California Gold Bar Brings the Roaring Twenties to San Rafael

Death Proof, a “lethal” blend of dark rum, Calvados, orange and aromatic bitters, is just one of the pre-tiki-era handmade drinks on the menu at San Rafael’s California Gold. The brainchild of Tam High alumnus Isaac Shumway and co-owner and life partner Rhia, the slickly comfortable space is decked out in a style befitting the Roaring Twenties. Tufted deep-red bar stools and banquette seating in booths are ideal for hanging out awhile.

A pressed-tin ceiling and dark-green walls lined with books, old maps and paintings of clipper ships hearken back to an earlier era in California’s history. Upward lighting casts the L-shaped room in a warm glow, the bronze statues and gold lamps glittery and incandescent.

Ignacio Gonzalez, famous for his handicraft at San Francisco cocktail bars Smuggler’s Cove and Whitechapel, designed a room that thoughtfully reflects the region’s diverse roots and seafaring history. The Shumways matched the mood with a range of beer styles from across California on the 12 taps and also included globally sourced wines. But the Tropical, Smash and Thunderbolt cocktails made with produce sourced from the San Rafael farmers markets are the big attention-getters.


Co-owners and life partners Isaac and Rhia Shumway


California Gold brings pre-tiki-era cocktails to San Rafael’s craft cocktail scene


848 B Street, San Rafael

This article originally appeared on

How to Help During COVID-19

There are so many local restaurants that need your help right now. For more ways to support local businesses, go here.

For more from Better:

Christina MuellerChristina Mueller is a long-time Bay Area food writer. She hails from the East Coast and has spent way too much time in South America and Europe. She discovered her talent as a wordsmith in college and her love of all things epicurean in grad school. She has written for Condé Nast Contract PublishingSunset, and the Marin Independent Journal, among others. She volunteers with California State Parks and at her child’s school, and supports the Marin Audubon SocietyPEN America, and Planned Parenthood. When she is not drinking wine by a fire, she is known to spend time with her extended family.v

  Who We Are       NFP Support       Magazine       Programs       Donate