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Davis, California

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Raising the bar

Do you know what your first Miranda right is? How about the colloquial name for the London Underground, a rapid transit system in the United Kingdom? Or what noun/verb fits the description, “to fill various items”? Chances are if you didn’t get these answers right, The Scrambled Eggheads or The Ice Cream Socialists probably did.

Trivia nights throughout downtown Davis offer a night of puzzling questions and funny team names. Just follow the rules, feel free to buy food or drinks — especially if you’re there during happy hour — and collaborate with your teammates to pass this weekly bar exam.

Locations for these quiz nights include DeVere’s Irish Pub, hosted on Mondays at 7 p.m., Sophia’s Thai Kitchen and Bar, hosted on Tuesdays at 10 p.m., G Street Wunderbar on Mondays at 9 p.m., Ket Mo Ree on Wednesdays at 9:30 p.m., Woodstock’s on Thursdays at 9 p.m. and Froggy’s on Wednesdays at 7 to 8 p.m.

While there are many opportunities for trivia nights, DeVere’s Irish Pub and Sophia’s Thai Kitchen and Bar are rated the most popular on Davis Wiki. Jane Hildeburn, a fourth-year managerial economics major, considers DeVere’s to be her preferred pick.

“I really like the setup. Everyone gets space to sit [and] to relax … [versus] at Sophia’s, [where] it’s cramped and you have to stand [if] you don’t get a seat. I [also] like it better here [than I did at Bistro 33] because you can see everyone [versus] at Bistro [where] everyone’s kind of hidden in their own little pocket,” Hildeburn said. “The crowd here is super excited, too.”

Dr. Andy Jones, a University Writing Program professor, used to host the trivia nights at Bistro 33 until their last one on Sept. 26, 2011. He now hosts the trivia nights at DeVere’s Irish Pub.

“[My favorite part of this is] all the friends that I’ve made, and just hamming it up. That and making on-the-fly jokes about people’s answers or at their expense while I’m walking around because I have a lot of friends that come,” Jones said.

At DeVere’s trivia nights, there are usually around 40 teams, which translates into between 200 to 240 people. Teams must be between four to six members. Rules also include no shouting out the answers, no outside help — such as smartphone or use of other technological devices — and no arguing with the quizmaster.

Prizes at DeVere’s Irish Pub include a $50 gift certificate for first place, a $25 gift certificate for second place, a $15 gift certificate for third place and often a fourth prize of swag, which can include any number of special items.

The second-place team of this Monday night, also the night of Jones’ birthday, says they try to practice for each week by paying attention to top movies of the week or reading top headlines in the media. Since they come every Monday, they also cleverly vary their team name.

“[Tonight our team name] was Welsh for ‘Happy Birthday, Dr. Andy.’ We change names every week so people don’t hate us,” one of the second-place winners said.

Jones also stays tuned to the public trending news headlines, along with his reading and teaching, to help create questions for his weekly pub quiz.

“I’ve got a template for the types of questions that I use … if I write a good question then I’ll recycle it every couple of years. So my questions have about a three-year shelf life. If it’s good I’ll put it [back] at the bottom of the stack. I’ve got a document with about over 200 questions from over the years,” Jones said.

DeVere’s extends happy hour on Mondays until 7 p.m. instead of the usual 6:30 p.m. While DeVere’s pub quiz is open to all ages, the trivia nights at Sophia’s Thai Kitchen and Bar require a minimum of 21 years of age for admittance and at least one drink bought per group.

Two drinks purchased per listed team member will earn you a three-point bonus in the game. Drink stamping begins at 9 p.m. and teams can have up to six members, with three points deducted in increasing increments of three for each member beyond the six-person limit. There are two rounds, each with 20 questions and combined for a total score.

The prizes include a $60 to $100 gift certificate for first place, a round of drinks (redeemable the next week) for second place, a round of beer or well drinks for the third-place team, a round of drinks for the team with the median score to reward mediocrity, and bottles of wine that are awarded to the teams with the third-lowest score overall and the highest score in round two, and also to the team winning the tiebreaker question.

Creative team names at Sophia’s win a round of shots for the team with the best name.

“[Our team name tonight] was ‘Irony: The opposite of wrinkly,’” said Richie Winn, a third-year geology major. “We’ve placed third two or three times, but we’ve never won the whole thing.”

Winn says he likes trivia outside of the fun quizzes at the downtown bars, and does not try to prepare for the trivia nights.

“It’s not really something you can study for,” Winn said.

Despite his opinion, other contestants try to stuff their brains with as much cosmopolitan information as possible before heading to trivia night. While this strategy may help, it’s not guaranteed to help you solve the random difficult question at Sophia’s.

Monday night’s stumper question at DeVere’s was “What is the length of Thailand’s coastline in Mongolian alds?”

Even if you usually measure things in the unit of alds, which is equivalent to the length of a man’s forearm, this question still stumped the entire bar of participants.

Whether you study science, political science or English or are just a movie buff, there is always a category you can find a strength in, such as science and nature, geography, gadgets and gizmos, movies and verb/nouns. If you are too shy to go to your first trivia night, try quizzing yourself on Dr. Andy Jones’ yourquizmaster.com. The most important rule at every pub quiz throughout Davis is simple: Have fun.

The host of Sophia’s trivia nights, Kevin Wan, considers good times a must.

“[Have] a good time tonight and a cab ride home … and of course, happiness is mandatory, have fun tonight, it’s only a fucking game.”

(Answers to opening questions: the right to remain silent; the tube; stuff.)

ALYSSA KUHLMAN can be reached at features@theaggie.org.


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