Renovation of Grass Valley’s Holbrooke Hotel will honor authenticity (PHOTO GALLERY) |

Renovation of Grass Valley’s Holbrooke Hotel will honor authenticity (PHOTO GALLERY)

Know & Go

What: The Holbrooke Hotel

Where: 212 West Main St., Grass Valley

Saloon hours: 7:30 a.m.-11 p.m., food service until 9 p.m. Monday-Thursday and until 10 p.m. Friday-Sunday

For info: Call 530-460-1945, email or go online to

The Holbrooke Hotel is up and running after a short ownership transition period, with the rooms and common areas getting a deep clean and spruce-up.

The Golden Gate Saloon, which is being reconfigured into a combined bar and restaurant, has reopened with a fresh new menu. Hotel owner Jordan Fife said he expects to have his liquor license this week and then will be able to serve alcohol.

Part of the renovation of the historic hotel on Grass Valley’s West Main Street is stripping away some of the layers to reveal the beauty of, for example, the copper-clad walls in the saloon. Fife plans to add more and to lighten the walls and ceiling to set off the burnished metal.

Fife will re-connect the front bar and what was the “library” by taking out the double doors between the two spaces, and moving the registration “desk” back to what he suspects was its original location and function as part of the bar.

Fife also plans to better connect the inside and outside, with a revamped patio that will be hedged in and screened from the parking lot to create a “secret garden” feel. The concrete that currently anchors the patio will be torn up and replaced with gravel eating areas and water features. Fife envisions a fire pit that will function as the setting for interactive campfire dining featuring “hobo dinners” (think old-school cookout meals wrapped in tinfoil) and “mountain pies” with both sweet and savory fillings.

“This will be a romantic courtyard,” Fife said. “It’s really under-utilized right now.”

Fife and his staff already have unveiled a menu developed with the help of Nate Overstreet and Ashly Amador, whose highly anticipated restaurant, Watershed, is set to open on Mill Street in the coming months.

“We want to be really proud of what we’re serving, with the best possible ingredients and the cleanest, loveliest food we can produce,” Fife said of the menu, which he characterizes as Western campfire food, updated — i.e., a “pork & beans” that is actually more of a cassoulet with ham hocks, garlic sausage and navy beans. Some of the hotel’s old favorites, such as potato skins and fish & chips, remain on the menu, “elevated” with fresh, from-scratch interpretations.

The Holbrooke will bring back the tradition of “house bands” on Wednesday and Sundays, but will skew the sound to bluegrass and old-time country with Ragged But Right, and Past Due and Playable, on tap so far. Open mike and karaoke nights, as well as trivia, are also being planned.

Fife next plans to turn his attention to the free-standing Victorian-era Purcell House that sits behind the main hotel. He will grade and landscape in front into a romantic garden suitable for wedding receptions. The house will be available to rent by the room or as a whole, and the rooms will be refurbished to have a completely different vibe from the main hotel, Fife said.

After the Purcell House is revamped, the team will move back to the Holbrooke, starting with the upstairs rooms. After that, the bar and lobby will be reconfigured. And last on the list will be the Iron Door downstairs, re-imagined as a speakeasy.

“For now we are open (as is), but the changes will be really spectacular,” Fife promised.

Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at

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