There might be certain instances when an Irish coffee is more suitable than others: a cold winter evening, perhaps, or in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. In truth, there’s really no wrong time to order the traditional Irish cocktail as long as it’s made with care. The cocktail came to Los Angeles via San Francisco’s Buena Vista Café, when columnist Stanton Delaplane shared the recipe with Tom Bergin’s Public House. While the Irish pub on Fairfax is sadly no more, thankfully you can find other luxurious Irish coffees in whiskey bars and other jaunts around town. Whether you’re looking for a satisfying hair-of-the-dog drink in the morning or an easy nightcap in the evening, here’s where to find Irish coffees in L.A.
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Where to find the best Irish coffee in L.A.
We’re always down to visit one of our favorite bars in L.A., and around St. Paddy’s Day, this Mar Vista gem is extra worth a visit. The team added a cold-brew take on the Irish coffee to the menu, and it smoothly blends rye with cold brew and cinnamon, then tops it all off with a coffee-liqueur foam for that extra bit of rich, creamy oomph.
Here is what we love about the Auld Dubliner: The menu doesn’t dabble in Irish dishes an drinks, it full-on embraces them. Though the Traditional Irish Coffee may be made with locally roasted coffee—as well Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey, demerara sugar, freshly whipped cream and nutmeg—it will make you feel like you’re having a drink in Ireland. Stop in throughout the week for live music, dominated by Celtic “Shamrockabilly” artists for an even more authentic feel.
You can always ask for an Irish coffee at Big Bar, and here’s why you should: Alcove Café and Bakery occupies the other half of this cozy, repurposed Craftsman home, and it serves excellent coffee (plus killer pastries). The Big Bar team is one of the strongest in the city, and uses Alcove’s always-fresh Fonté brews, then whips cream to order for a soft, pillowy, almost foam-like topping—best with one of those pastries from next door, if you ask us. And when it’s too hot for a hot drink, take advantage of the weather and this spot’s great patio with the Irish Bump, Big Bar’s cold-brew version of the cocktail.
Even if you’ve never been to Casey’s, you’re probably familiar with the sprawling, dark-wood-everything bar: It’s served as the set for just about every pub-focused scene on television in the last 20 years. The traditional hot Irish coffee is fantastic here, but their Irish Hello is just as enticing: Made with Jameson Irish Whiskey, iced coffee, demerara syrup and angostura-spiced cream, it’s a cooler version that combats sweltering L.A. afternoons spent Downtown.
At this spacious country tavern, grand iron chandeliers and wall lamps illuminate British paraphernalia on the walls, red leather booths and two dark wood-paneled bars and dining room. A friendly and helpful staff serve up a full bar of beer, wine, spirits and a stellar selection of specialty cocktails, including the Coffee Nudgie. This drink takes some liberties with a more traditional Irish coffee, using Jack Daniels, hot coffee, crème de cacao and whipped cream. They have a solid original version, too, if you can’t get past the Jack Daniels.
Whether you’re a Philippe’s fan or Cole’s French-dip enthusiast, one thing is for sure: Cole’s is where you go for cocktails. It’s also got the ambiance—one of L.A.’s oldest-operating public houses, this dim-lit restaurant and bar is lined with old-timey photos and antiques, leather booths and even a special nook in honor of longtime-fan and crime boss Mickey Cohen. His booth is the perfect place to sip a Cole’s Irish coffee—his nickname was “Irish Mickey,” after all—and at this spot, the classic cocktail can also be ordered, like a mob hit, on ice.
Opened in 2007, Seven Grand is arguably the city’s premier destination for whiskey lovers; its atmosphere is of another era, one where hard-drinking businessmen escaped the doldrums of suburban existence and hung up their hats to drink, smoke and play pool. You can ask for a hot Irish coffee any day of the week, but keep an eye out for their iced coffee version, which uses Jameson whiskey, cold brew, cream and sugar. It’s sweet, refreshing and strong all at once—and gives you enough liquid courage to challenge a stranger to a pool match.
Talk about teamwork! Menotti’s Coffee Stop and Townhouse are neighbors, so it’s no surprise that they’re happy to share customers. Grab some Cat & Cloud coffee at Menotti’s and bring it over to Townhouse, where you can get it spiked with Irish whiskey, coffee liqueur, whipped cream, syrup and nutmeg.
Those looking for a sweeter taste of the Irish can head to 189 by Dominique Ansel, sitting pretty in the Grove, where their bar makes its own Irish cream. Downstairs in the bakery you can always find fresh-made cookie shots lined with chocolate and filled with Tahitian vanilla milk, but upstairs in the restaurant, you can sip the grown-up version. Enjoy the cool blend of whiskey, cream, condensed milk and a bit of cocoa powder, all served in a warm cookie—drink the Irish cream, bite the cookie, repeat.