (including "acclaimed" wood-fired burgers) delivered alongside "outstanding cocktails" in an "energizing" duplex space manned by an "efficient" crew; prices are "decent" , brunches are "fantastic" and it's a "favorite late-night spot" , so the "only disappointing thing is the wait."
Tosca Cafe
Cafe · North Beach · $$$
Food 4.2 · Decor 4.2 · Service 4.1

A "wonderful transformation" of a city "landmark" , this longtime North Beach bar is now owned by Ken Friedman and April Bloomfield (NYC's Spotted Pig) who have "kept the best parts" – the red leather booths, checkered floor and vintage murals – and added a "delicious" Italian menu; "knowledgeable" servers keeps the "vibrant scene" humming till late, and even when it gets "pricey" , fans say it still "feels authentic" and are "so glad it survived."
The Buena Vista
Cafe · Fisherman's Wharf · $
Food 3.9 · Decor 4.1 · Service 4.0

"Smooth" Irish coffee that will "warm you up" "on a cold, foggy day" keeps this Fisherman's Wharf "classic" "bustling with locals and tourists" alike; the interior has "hardly changed" from when the place opened in 1916, and "quaint" servers dishing out "decent" fare, including "hearty" breakfasts, add to the "wonderful throwback" atmosphere, but for many the house-specialty elixir "is enough."
Johnny Foley's Irish House
Irish Pub · Tenderloin · $$
Food - · Decor 4.4 · Service 4.3

“A convivial mix of tourists and locals” heads to this “authentic” Tenderloin “public house” for pints of Guinness and “hearty” portions of “very good” pub grub; the staff oozes “charming hospitality” and the nightly live music “rocks” , from bands on the main floor to the “lively” “dueling pianos” below, so most maintain it “has the magic to keep people coming back.”
The Liberties Bar & Grill
Gastropub · Noe Valley · $

“Everybody is a little bit Irish” at this “stylin’ pub” on a mostly residential block of the Mission, a “relaxed place” with “decent service” whether you’re catching the game in the main bar or supping on upscale pub grub in one of the more sedate side rooms; either way, the “awesome atmosphere” , “terrific specials throughout the week” and sidewalk seating (weather permitting) add to its “value.”
Little Shamrock
Bar · Inner Sunset · $

A “friendly” “neighborhood hangout” that “hasn’t changed much since it opened its doors” in 1894, this Inner Sunset Irish pub is “cool” in an “old-fashioned way” ; it has “lots of character – and characters” too, who head here to browse the board games and “meet new people” over “cheap” pints.
Vesuvio Cafe
Cocktail Bar · Chinatown · $$

“Have yourself a whiskey and toast Kerouac” or just “relax” with “your copy of Howl” at this “legendary” “beatnik hangout” on the Chinatown border, “conveniently” located near City Lights Bookstore, where an “eclectic mix” of tourists and locals checks out the “crazy quilt” of “memorabilia” on the walls before ordering a “decently priced” drink from the “knowledgeable” bartenders; regulars recommend a “table by the windows upstairs” as the perfect place for “people-watching.”