Golden Era cocktail lounge revives vintage Nevada City saloon |

Golden Era cocktail lounge revives vintage Nevada City saloon

Cindy Giardina wants Golden Era to be a place where people feel at home; a place they can relax, have a good time, and, of course, enjoy a good cocktail.

“We want it to be a warm, friendly gathering place,” Giardina said.

Giardina and her husband Steve have been working toward opening the cocktail lounge, located in the 150-year-old building at 309 Broad St. in Nevada City that formerly housed Cirino’s, for nearly a year.

The lounge will open its doors at 4 p.m. today, offering locals a unique take on traditional cocktails, and, beginning in December, a menu of bar bites prepared by Emily’s Catering & Cakes.

“This is just a passion I have of making people happy, feel good and have fun.”Cindy Giardinaco-owner of Golden Era

The bar will also offer beer, wine and a variety of non-alcoholic soda fountain drinks, including root beer, raspberry phosphate and ginger beer.

The lounge’s regular hours will be 4 p.m. to midnight Wednesday and Thursday, 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday and 2-10 p.m. on Sunday. The venue will also open on Tuesdays for special events.

Golden Era is a family affair, headed by Cindy, who grew up around her grandmother Edith’s restaurant business and has experience in the real estate and hospitality fields, and Steve, who has business experience in the medical industry.

Their son Eric, who tends bar at Devil’s Acre in San Francisco, has had significant input in developing the cocktail menu and their daughter Jessica has spearheaded social media efforts and will assist with customer service.

Cindy Giardina, who was a frequent diner at Cirino’s, said her family walked into the building to take a look last December; at the time, the building had been closed for awhile.

They were immediately drawn to the property, which also used to house Duffy’s Success and, in the early 1900s, Costello & Jepsen saloon.

“We just felt, we have to open this place back up,” Cindy Giardina said. “It’s so much a part of Nevada City and Nevada County.”

Giardina sought to put her signature style on the space, installing a golden ceiling, bringing in a piano and placing a rose on every table in memory of her grandmother.

But she also wanted to maintain the building’s history; the bar inside the building was made in the mid 1890s in Chicago and has been in place since 1904.

She knows locals have distinct memories of spending time in the building, because so many have stopped in as the family has been working on the space over the past year to check on its progress or share stories of its past.

That included one woman, in her mid-60s, who came in, took a seat at the bar and told Giardina, “I took my first drag of a cigarette right here from a perfect stranger.”

Giardina said her family may own the building, but she knows the space really belongs to the community.

“We’re just the current caretakers for the memories at that bar,” Giardina said.

The Giardinas also wanted to pay tribute to the classics with their cocktail menu, which features traditional drinks with a Golden Era twist. The drinks, which range from $9-11, include offerings like Miner’s Punch, a play on Pisco punch; Gold Rush Sour, their take on whiskey sour; and Jepsen’s Julep, a mint julep tribute to the Costello & Jepsen saloon. They were developed in consultation with the manager of Devil’s Acre, Darren Crawford.

“We want the community to just come in and see something they recognize and enjoy it in a new fashion,” Eric Giardina said.

All of the syrups and bitters used behind the bar are house-made, as are the lounge’s vermouth blends.

“We took a lot of time to make every ingredient special for every cocktail,” Eric Giardina said.

Cindy Giardina said the family is looking forward to welcoming people into the space. She said Golden Era is an extension of the atmosphere she strives to create whenever she welcomes friends or family into her home.

“Except this is my home now, this is my living room,” she said. “This is just a passion I have of making people happy, feel good and have fun.”

For more information about Golden Era, visit

To contact Staff Writer Emily Lavin, email or call 530-477-4230.

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