It is probably no coincidence the advent of trivia nights coincided with the debut of the much-loved show, Jeopardy! For those of us not lucky enough (or clever enough) to make it onto the Alex Trebek stage, there are plenty of opportunities to test your knowledge right here in your own community.
Across the country, bars and restaurants are adding trivia to their weekly schedules and in the last two months alone, I’ve taken part in five different trivia nights in our area.
On Monday nights you can challenge yourself at Mother’s where a tough set of questions is asked, but hey, even if you come in last, every day is a school day.
Westchase is spoiled with choices on a Tuesday with at least three, very different competitions taking place. At the Fountainhead in Highland Park, you can enjoy a more adult atmosphere as the trivia host keeps the teams in order with some fruity but hilarious comebacks, so be sure to behave yourself and not write down any foolish answers.
At Irish 31 you get two quizzes for the price of one as host John Plopper develops new themed playlists each week and challenges teams to name the artists in between the rounds.
This Brit was hoping Wild Rover would ask some more questions from across the pond – they do at least follow a more traditional format with 10 questions in a round and an opportunity to double your score.
On Wednesdays you can join the huge crowd at Maloney’s for a very busy and lighthearted trivia night. And down the road, Whiskey Wings in Oldsmar doubles up with Trivia on Wednesdays and Thursdays with opportunities to win domestic draft beer every round!
Prizes differ between venues, with some offering bottles of beer and wine and others giving away gift cards for food and beverages. At Irish 31, Plopper is still waiting to crown his first Super Champs – any team who wins three consecutive games will receive the winner’s cup filled with their choice of beer!
While it originated in the U.K. as a “Pub Quiz,” the American form of Bar Trivia has formed its own, more accessible structure that does not require contestants to concentrate quietly for two hours; food can still be enjoyed, drinks can be ordered and conversation still flows. The growth of trivia nights is part of a larger move towards “eatertainment.” Leisure venues like driving ranges, bowling alleys and movie theaters all now offer big selections of food and drink, but trivia is in your own backyard at no extra cost! While some bars produce their own questions, most partner with entertainment companies like Trivia Nation which runs the trivia nights at Irish 31 and Maloney’s. They employ Trivia Hosts like Plopper who ensure a smooth night of fun. Plopper explained that the atmosphere changes from location to location and from night to night but says venues here in Westchase are “destinations for trivia” and that working at these venues with their regular teams is the “most rewarding thing about hosting trivia.”
So, who are the regular “know-it-alls” of Westchase? Well, there are family teams like Beauty and the Beast who catch up once a week; whole neighborhoods bike down to the pub like Radcliffe’s Lucky 13; and trivia has also formed new friendships like team MIA. The number of teams competing ranges from 6 to 16 and at most venues there is no restriction to the size of the group. Plopper said 80 percent of the teams at Irish 31 are regulars…and don’t go messing with their Tuesday Trivia. On the first night of the Lightning’s playoff series against the Maple Leafs, trivia was canceled but rather than stay for the game, disappointed teams just left. Management confirmed they wouldn’t be making that mistake again.
There is definitely a trend forming with bars offering trivia nights as a much-needed mid-week break for players and a boost in revenue on what would otherwise be a quiet night for the venue – everyone’s a winner. And as other leisure pursuits are becoming more high-tech, there is definitely something special about a group of like-minded, competitive people getting together each week, putting their phones away for a couple of hours and battling it out over Pop Culture, Sports and Science! (IYKYK)
Local Trivia Schedule
Mother’s at 7 p.m.
Fountainhead at 7:30 p.m.
Irish 31 at 7 p.m.
Wild Rover at 7:30 p.m.
Maloney’s at 7:30 p.m.
Whiskey Wings at 7 p.m.
Whiskey Wings at 7 p.m.