The LGBT-friendly Gemini Lounge opened in the heart of the Grand Central district of St. Petersburg in June, but it already seems to be gaining a healthy following.
When a few friends and I stumbled into the bar recently, I was struck by the number of people gathered around the acoustic act that was performing. Many were cheering on the band and singing along, creating a fun atmosphere. Also in good spirits were the attentive bartenders, who had a good balance between mingling and being attentive to those ready for a fresh round.
The interior is reminiscent of downtown loft-style apartments. The walls are painted gray-green and are sparsely decorated with suspended paper globe lamps and a series of round mirrors that look like reflective bubbles floating behind the bar. No smoking inside, but a smoke-friendly patio with tables and chairs is set up outside in front of the bar.
For proprietors Jodi Alphonso and Angela Gross, the lounge began as a labor of love. While they both have day jobs, most (if not all) of their free time is spent on-site, running the bar. Describing the Gemini Lounge as a work in progress, they said their main goal is to attract a broad clientele. They didn't initially intend to open a gay bar, but instead aspired to offer a little something for everyone, including karaoke, open mike nights and live music, with recent acts like the Fallopian Tubes and bay area luminaries Halcyon.
The Gemini Lounge has been involved in many local awareness events. The lounge recently participated in the inaugural Bar AIDS in Tampa Bay, organized by Metropolitan Charities with the intent of providing health awareness programs and support for the HIV/AIDS community. The bars donated a portion of their proceeds to benefit the cause. And Gemini also has a spot on the monthly Pride Pub Crawl.
With a wide selection of beer, live music, poetry readings, karaoke, televised sporting events, a pool table and free Internet access, the bar seems to be headed on the right path to having that little something for everyone.
2315 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. (727) 327-8600, myspace.com/gemini_lounge
On tap: Bottled beer and wine only. Eighteen beers, including Negra Modelo, Sparks, Stella Artois. Domestics are $3 to $3.50; imports are $4. No food.
Deals: Happy hour is 4 to 8 p.m. every day, with $1 off all drinks. Every weekend, there's an alternating selection of $2 beer specials and $4 sangria.
Special nights: Tuesday is karaoke night; Wednesday is open mike; Saturday is live music.