A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE BUENA VISTA
The original building where the Buena Vista sits
today was a boardinghouse until 1916 when the landlord converted the
first floor into a saloon. That saloon was named the Buena Vista. ("Good
View" in Spanish) The view was good indeed and it served as a
warm meeting place for hundreds of fishermen and handlers who worked
for the nearby Sardine Cannery. There they could take in a whiskey while
scouting the bay for incoming fishing boats which would mean, "Quick!
Finish your drink and back to meet the boats!"
In 1952, with the help of a Pulitzer-Prize winning
writer, the Buena Vista introduced to the world it's now famous Irish
Coffee. The recipe has never changed and the view is still quite
EXCERPT FROM HERB CAEN'S ARTICLE:
ONLY IN SAN FRANCISCO
THE CABLE CAR has the zaniness that "could
only happen in San Francisco." With a few grumpy exceptions, this
city is crazy about cables, crazy to keep them, perhaps crazy to have
them. No other city would want a cable car system, and that is just
fine. The cable car is our literal steel link with a past that is vanishing
too fast, fading from sight just beyond the hill. We know there was
a magic about the city, and were not quite sure where it went.
But we do know we feel it whenever a cable emerges lopsidedly out of
the fog, or waddles over a hill at dusk like an old woman with an armful
of packages. We feel young again, in love with the city again, whenever
we stand on the outside step, staring across the Green Valley to Coit
Tower, or looking askance down the fearsome Hyde St. hill toward that
Irish Coffee at the Buena Vista. Then the sea wind stings our cheeks
and we feel the tingle of pride in being San Franciscans. How intelligent
of us to live here!