PHOTO/DAVID ROBERT: Chris Costa prepares an Aperol spritz.

In my travels, people often present me with cocktail menus and offerings that are a universe of complexity, showcasing tons of ingredients and techniques. While there is nothing inherently wrong with this idea, I am often left asking: Why?

Editing is the most indispensable skill a bar can showcase, because to edit a drink or menu is to whittle it down to its most essential parts. I want to know that each idea on your menu is there for a reason, not just to showcase what you can do for the sake of doing it. You rarely glimpse this style of care and curation like you do at Cosmo’s Snack Bar.

Nestled in the heart of the Wells Avenue neighborhood, the brand-new pizza restaurant is home to some of Reno’s most outstanding pizzas and snacks. Aside from the world-class pizza, it is also the new home of co-managing partner/owner Chris Costa, the 18-year Reno bar veteran whose last project, Reno Public House, helped usher in a new era of laid-back excellence that helped define the Midtown Reno style.

“I found myself returning to the tried-and-true things that I genuinely enjoy after this long in the industry, so this is a return to basics for me,” Costa explained as he described his vision for the new bar program at Cosmo’s. “We want to be on the map because people know we do something very specific very well,” he said.

With a limited, thoughtful menu, Cosmo’s aims to capture your attention with quality over quantity. The primary options are a build-your-own spritz, a draft negroni, four draft beers and three wines on tap. But not all things must be Italian in this pizza joint.

“We are not dogmatic about it having to be Italian,” said Costa. “We want to have the best things for our food.”

He and his staff are aiming for local beers, curated spirits and the best possible wine matches.

In true European fashion, Costa recommends at least three drinks on the table at once. “Open up with a spritz; get a light appetizer; get a couple of pizzas; dive into some wine as day becomes night; and end it with some soft serve with a splash of Amaro,” he said. This style of a long, relaxed dinner in a minimalist dining room full of friends and laughter is the end goal for Costa, who is someone who will open a favorite wine and fill the cup of anyone willing to try something new.

Cultivating quality requires style and nuance. It requires a dedication to a concept and an unwavering attention to detail. The whole team at Cosmo’s has spent the past few years thinking through those details so that when you walk through the door, the options are limited—but perfect. They want you to feel wrapped up in their best intentions, and to me, that is the definition of hospitality.

Cosmo’s Snack Bar is located at 253 E. Arroyo St. and is open daily.

Michael Moberly has been a bartender, spirits educator and columnist in Northern Nevada for 15 years. He is the current beverage innovation manager at Monin, and owns his own events and consulting company,...

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