Two Geminis, Tresna Lee and Shane Farrell, have opened Gemini, a wine bar and community hub. The spot joins the series of promising new venues on the Coburg side of Sydney Road including nostalgic cafe Two Franks and Italian-American pizza bar Hotel Lombardo.
Lee and Farrell, both Coburg locals, have carved out a versatile space that meets their suburb’s yearning for an new elegant venue that invites community interactions. “We want to connect people over good food, booze and coffee,” says Farrell, who previously worked in the specialty coffee industry for 14 years.
The couple have spent the better part of a year transforming the building into a wine bar that still hints at the history of the space. The walls have been sandblasted and showcase the original bluestone of the structure. Gemini is divided into three sections: in the front room, there’s seating centred around a sleek granite benchtop bar. Next is “The Pantry”, stocked with wine, cheese, bread, craft beer and gifts that you’d otherwise have to travel outside of the suburb to find. It’s contemporary and impressive, but everything is priced with accessibility in mind. “We want Gemini to be somewhere you can visit multiple times, that doesn’t always have to be a special-occasion place,” says Lee.
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Finally, at the back of the venue is the chef’s table, which faces the open kitchen that sits under an arch. “One of our favourite things is sitting at our neighbour’s island bench and we help them cook and eat around the table. And that’s what we wanted to do here,” Lee says. “It’s that feeling of being in someone’s home.”
Looking after the food is chef Dougie Thompson, formerly of Snow Pony and Two Birds. Thompson’s menu focuses on European-leaning snacks including double anchovy gildas, vegan croquettes and smoked barramundi dip. Small bites that all scream for a glass to go alongside them.
Mainstays of the menu include a lunch-only continental platter with locally baked bread, and the Gemini bar sandwich, which will be ever-changing but initially is a prawn omelette and sorrel sandwich with Six-Eyed Scorpion chilli oil. The wine list is not one thing or the other, but it is Victorian-leaning. “We’re pouring what we love drinking, wines made by good people that treat the process with respect,” says Lee.
The couple have countless ideas for Gemini to become a creative playground for the community: ideas include a coworking space, a place for community gatherings and a spot for chef’s table functions.
158 Sydney Rd, Coburg
Wed to Sat midday–10pm
0435 726 008