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The LAist Irish Coffee Drink-off

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Just in time for St Paddy's Day, we check out some of the Irish coffees around town. Screw green beer. That stuff will kill you. After drinking many Irish Coffees in the name of serious scientific research, I have discovered a good Irish coffee relies on two relatively simple elements: the freshness of the coffee and use of real heavy cream


#1 Tom Bergin's
Tom Bergin's is known as the home of Irish coffee, at least in the United States. Others claim that distinction belongs to the Buena Vista of San Francisco. The coffee at Tom Bergin's was hot and fresh, without a trace of bitterness. They used Powers whiskey and such a thick float of cream I mistook it for Bailey's at first. I could drink these all night. It won by a mile. However, I suggest you stay the hell away from Tom Bergin's on St Patrick's unless you want to take your life into your hands. Even on a Saturday night, this bar is packed to the gills. If you are lucky, you can get valet parking and perch on an extremely uncomfortable bench around a square bar surrounded by the kind of people you try to avoid at work.

#2 O'Brien's
O'Briens in Santa Monica also uses fresh, fresh coffee and a generous float of cream. They have a variety of coffee drinks, using frangelico, brandy, and other liquers. There is plenty of comfortable seating, a full menu, and parking in back. It will also be a madhouse on St Pats. People will probably wander between O'Brien's and Sonny's.

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#3 Seven Grand
This cozy home of Scottish kitsch serves up the standard Irish coffee, created by Joe Sheridan in 1942 at Foynes Airport, Ireland. Seven Grand uses the traditional "Power's Irish Whiskey, Coffee, and Fresh Whipping Cream, a-la-minute". The coffee was strong and fresh, and the cream was thick and rich. They did not add sugar, so I asked for a little simple syrup, which made the drink perfection.

#4 The Golden Gopher
The Gopher uses Jamesons because they don't carry Powers. A fresh pot of coffee was brewed just for me and there was a nice float of cream on top. When I asked for a little sugar, the bartender also knowingly gave me simple syrup rather than a clump of sugar. And you've gotta love the gopher lamps.