Recipe In Memoriam: The Late (*sniff) Tom Bergin’s Irish Coffee

Raise a final glass to the L.A. landmark


A slow rendition of “Danny Boy” has been echoing through the halls of Los Angles magazine HQ since Sunday. See, the 77-year-old Tom Bergin’s, which closed this past Sunday due to slow business, was a quick two-minute stroll from our Wilshire offices. And so it was beneath the pub’s shamrocked ceiling that we celebrated countless birthdays, promotions, retirements, and awards, or just soothed the sting of a particularly grueling day with something stiff, brown, and old. In a 2001 article, writer Jesse Katz memorialized the thrilling moment he earned his very own loyalty shamrock, which—along with 6,000-and-some others—still hangs in the place today. Sure, our staff did plenty of damage to the tavern’s Guinness taps over the years, but there’s no beverage more associated with Bergin’s than the Irish Coffee. Decades before Red Bull and vodka became L.A.’s upper-and-downer of choice, the smooth mix of coffee, Irish whiskey, and cream was perking us up and dulling our senses with one steaming cup. Last year, cocktail wiz Marcos Tello spruced up the drink by stripping it of all the essentials (no Baileys, please!). The result was comforting, simple, and familiar in a way that mirrored the historic watering hole itself. Bergin’s, you will be missed. We raise this glass to you.


Courtesy of Marcos Tello
1-1/4 oz. Bushmill’s Irish Whiskey
1/2 oz. Demerara Syrup
4 oz. Medium Roast Coffee
Strauss Organic Dairy Whipping Cream, lightly whipped
Fill a Georgian glass with piping hot water, set aside for at least 1 minute.
Dump the hot water from the Georgian, add the whiskey and syrup, plus the coffee.
Top with fresh whipped Strauss Organic Dairy Whipping Cream.

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  • Tripp Fell

    So sad about Tommy Bergin’s. A rare & true tavern/pub decidedly NOT-L.A. that will be missed greatly, especially the delightfully debonair Chris Doyle behind the bar on Friday’s who so often helped us through our liquid lunch for the greater part of the last 13 years.

    Btw, don’t know who Marcos Tello is, or what he has to do with Bergin’s, but the Irish Coffee recipe posted in the article is definitely NOT the REAL Bergin’s Irish Coffee recipe. I have said real recipe, (I got it from the master, Chris Doyle, himself and it most certainly does not include Bushmill’s) but I’m not telling. It’s too good to pass along….

  • Patricia Macias

    RIP Tom Bergin’s.
    This is very sad news. I left LA 20 years ago but continue to subscribe to LA mag. I get lost each time I return to visit. But there are some things we think are immortal, at least in our time. Not so. Bergin’s closing is sacrilegious.