All photos by the author.
From a lofty brick throne, a voluptuous redhead rules over Adams Morgan, watching and goading all manner of revelry like a contemporary Doctor T.J. Eckleburg. Her territory spans the 18th Street strip; her image an iconic symbol of throbbing crowds, vodka cranberries, and Jumbo Slice pizza.
But just two blocks away from her Madam’s Organ palace stands evidence of a rich heritage that long precedes her reign. Near the corner of 18th and Adams Mill (and now overlooking a Zipcar parking lot), a community has danced, sung, painted and played in the faces of danger and greed for over thirty years, their history preserved in a three-story mural titled “A People without Murals is a Demuralized People.”
Originally painted in 1977 by Chilean brothers and artists “Caco” (Carlos) and Renato Salazar (the first of whom studied at the Corcoran and founded the now-defunct Centro de Arte organization), the work is touted as one of the oldest and largest of DC’s few remaining Latino murals, the last beacon of a wider Latino artistic movement in the city, according to Quique Aviles.
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courtesy of ‘erin m’
Wednesday night I was graciously invited by Erik Holzherr (owner of one of We Love DC’s favorite bars, Wisdom) to a preview of his new bar, Fruit Bat. Located on H Street NE between 12th and 13th, in the spot formerly occupied by the H Street Martini Lounge, my first impression is that it will quickly become a favorite of Atlas District locals, and certainly is worth the trip for those of us in other parts of the city. Tonight is the official opening; here’s a taste of what you can expect.
Erik is part Colombian, and he wanted to give Fruit Bat a relaxed Latin American feel. The most striking feature of the long narrow room lined with simple tables and a bar is the “living wall” that will develop organically as time goes by. Hung on the exposed brick wall are staghorn ferns mounted on wooden boards with grow lights. They’re just babies now but I can imagine how amazingly lush they will make the space as they grow. Fresh herbs are also grown behind the bar and fruit is everywhere. The scent of fried plaintains drove me mad. It all adds to the tropical feel – I think Hemingway and his daiquiri would’ve been right at home.
Speaking of drinks, as you would expect from the owner of Wisdom the craft cocktail menu at Fruit Bat is thoughtfully delicious. Continue reading →