Hoodline crunched the numbers to find the top cocktail bars in Fresno, using both Yelp data and our own secret sauce to produce a ranked list of where to fill the bill.
1. Cracked Pepper Bistro
Photo: cracked pepper bistro/Yelp
Topping the list is Cracked Pepper Bistro. Located at 6737 N. Palm Ave. in Northwest Fresno, the cocktail bar and New American spot is the highest rated cocktail bar in Fresno, boasting four stars out of 289 reviews on Yelp.
For cocktails, you'll see options like the Two Tickets to Paradise with Tito's vodka, Coco Lopez, ginger and lemon in a frosted glass; Athena's Revenge with Nolet's gin, aperol, Gifford pamplemousse, lime and a grapefruit twist; and the Smoking Gun with High West bourbon, rosemary-infused aperol, Averna Amaro and burnt rosemary. (See the drink list here.)
On the menu, it serves high-end appetizers and entrees along with salads. Try the beef bone marrow to start, and then move on to the slow-braised short ribs. There are menus for wines by the bottle and glass as well as spirits. The restaurant website states that 60 percent of the wine is from local wineries.
Yelper Kristin D. wrote, "Hands down my favorite restaurant in Fresno. The ambiance is wonderful, whether I'm sitting at the bar having a beautiful craft cocktail, have a quiet dinner for two or there celebrating something special with a big group. The waitstaff is superb."
2. Cosmopolitan Tavern
Photo: fresno b./Yelp
Next up is Downtown Fresno's Cosmopolitan Tavern, situated at 625 O St. With four stars out of 232 reviews on Yelp, the cocktail bar, Italian and traditional American spot has proven to be a local favorite.
Open for lunch and dinner, it offers starters, salad, soup, pizza and main entrees. It tends to draw a solid crowd at lunch from people escaping from work to grab a bite. On the dinner menu, check out the Pork Osso Bucco with bone-in pork shank braised in a tomato sauce and served with Parmesan polenta; the Basque Hamburger Steak with ground Angus beef seasoned with garlic and wine, then topped with peppers, onion, goat cheese and cherry tomatoes; and the Pizza My Heart with olive oil, bacon, grapes, Gorgonzola, mozzarella and sage.
Sylvia J. said, "The bar staff are awesome and so are their creations. It's the Cosmopolitan so you have to try their Cosmopolitan cocktail. Yum! This place is an absolute jewel in Fresno's crown! Love this place and can't wait to go back!"
3. Fort Blossom Cafe Bar & Grill
Photo: celia a/Yelp
Northeast Fresno's Fort Blossom Cafe Bar & Grill, located at 9433 N. Fort Washington Road, Suite 107, is another top choice, with Yelpers giving the cocktail bar, New American and breakfast and brunch spot four stars out of 106 reviews.
Fort Blossom Cafe Bar & Grill, open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, touts itself as a scratch kitchen that serves up barbecue and Cajun fare. Stop in during lunch for a sandwich, wrap or burger, or pick from the Mexican section of the menu. There are also plenty of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages available to quench your thirst, including cocktails like the White Peach with champagne, fresh-squeezed orange juice and white peach bellini.
Nicole P. wrote, "Excellent customer service. They are always so friendly, welcoming and accommodating. Great place to come have a relaxing meal with good food and drinks. Mimosas are never disappointing and had my first Bloody Mary here--no complaints!"