We combine optical microspectroscopy and electronic measurements to study how gold deposition affects the physical properties of graphene. We find that the electronic structure, the electron-phonon coupling, and the doping level in gold-plated graphene are largely preserved. The transfer lengths for electrons and holes at the graphene-gold contact have values as high as 1.6 μm. However, the interfacial coupling of graphene and gold causes local temperature drops of up to 500 K in operating electronic devices. © 2011 American Chemical Society.