Checkers or chess? Can you build a dive bar from scratch? Mike’s Gemini Twin is trying. Matthew Shelley

Bar Review

Mike’s Gemini Twin Is a New Bar With an Old Soul

Plus, a stripper pole.

When I sidled up to the bar at Mike’s Gemini Twin, the bartender put out his hand and asked my name. It felt like the beginning of a beautiful friendship, and at this quintessential neighborhood watering hole, that’s what they’re going for.

“Dive bar” may be a prestigious label that comes with time, but I had to admit, Mike’s Gemini Twin was off to a promising start. The space is ultra low-lit, with a checkered floor, pool table, and mirrors along one wall. A stripper pole, guarded by a velvet rope, stands among the comfy booths. The bartender explained that the pole was left behind by the space’s previous occupants, and though it makes for an entertaining conversation piece, it can’t hold much weight.

“I have to take the tone I use with my dog,” he joked, explaining that occasionally patrons feel compelled to climb on it. “No, no! Down! Come get your cookie!”

They don’t have cookies at Mike’s Gemini Twin, but they do have a cocktail repertoire that revolves around tasty classic drinks done right. The bar, opened in February, is a collaborative effort between Sam Wynne of Braindead Brewing and Pasha Heidari, who owns Bowen House. The memorable name is partly a nod to the old Dallas drive-in theater off Central Expressway.

My companions and I settled at a booth, and after a few minutes, a local musician in a polka-dot shirt stopped by to greet my lady-friend. I asked what he thought of the bar, and he smiled. He said that he liked the low-key vibe of the place and noted that Heidari has always taken good care of him at Bowen House. Then he glanced around with a look of wonder and exclaimed: “He built us a dive!”

There may be politics around the “dive” title, but I couldn’t exactly disagree.

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