Cure is the perfect example of what can happen when people who know and love their business strike out on their own. The tiny, well-appointed Rathdowne Street bar is owned and operated by Leigh and Tom, a genial pair with substantial experience in hospitality behind them. Between them, they’ve distilled their hard-earned understanding of what makes a great bar into one small but perfectly formed vessel.
There are rock n’ roll, doo wop and blues records on the turntable, logs on the fire in winter and a delicatessen cabinet filled with cheeses and cured meats behind the bar. Snacks of olives, pate and the like start at around $5, and there’s a chef on hand to provide bistro-style dinners. The atmosphere is chatty and relaxed; if you perch yourself at the bar you’re almost guaranteed to end up in conversation with the owners, the regulars or some combination thereof. Like the excellent Gerald’s Bar, Cure is a place where conversation is encouraged and good food is taken as seriously as good drink.
Which is pretty serious indeed. Leigh spent several years tending bar in Edinburgh, from which he brought back an extensive knowledge of Scottish distilleries and a nose for a fine dram (as well as a taste for Buckfast). It’s reflected in the large collection of whiskies, which includes several from now-closed distilleries. The wine cellar is extensive, but the hosts keep things simple by pouring only three reds and three whites at a time, the selection changing frequently. As far as cocktails, they offer all the classics, a long list of original concoctions and the opportunity to throw down a challenge to your bartender if nothing on the lengthy, descriptive and highly opinionated menu appeals (sample: ‘Negroni: Bartenders think this drink is cool. Most bartenders are wankers’). In short, Cure has everything – food, drink and even good company - required to fritter away an evening in style.