Nevada City: home of handcrafted beer and cocktails

FEW FOOTHILLS TOWNS HAVE EMBRACED the boom in craft beers and cocktails more than Nevada City. The foothills town has two award-winning craft beer breweries—ol’ Republic Brewery and Three Forks Brewery & Baking Co. for locals and visitors.**

Ol’ Republic won a first place “best of show” award in the 2016 California State Fair commercial craft brew competition for its Dead Canary, a Dortmunder/Export Lager style beer. And Three Forks Bakery & Brewing Co. in Nevada City won a first place award in the Imperial IPA category for its Dynamite Double IPA.

When it comes to craft cocktails, the Golden Era lounge in downtown Nevada City is arguably the most inviting cocktail lounge in the foothills. It is well worth a visit, coupled with dinner, a show, or a weekend get-away to the historic town.

Golden Era—which just celebrated its first anniversary—serves perfect hand-crafted cocktails (with names such as “Miner’s Punch,” “Gold Rush Sour” or “Nevada City Swizzle”), as well as craft beers, local wines and non-alcoholic soda fountain drinks. Weekend music includes piano or soft jazz.

The space harkens back to the Gold Rush era, with a decorative gold tin ceiling, chandelier, Edison lights, and polished wooden floors. A fireplace glows in one seating area. The bar area is anchored by a Brunswick, Balke, Collender “Record” bar that was made in the mid-1890s in Chicago.

Lefty’s has become synonymous with “the perfect bite,” thanks to its imaginative and seasonal menu. This past year Lefty’s achieved a milestone: it now serves “the perfect cocktail.” Customers can order their old favorite cocktail or a new craft cocktail—just like they can order a “standard” pepperoni pizza or an edgy Napa pizza from the menu.

Across the street from Lefty’s, the Stone House is expected to re-open this winter after a major restoration, offering handcrafted cocktails, farm-to-table cuisine and a special events venue.

The banquet room is downstairs and is a more private experience, ideal for larger parties, luncheons, special occasions, and rehearsal dinners. “The extension of our dining area gives us the opportunity to host large parties,” says co-owner Chris Duncan.


Sunset magazine named Nevada City as the nation’s No.1 “Best Value Town” in its February issue, citing the quality of life, affordability and arts scene.

(Photo: Kial James)

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