The location of Cure—on the west side of Capitol Hill's Cal Anderson Park—means that while you drink and eat, you might see people playing basketball (sweaty, sexy) or bike polo (fascinating teetering) or adult dodgeball (should be a contradiction in terms). Watching others exert themselves while you're drinking, say, a glass of Château Bas rosé is very satisfying. Cure's other remedies for sobriety (their motto: "Vinum remedium es") include prosecco, a grüner veltliner, a Barbera, and more, $7 to $9 a glass. There are also cocktails, and a small-to-medium amount of hunger may be alleviated with cured meats, cheeses, and other snacks.
Cure wins the prize for Place in a New Ground-Floor Condo Space That Feels Least Like It's in a New Ground-Floor Condo Space. The room is oddly long and narrow—when you walk in, the dead end in front of you has a bench that's very peculiarly placed for actual sitting-on—and the ceilings are low. There's no real kitchen, just a glassed-in area with a serious-looking man operating what appears to be the Ferrari of meat-slicers; when he stops, he consults the Culinaria Italy, opening it on the counter. On the glass, in white marker, are the meat and cheese selections: "CULATELLO 'THE LITTLE BACKSIDE,'" for instance. There are maybe 10 tables and maybe 10 seats at the bar; the banquette, speaking of backsides, has a corduroy seat cushion. And two sides of the room are all windows, the better for watching other people do things.
The place feels spacious, while still charmingly shoehorned in, and not at all overdesigned. The art consists of an old sign—"OUR EVERYDAY 10 lb. MEAT SALE SAVES YOU MONEY"—a few Audubon-style prints of tropical birds, and, overseeing the meat slicing, portraits of someone's ancestors, she with her severe middle-parted hair, he with his impressive mustache.
If you ask what would go well with, say, the lomo Iberico—dry-cured little stained-glass windows of rosy meat, made from those Spanish pigs that eat only acorns—the response is reassuringly quick and unequivocal: the queso patacabra, soft and creamy, strong but not sharp, made of goat's milk and also from Spain. Just think your cocktail choice through—the house list tends toward un-cheese-friendly citrus—or have them help you. Cure is owned by a husband-and-wife team, and whoever you're talking to probably knows exactly what to do.
One caveat: A small amount of Cure's featured meats costs around $10; a few slices of cheese, $5.95. The quality is high, but your bill might be, too; it's not hard to spend $35 per person and still feel like you need some dinner. Some smart people at the bar ordered the artichoke soup, a big bowl for $4.95, while "the sandwich"—mortadella, not shy with the mayo—tasted like the idealized bologna one of childhood for only $6, no dodgeball required.