Like the 90’s R&B soundtrack on its stereo, Fruit Bat on a Thursday night is mellow and delicious. Between the homey feel of The Pug and the electic and sometimes shocking vibe at The Red Palace, Fruit Bat is a gem on H Street. Between wild and divey, it’s just the right kind of relaxed for a serious cocktail bar.
Walking in around dinnertime, the only people around are some drink vendors and the staff. Most of the crowd on H Street must not know that Fruit Bat’s tiny kitchen churns out delicious homemade tacos. Though billed as a bar, Fruit Bat features a Central American vibe and fare: steak, fish or pork tacos arrive along with lightly fried plantains and yucca fries.
The staff is genuinely friendly and directs me to the Spanish OR-G, a mixture of sparkling wine and fresh squeezed juices. High expectations of the bar are met. The owner, Erik, is also behind Wisdom and Church and State, incidentally located just upstairs from Fruit Bat. The bat theme is everywhere, but not in a ComiCon way. There are stills of flying bats hanging in the bathroom and sticky foam bat outlines on the check covers. The tables are made of lacquered natural wood pieces, jutting low from the walls on one side of the place (made by Erik, we are informed), with high small tables on the other side to accommodate the weekend crowd.
Usher’s Confessions, some Mariah Carey and classic Boys 2 Men played constantly and comfortingly. When our waiter hit forward in the middle of a Boys 2 Men song, the place erupted in good natured protests from the now full tables. “Ahh, I can’t do it, it’s too sad” he explained with a smile and a wave.
The difference between the mellow elbow-room of a Thursday night and the crowded, high-energy feel of a weekend at Fruit Bat inspired a mental note: go back on a weekday and enjoy. This is great.