Question: What’s the best way to spend a drunken night on campus that doesn’t involve screechy karaoke at Blarney or weak dollar rails at the Library?
Answer: Playing trivia, duh! And now that the new and improved Preston’s Urban Pub — formerly Sgt. Preston’s — has brought the folks behind Trivia Mafia to its West Bank confines, every Tuesday night you can take a break from studying and put your brain to work on a more worthwhile pursuit: a free bar tab.
Though the word “trivia” might conjure up images of old folks gathered around “Jeopardy!” or your dad dominating at Trivial Pursuit , it’s actually becoming quite the nightlife entertainment around the Twin Cities, thanks in part to the enterprising duo of dudes who’ve brought your high school Knowledge Bowl to your new favorite bar.
“It’s something to do at the bar besides sit and talk to your friends. It gives [patrons] an activity. And some people like the irony of drinking while doing trivia … one activity that’s supposed to make you dumber and one that makes you smarter,” said Chuck Terhark, co-founder of Trivia Mafia and senior editor at METRO magazine.
Question: What’s Trivia Mafia?
Answer: Terhark and Sean McPherson, a member of local hip-hop group Heiruspecs, independently pitched their trivia dreams to the owner of the 331 Club. It was a move that ultimately united their forces, and the duo began their endeavor as “Chuck & Sean’s Trivia” at the Northeast Minneapolis bar. Now their small business has sprawled out to the suburbs, and since two guys can’t handle all those brain-teasing questions by themselves, they’ve got a coterie of 10 to 12 fellow hosts to help them out.
Question: What makes a good host?
Answer: Someone who’s responsible, professional and personable, but also a good referee, says Terhark. “They don’t need to be smart or good at trivia, but they’ve got to be a good referee because people are arguing, asking questions.” Terhark credits a capable host for keeping the regulars coming back.
Question: Where do the questions come from?
Answer: “Sean and I write most of them hanging out at our day jobs reading Wikipedia,” said Terhark.
Pop culture is the most popular, with music and movie questions the clear favorite, but the Trivia Mafia makes sure to throw in more staid categories like history and geography to mix things up.
“The trick is to find a way of asking a question in a category that might sound boring, like geography, but ask it in an interesting way so people are intrigued.”
Question: What makes a good trivia player?
Answer: It’s all in the teamwork. Assemble an A-team, advises Terhark. Seek out your history-buff girlfriend, the science nerd and the queen of VH1 countdowns to dominate the game.
“The fun of trivia is arguing with your friends.”
Question: Why should we show up at Preston’s?
Answer: Though Trivia Mafia makes stops all over the metro area, from Kings in South Minneapolis to the Green Mill in Uptown, it’s Preston’s that is their newest hotspot (331 Club’s is most popular so far, with about 25 teams competing on any night).
“Unlike karaoke, you can actually win at trivia. Last week it was a free bar tab and a bottle of wine. And we give a prize for last place too.” Terhark said.
Your University knowledge might come in handy, since Trivia Mafia often tailors its questions to its locale. Try your hand at some of their tried-and-true crowd-pleasing, brain-teasing trivia below.
Here are some practice questions to get you started:
1. What kind of Girl Scout cookie is also called Peanut Butter
2. What number does the prefix “giga” stand for?
3. There are four NBA teams whose names do not end in “s.” Name all four.
Miami Heat , Orlando Magic , Utah Jazz , Oklahoma City Thunder
4. What is the first property immediately following “Go” on the Monopoly board?
5. Which has two humps, a camel or a dromedary?
6. What is the name of the computer that beat Garry Kasparov at chess in 1997?
7. What country had the world's largest army, strongest currency and richest economy in 1910? England
8. What is more expensive on Amazon.com on average: A book, or the audio book of the same title?
The audio book
9. Brad Pitt played three characters in the past three years whose first and last name began with the same letter. Name two of those characters.
Rusty Ryan (Ocean’s 13), Jesse James (The Assassination of …), Benjamin Button (The Curious Case of…)
10. What state has the only flag allowed under federal law to fly at the same height as the U.S. flag, because it was once a country in its own right?
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