Day drinking begins early at San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf. A white-jacketed bartender steps up to the long wooden bar at the Buena Vista Café and lines up a dozen tulip-shaped glasses. Into each go two white sugar cubes pulled from a bulk box. Then comes hot black coffee in a continuous steaming stream from a diner-style pot. Next: Irish whiskey, delivered in a dramatic long pour all along the line of waiting glassware. Last comes the cream—aged for half a week and then lightly whipped in a milkshake blender—ladled gently from a metal pint glass like a fluffy floe.
The pattern will continue all day long—filling anywhere from 2,000 to 3,500 glasses—until the bartender’s white jacket sleeves are spattered with coffee and the century-old tavern shutters at 2 a.m.