Are you looking for a fun night out that doubles as a workout for your brain? Were you the Trivial Pursuit champion in your family? Are you addicted to Jeopardy? If you answered yes to any of the above you’ll be happy to hear that several local pubs and restaurants host trivia nights, and they are growing in popularity.
The Market Brew Pub on Leslie Street in Newmarket has been running a Trivia League for more than a year. They are embarking now on Season Four and have attracted a number of committed teams, with names like “I Quizzed My Pants,” “In Rod we Trust,” and “The Draughty Old-Timers.” The League meets on Tuesday evenings from 7:30pm until 10:00pm.
Shane McCarthy, the founder and president of the Market Brew Pub says “The teams vary in size from three people to groups of nine or ten. Groups that attend for twelve consecutive weeks receive a prize, and the standings go out by email newsletter.” Participants get a pint of beer for $5 and can choose house specialties like Juicilicious 2.0, Leslie Crusher Golden Ale, or The Useless Crayon IPA White.
The event takes place in the Taproom, a garage-like space that includes a free popcorn machine, a spacious bar, and board games for kids of all ages. Although the Market Brew Pub does not have a kitchen they do have a local caterer (Laos-C-Chef) offering a limited menu, and people are also welcome to bring in their own food. McCarthy says “you can join in at any time, and although we do three rounds, it’s no problem if you can only stay for one or two.”
The Trivia League is old school, hosted by a live emcee (Bill Gianopoulos) and with pen and paper scoring. Cell phones are banned for obvious reasons. Each round includes a variety of formats, and also a “name that tune” quiz where participants try to identify a song based on an extremely short clip. The participants range in age from kids to seniors, and some teams are multi-generational. The collaboration and team work is a joy to witness, and the emphasis is on thinking versus drinking. (The Market Brew Pub does have non-alcoholic beverages on offer for the underaged or non-drinkers). At the end of each round the score cards are exchanged and the correct answers are tallied. Everyone has a good time rehashing and discussing the answers they got right, as well as the ones they got wrong.
The Boston Pizza at Yonge and Green Lane also hosts a trivia night using a technology called Buzztime. General Manager, Carrie Emerson, explains “We have a live emcee named Sean Kelly who is very popular, and we use tablets to enter the answers and keep the scores. We have twenty of them, and you only need one per team, so we can accommodate lots of people.” The Boston Pizza trivia events happen on Thursday evenings from 7:00pm to 10:00pm. There is no need to pre-register, and you don’t have to stay for all three rounds. When asked about the problem of people using Google, Emerson explains, “The game is really quick. You have to enter your response within 15 seconds, so you really don’t have time to look it up on your phone.”
“People really enjoy having something challenging and interesting to do, and the competition aspect is fun. We also award prizes for each round,” says Emerson. “Thursday night is great for kicking back and enjoying yourself, because usually Fridays at the office are a little more chill, and it’s only one work day to make it through before the weekend” she laughs.
Why not change up sitting in front of the TV shouting answers at Alex Trebek for a stimulating evening out with friends? You may not have much luck remembering things, but you will enjoy the socializing and will probably learn something new.
Market Brewing Co., Newmarket
Boston Pizza, Newmarket
by Elaine Jackson