Bethany Clough

This new hidden bar in northwest Fresno sells locally made wine and craft beer

Tap & Cellar opens in northwest Fresno

Tap & Cellar is a wine and craft beer bar opened by Mike Saviez. His family grows wine grapes and makes wine in Fresno and Napa Valley.
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Tap & Cellar is a wine and craft beer bar opened by Mike Saviez. His family grows wine grapes and makes wine in Fresno and Napa Valley.

There’s a new, hidden wine and craft beer bar in northwest Fresno.

OK, hidden is an overstatement. But Tap & Cellar is not where you’d expect to find it, say, in a high-profile shopping center. The business with 25 craft beer taps and locally made wine is at 317 W. Bedford Ave. That’s in an industrial area near Ingram and Alluvial avenues and due west of the Bed Bath & Beyond.

Tap & Cellar could easily be in a more upscale part of town. It has tables made from wine barrels, a patio, wood reclaimed from an old barn covering the walls and a few scattered TVs showing baseball games.

It’s a business started by Mike Saviez (pronounced SAV-ee-yay), whose family has long grown grapes in the Valley, including some that are turned into Fresno State wine. They also make wine here in Fresno, and his relatives are winemakers at Saviez Vineyards in Calistoga in the Napa Valley. (If you want an entertaining read, check out the family history on their website, which includes a French immigrant landing in Calistoga in 1890 and the government destroying their wine during Prohibition.)

Also a craft beer lover, Saviez wanted to bring both beer and wine to the business.

Tap & Cellar will soon brew its own craft beer under the name Troublemaker Brewing Co. It will be a small operation, making only enough beer to sell on site at Tap & Cellar.

Saviez chose Tap & Cellar’s location because it is zoned for brewing. Many brewers start in areas like this because the buildings have garage-like roll-up doors big enough for brewing tanks and the rent is affordable.

In fact, Pine & Palm Brewing, which just celebrated its two-year anniversary, is within walking distance at 352 W. Bedford Ave. The two places attract some of the same customers, making for a mini beer (and wine) crawl.

Tap & Cellar is still waiting on brewing equipment, but there is plenty of craft beer and wine to drink.

“Not only are we bringing stuff nobody else has, we can also spotlight local guys … from the wine to the beer,” Saviez said.

In addition, Saviez is bringing in hard-to-get beers from breweries that don’t distribute commercially. He has people who drive to pick up kegs from around the state, from San Diego to El Dorado Hills near Sacramento.

On tap recently were beers from Phantom Carriage Brewery near Los Angeles, which produces a lot of sour beers, and the hoppy IPA “When hops cry” from Mraz Brewing Co. in El Dorado Hills.

As for wine, you’ll see plenty under the Saviez label and Spirit Horse, a San Francisco-based label where Saviez used to work as a consulting winemaker.

Wines are available by the glass or the bottle.

Many of the wines are made here in Fresno, including the pinot grigio and the syrah rosé. Rosé, a pink wine ideal for drinking in hot weather, has exploded in popularity recently.

But it’s the albariño that Saviez gets excited about.

The grape is usually only grown in places like Spain and Argentina, preferring their sandy soil and climate.

But the Saviez family has found that they can grow them here too. The vineyard where the albariño grapes are grown is next to the San Joaquin River with its own microclimate.

“It has the potential to change the reputation of the Valley,” Saviez said of the albariño. “The San Joaquin Valley is not just a place where Gallo controls everything. We have great winemakers, great vineyards. We have so much more potential than what’s perceived out there.”

For now, food options are limited to a couple of charcuterie plates, though plans for a pizza oven are in the works.

Tap & Cellar plans live music Thursdays through Saturdays.

Hours: 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, noon to midnight Fridays and Saturdays and noon to 8 p.m. Sundays.

Bethany Clough: 559-441-6431, @BethanyClough

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