A sneak peek inside Golden Era: Nevada City’s newest lounge

IMG_4448 Longtime residents Steve and Cindy Giardina and their son Eric and daughter Jessica invited us for a sneak peek of their “labor of love” this weekend: the Golden Era on Broad Street in Nevada City.

It is expected to open to the public as early as Friday; it expects to be open from 4 p.m. until midnight on weekdays and until 2 a.m. on weekends.

We joined about 25 of San Francisco and Sacramento’s top bartenders, who rode up in a bus to preview the lounge, formerly Cirino’s at 309 Broad Street. The group included some award-winning mixologists — from bars such as Beretta, Devil’s Acre, Woodbury and Rickhouse in San Francisco and Bottle & Barlowe in Sacramento. It was an accomplished group of millennial mixologists.

The group was impressed with the Golden Era — and Nevada City. “It’s beautiful,” said Josh, a longtimer at Beretta, commenting on the interior. He also enjoyed the fresh pasty, a local “small bite” thanks to Marshall’s Pasties in Grass Valley. The cocktail menu is the handiwork of Darren Crawford, who along with Eric, have worked for Future Bars, the hottest group of bars in S.F.

We visited with the Giardinas and bartenders and sampled some of the cocktails. Examples included a “Nevada City Swizzle” (rum, Pisco, lime, raspberry syrup, Peychaud’s Bitters and seltzer) and “Grass Valley Girl” (gin, lime, sugar and allspice). Others included a “Gold Rush Sour” (bourbon, lemon, vanilla, syrup, orange bitters, and egg white) and “Miner’s Punch” (pisco, lime, pineapple, syrup, Dubonnet and bitters).

The drink menu is being formalized; that’s one reason the bartenders were on hand. Prices ranged from $9-$11 for the top-shelf spirits.

In addition, we learned that Nevada City Winery is going to make a house red for the lounge called “Golden Era Red Blend.” It is a Rhone-style wine, Steve told us. The draft beer list includes craft brews from Auburn Alehouse, among others.

Non-alcoholic drinks were offered too, including root beer, raspberry phosphate and ginger beer.

The interior is splendid. The bar is anchored by a Brunswick, Balke, Collender “Record” bar  that was made in the mid-1890’s in Chicago, and has been in place since 1904. A fireplace was glowing in one area. Each table has a fresh rose. There are original Gold Rush-era murals and other artwork. The lounge has a piano; local Lorraine Gervais will play for a private group on Thursday night.

The lounge has been lovingly restored. Cindy showed some relics, such as an “Old Maid” card game from the late 1800s.

We enjoyed our sneak peek at Golden Era and are certain it will be a hit, helping to redefine the food and drink scene in Nevada City. It is a place for adults to relax and visit with friends and family.

A Facebook photo gallery is here.

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