First Sip at JM Curley

A DOWNTOWN CROSSING BAR from the team behind Bin 26, Bina Osteria, and Lala Rokh, JM Curley isn’t seeking cocktail stardom. It just wants to be a hangout — a place where shoppers, nine-to-fivers, and industry types can down an ice-cold Ithaca Apricot Wheat Ale ($5), snack on gratis popcorn, and play some old-school bubble hockey. That’s not to say that the cocktails (all $9) aren’t seriously good. The easy-drinking “Rhyme & Reason,” a blend of cachaça, Aperol, fall spices, and citrus, and the “Hemingway Heat,” a subtly hot mix of rum, maraschino liqueur, grapefruit, and jalapeños, were well balanced. The food, meanwhile, was simple comfort. Skip the soggy Brussels sprouts with duck confit and Gruyère ($7) in favor of mussels in a thick beer broth with tasso ham ($10) — you’ll want to slurp it from the bowl. With its laid-back vibe, affordable noshes, and stellar drinks, JM Curley is a welcome addition to the neighborhood.

21 Temple Place, Boston, 617-338-5333,

Photo by Kristin Teig