Let the (Video) Games Begin!

Jason Dick
Posted July 11, 2012 at 12:01am

Who said there were no second acts in American life?

Oh, it was F. Scott Fitzgerald. Pretty cool dude, overall, but he obviously hasn’t been to H Street recently. If he had, he’d notice that the cocktail bar at 1236 H St. NE previously known as Fruit Bat — and almost known as Barcade before getting a cease and desist letter from an establishment named that in Brooklyn — has been resurrected as a beer and game-centered parlor: Atlas Arcade.

If brews and video games, pool, foosball and darts sound a little out of character coming from Erik Holzherr, the owner of cocktail destinations such as Church & State Bistro and Wisdom, well, that’s by design.

“We wanted to have fun and not compete with Church & State,” Holzherr said, referring to his other establishment, which is just above Atlas Arcade.

Fruit Bat, which allowed patrons to construct their own fruit-oriented cocktails, closed last month so that Holzherr could change concepts.

And change it he has.

“We’re like the playful sibling of Fruit Bat,” bartender Maya Hughes said.

Of particular interest to those pining wistfully for the 1980s are several video games from the era. Going along with classics such as “Donkey Kong” and “Double Dragon” are more obscure, but still crowd pleasing, games such as “Golden Axe.” If you’re in the mood to dabble in other decades, there’s “Cruis’n Exotica” (’90s) and “Pong” (’70s).

And, like many an arcade, the place is colorful. HOH engaged in a discussion with Holzherr’s majorette domo Sara Loveland about the bar’s palette. Is it pink, salmon or sherbet? “We just didn’t want it to be a man cave or feel like a sausage-fest,” Loveland said.

And what about the smoke machine? (Seriously. There is one.) “I wanted to create a bar that my 14-year-old self would appreciate,” Holzherr said.

“He is the little boy behind all these ideas,” Loveland concurred.