Just two weeks ago, the much-anticipated Gemini Room opened their doors at the storefront located on 11th and Pike. Already, the cafe-bar concept has a lot going for it—a cool-ass name, two thoughtful menus, far-out '60s and '70s-interpreted decor, and a prime location. This week, I decided to slip in to get a sense of how the new space is doing. And, as a Gemini, it's my honor and duty to suss out the vibes. 

Gemini Room occupies the space formerly known as Cafe Pettirosso, which owners Miki and Yuki Sodos vacated back in back in February. The cafe-meets-bar concept is meant to transition the space easily from day to night. There's a menu shift at 4 pm from breakfast-y "day eats" like sandwiches and grain bowls to nibble-y "night eats" and "nostalgic" cocktails served out of cute glassware. You know, duality—both morning-bird-and-night-owl-type Gemini shit.

The new venture is part of the Joey Burgess and Murf Hall Capitol Hill Extended Universe, with the married moguls financing the joint and Tanner Mclaughlin, Jackie Proctor, and Ioana Andrei running the day-to-day operations. Which is to say, Gemini Room figures deep into New Capitol Hill lore. 

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I got to the cafe in time to snag their bacon breakfast sandwich ($11) and an americano made with Middle Fork Roasters coffee ($3.75). The sandwich had thick, crispy bacon beneath a chive egg scramble topped with provolone and Sriracha aioli, smushed onto an airy Macrina bun. It's the platonic ideal of a breakfast sandwich—filling, portable, unpretentious, and goes down great with coffee. If we at The Stranger still wrote our never fact-checked, error-prone screeds out of our 11th and Pine digs (R.I.P.), I'd absolutely eat this combo way more than I should. And—coffeeheads—they serve late-night espresso!

This is technically a cafe bar, but Gemini Room oozes lounge vibes. Eschewing a table-chair setup, the main room is stuffed with plush low couches and chairs configured around low tables for a sort of makeshift conversation pit effect. Customers were spread out on the couches, murmuring to one another as KAYTRANADA-adjacent music played at a low-but-kinda-hyphy volume. There's bar seating as well as high tables lined up on a wall close to the entrance, should you choose to bring your laptop, but the vibe is less "focused studying" and more "groovy place to meet up with friends" or "casual first date."

Now that I think about it, this is such a cursed food combination. JK

As I finished up my writing, I ordered a couple of items off their "night eats" menu, which mostly consists of shareable snack food like fries and sliders. I couldn't resist their Macaroni Bites ($13) and, I guess, their Pickled Plate ($12). The bites are exactly what you'd want out of a stoner-sounding dish—sambal mac 'n' cheese shaped into cubes and deep-fried with panko batter. I wasn't super crazy about the filling, but the herby, crunchy breading combined with the mild tomato sauce and hot honey dipping sauce was absolutely delicious.

Now, the Pickled Plate. It's truly my bad for choosing this as a side dish to the mac 'n' cheese bites—it's a weird pairing. The pickled mushrooms, beets, asparagus, eggs, and two crunchy veggies I couldn't identify are briny and have a satisfying snap to them. But with the bites, it's a tad too salty. When I go back I'm definitely getting the steak sliders ($17)—table next to me ordered them and looked tasty. I washed all this down with a Golden Hour cocktail ($15) composed of reposado tequila, lemon, honey, apricot marmalade, and orange bitters topped with foamy egg white. They rimmed the dainty glass with dried rose petals. A nice touch.

I left around 6 pm which is when the pace seemed to really pick up as couples, friends, and industry workers started to pack out the couches and bar. Ever since Capitol Hill staples Pettirosso and Café Presse left town this year, the Hill has been in need of more vibey-yet-casual cafe experiences. Gemini Room takes a big swing to fill that void and, so far, the punch has landed.

Gemini Room is open Tuesday-Sunday from 9 am to midnight.