Bar to Bar Through Beantown
“What once was a sleek candle and fire-lit cocktail lounge has been transformed into a classy but still casual sports bar.”
Neighborhood: Back Bay
Address: 94 Mass Ave
Date of Visit: Monday, October 3, 2011
Server Name: “102 PM Barte”
We came into Mass Ave Tavern after a great dinner down the street. We hadn’t been to the bar since it was under previous ownership as Match, and it has definitely changed! What once was a sleek candle and fire-lit cocktail lounge has been transformed into a classy but still casual sports bar. How can you pair classy and sports bar in the same sentence you might ask. Well for starters, there’s low lighting, dark wood, exposed brick walls, and sleek cozy booths as well as plush bar chairs. Now, image that paired with a foosball table, lots of TV screens all turned to the Texas and Tampa (ALDS….sorry Sox) as well as a display case filled with none-other than bottles of Miller High Life (although, being the Champagne of beers, we guess that adds to the class aspect). Perhaps our favorite aspect of Mass Ave Tavern is its collection of throwback board games that you can play – think Life, Operation, Chutes & Ladders, Monopoly, etc. According to their twitter, they just ordered a bunch of new games! They also have trivia on Wednesdays at 8pm. The only downside was that there were full length open air windows, which is great during the nice days, but can also lead to a bit of exhaust smell from the cars backed up from the light on Mass Ave.
Mass Ave Tavern recently opened (July we think) after a brief stint of being known as 94 Mass Ave…not sure what that was all about. When we arrived at the bar, the bartender presented us with menus, pointing out the beer and wine options on the back, and stating that while they had a full bar there were no drink specials – bummer! The bartender seemed a bit new, but he was very friendly and chatted with us about the difference in decor since Match owned the place. Ironically enough, as we were leaving, one of the waitresses came over and placed the brand new drink menu in the plastic holders on the bar tops. You can read what they offer below, but we can’t speak from experience with these ones! We’re sure that we’ll return so we may need to update the post in the future.
Valerie’s Drink of Choice: Mojito
Ingredients: rum, sugar, sparking water, mint, lime juice
Cost: $8.75ish (Eric forgot to take the itemized receipt – the cost for both with tax was $18.19)
Review: This was one of the best Mojito’s I’ve had in awhile. It had the perfect balance between the tangy lime and sweet sugar. There was just the right amount of mint to balance it all out, and it wasn’t muddled to death so there was no concern about things getting stuck in my teeth. A great classic drink. I had to knock off one star for the lack of variety on their menu though (at least when we first got there)!
Eric’s Drinks of Choice: Old Fashioned
Ingredients: bourbon, bitters, simple syrup, orange, cherry
Cost: $8.75ish (see comment above)
Review: One of the reasons we thought the bartender was new is that we’re fairly sure he had to look up how to make the Old Fashioned. The drink was made pretty much as expected when one orders an Old Fashioned, except that it appeared that once the drink was put together, it wasn’t stirred, so the first sip was straight bourbon (which would’ve been great had I requested a shot!)
The kicker is that I asked the bartender what his favorite drink to make was, and would’ve taken anything put in front of me, but he said he didn’t have one. I said I wanted a whiskey drink (Chumbawamba song starts now), to which he said, “Well, which whiskey drink do you want?” Next time, just mix something delicious up and put it in front of your open-minded customer!
Wine Prices: Six each of reds and whites. Glasses go for $7 to $10 and bottles sell for $30 to $40.
Beer Prices: Tons of bottled/canned beers – 27 to be exact, including Magner’s Cider. Six beers on tap, including Goose Island Honker’s Ale among the usual suspects. No prices listed on the menu!
Other: The new cocktail menu boasts seven specialties for between $8 and $10 dollars. They include a Moscow Mule, Dark ‘n Stormy, Mass Ave Margarita, The Back Bay (similar to an old fashioned), The Charles While (with Stoli Raz, peach schnapps, sour mix and sprite), Tavern Long Island, and finally a Bee Keeper which consists of Maker’s Mark, fresh lemon, and honey.