The Latin-infused Fruit Bat bar opens tonight at 1236 H St. NE, in the former home of the H Street Martini Lounge. The new bar offers an array of fresh-fruit cocktails, tapas, and cushy seats, and just as important, its South American décor, reminiscent of a Colombian summer, almost erases the grit and construction zone outside.
Erik Holzherr, half-Colombian and the mixologist behind the Southeast cocktail parlor DC Wisdom, threw together the Fruit Bat concept with general manager Roxanna Fereydouni. Fruit bats are nocturnal and known to devour juice from fruits – a clever metaphor for the pair’s fresh-juice concept.
“She was really pushing for an urban oasis. A relief from the construction and grittiness of H Street,” Holzherr says. “Kind of a feeling of healthy and fresh.”
“It’s hard to mess up a drink with fresh fruit,” Fereydouni says. “Most people are just used to getting juice from the gun.”
Cocktails are mixed with a variety of fresh fruit, which will change with the seasons. La Revolucion and the Colombian Necktie are two that grace the drinks menu. The former is a mix of Bluecoat gin, apricot liquor, fresh grape fruit, and soda, while the latter has banana rum, aguardiente liquor, and fresh orange juice.
The bar also offers liquors infused with fruit and spices, and fruit beers on tap, like a raspberry lambic. If fruit isn’t your thing, the Bat also has a selection of South American and European bottled beers.
Holzherr wanted to concentrate on cocktails but make them “a little more approachable and people friendly, with a better price point,” he says. Specialty cocktails range from $8 to $10.
In the kitchen, the Fruit Bat serves up a menu reminiscent of South American street food – fried plantains with sour cream, coconut basmati rice and beans, handmade tortillas, and Cubano tacos, to name a few.
The bar will be open Wednesday through Saturday. The operation maybe, just maybe, will host live music, like salsa nights, Fereydouni says.
Holzherr hopes to open up the second floor in October or November, with an entirely different concept, which he wouldn’t divulge.
“That’s my real baby. That one was in the works in my head for years,” he says. “I plan to market it as an adult bar on H Street. A lot of the bars appeal to a younger crowd, so I want to appeal to a bit older crowd upstairs.”
And no, there probably won’t be any naked people – but you never know, he says.
Photos by Kim Chi Ha.