There are certain components that make a bar one worth being your neighborhood go-to — whether that's in your neighborhood or you have to drive to another one to get there.
For me, that involves low lighting, solid staff, a jukebox and at least one food item that is superb. Bonus points if you have the little round, red candle holders. Lakewood Landing, Cosmo's and Twilite Lounge hit these. (Twilite inches in without food because they have those candles on the bar and Elliott makes my favorite Manhattan in town.)
A new one is falling into the rotation, though, and that's Mike's Gemini Twin. Susie Oszustowicz gave it some kind words earlier this year, I've interviewed one of the owners, Sam Wynne, and I happened to help coordinate a fundraiser with the other owner, Pasha Heidari. The two have put together this dive bar that has a friendly staff, eclectic music and a diverse clientele.
But we're forming a habit at Mike's Gemini, and that's in the form of a hot dog.
The hot dog is simple. All beef and quality, but simple. But after a drink or two, it's so perfectly complementing, I'm wondering why every dark bar doesn't have a hot dog roller sitting on the end of the bar. (Looking at you, Twilite.)
They have the proper fixings, too, even with multiple mustard options (yellow, Cajun, horseradish, whole grain).
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Though this is a fine setting to drink alone, if you go with a new acquaintance, best bud or hot date, you can woo them with the Gemini twin date night.
For $25, you can get two dogs, two beers, two shots, two bags of chips and dessert (candy, ranging from Hershey's milk chocolate to Oreos).
Full disclosure: the beers are only the two they have on draft, Budweiser and Miller Lite. So double up on your beer intake if you want to consume the fancier options they have in bottles.
Mike's Gemini Twin, 1902 S. Harwood St. (The Cedars). Open 4 p.m.-2 a.m. Monday-Saturday, 4 p.m.-midnight Sunday. 214-377-9356.