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THE TIP

A menu perfect for sharing

Andrew Berg and Gabriella Burnham enjoy drinks at the bar of 94 Mass Ave. Andrew Berg and Gabriella Burnham enjoy drinks at the bar of 94 Mass Ave. (Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe)
By Devra First
Globe Staff / February 18, 2011

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94 Mass Ave 94 Massachusetts Ave., Boston

617-927-4900

From the Lyons Group comes 94 Mass Ave, serving small plates and cocktails in Back Bay. (It was originally named Mass Ave, too generic to find via search engine, but that’s how everyone still seems to refer to it.)

The space used to be Match, which served sliders, Pop Rocks martinis, and $5 entrees on Thursday ladies’ nights. 94 Mass Ave offers a slightly less sugary take on lounge-y fun, in the mold of sister restaurants Alibi, Back Bay Social Club, Harvard Gardens, and Lucky’s Lounge.

Chef Nicholas Dixon (Lucky’s) creates a menu designed for sharing. It’s the kind of assortment that compels you to eat a strange but enjoyable combination of things, perhaps leaving you with a bit of a small-plates hangover. It’s just too hard to resist ordering local oysters, zucchini carpaccio, tater tots with blue cheese dip, lobster tacos, mini grilled cheese, dumplings, fried chicken, and profiteroles with caramelized banana and Nutella all at once. Oh, and don’t forget the bubbling vat of cheese fondue.

There is also plenty to drink. The cocktail list ranges from the Sienna (spiced rum, elderflower liqueur, yuzu, and basil) to the Snack Bar (dirty vodka, olives, and manchego cheese) to the Common Chocolate (vodka, chocolate and orange liqueur, and Luxardo amaretto). Embrace the decadence, or simply order a classic Sidecar. The wine list is a short but pleasant surprise, offering unusual varietals from far-flung regions.

94 Mass Ave is all glowing amber light and dark wood, with long communal tables, cozy leather booths, and bookshelves stocked with plenty of reading material. It’s the haunt every sexy librarian dreams of. And it’s certainly a place to let your hair down. As its website says, “Mass Ave — at its core — is about having a great time with good people.’’