Above is a heated tent serving as a trivia room at an Ypsilanti, MI bar called Cultivate (which is now closed). I played here once in 2019…
I’ve gotten my trivia fix over the years playing virtually everywhere, and when the COVID pandemic hit, I played virtually via Zoom! I’ve played in tents (more than once), outdoors a few times, in a basement bar so humid that Momma from Throw Momma From The Train would complain, and give Billy Crystal the word he was looking for:
Yes, The Heidelberg in Ann Arbor had a moist basement! But the craft beer pitchers were cheap, and competition was light!
Over the course of the more than 700 trivia games I’ve played, I’ve played in every type of place! Banquet halls, a Moose Lodge, countless dive bars, craft breweries, brewpubs (yes there is a difference), chain restaurants, gastropubs, pizza joints, fancy restaurants, a grocery store restaurant (true story, it was convenient to be able to grab groceries after games), coffee/tap house hybrid things, pretty much everywhere but a boat, plane, train or car. A friend told me about a trivia tournament she played on a riverboat and to this day I’m still jealous!
I even played a Team Trivia (correction, it was Geeks Who Drink) game in 2017 in Staunton, VA on the third level of a 300 some odd year old four-story building that had an old timey tub with a shower in the men’s room (per my husband). The trivia room had posh Victorian furniture! Sadly, I did not care for the Team Trivia format!
So of course when the pandemic hit, it kind of threw everyone for a loop! It closed schools, sidelined workers, made millions of people sick, killed people and…closed the bars and restaurants!
It took my trivia team and I quite a while to dip our toes – I mean tentacles (we’re the Pods, after all) into the live pub trivia waters. It was a struggle socially at times! I wasn’t the most social creature before the pandemic – and the stay at home orders – and I was a very, very shy kid. Getting back into interacting with other humans again, well, it had its moments! Some of them weren’t my finest..
We recently started to give pub trivia a try again, even though I don’t have much of a team these days. And because I’m a completely selfish beast – and believe that if I arrive two hours before game time, I should be able to sit anywhere- designated “small team tables be damned” – well…it became time to shop for another trivia spot!
I wasn’t happy with the news! And there aren’t a lot of great local options, either. Here’s what I want in a trivia spot:
- To be able to get a seat without arriving too early (no more than 45 minutes)
- A variety of seating options – soloists, couples, trios, quartets and larger teams should all have places to sit.
- Preferably no paid city parking!
- Not too far of a drive (20 minutes is a maximum)
- “Just right” competition – no matter your team size
- Drinks that aren’t too pricey
- A sober host, or one that is a functional alcoholic at the very least!
- PowerPoint on screen, please! Sometimes hosts on the mic sound like teachers in the Peanuts universe and you can’t understand ’em…
- Decent enough lighting so that I can take notes and see things and stuff, though not so decent I look like Hell (fluorescent lighting flatters no one, my dears)!
Now really…are these things too much to ask?
OK, just one more meme to explain my final thoughts – and this pointless blog is a wrap!