Where to Play Bar Trivia
...and how to win
Now that summer's busy schedule has come to an end, it's time to spend a little more time indoors. In Milwaukee, that often means having a couple drinks with friends at your favorite bar playing a little trivia. The bar likes trivia because it generally gets more people in the door and drinking than they'd normally have on a week night, and players like it because it's a friendly competition—not to mention it usually includes prizes like bar tabs.
Many groups have a longstanding tradition of playing at the same bar, and often against some of the same teams for years. Trivia like that tends to get a little cut throat, but I've never been to a trivia session where I didn't feel welcome, even if my group was the only new team. I used to play bar trivia often, and once you get to know a few tricks, it becomes easier to win those bar tabs.
First, do your homework. There are a few main companies in MKE that do most of the city's trivia, so look up their website and social media and get some details. Does the bar you're planning on going to normally have 10 teams playing? Maybe start out at less busy bar. Get a sense of what kind of team names normally win the best name prize. Double check that the prizes or entry fees are worth it.
Second, get a diverse team together. I often played on a team with my dad and sometimes his friends, because it never hurts to have players from a different generation who might recognize an Eric Clapton tune from 1981 in three notes. Get a group together where everyone has strengths in different categories, like pop culture, celebrities, movies, history, sports, etc.
Third, check the trivia company's website and social media the day of the event. Almost all now post hints or free answers for that day's questions. If you're playing against teams that weren't planning to play trivia, you've already got an advantage.
It usually costs $1 per person or so to play, but keep in mind that that may be all the quizmaster gets for pay. Tip them accordingly if they're really entertaining and do their job well. (You'd be surprised how much a bad quizmaster can suck the fun out of a game or create stupid drama.) Here is a compiled list of trivia spots by day of the week and company:
America's Pub Quiz: Quaker Steak and Lube, Saloon on Calhoon, Milwaukee Sail Loft, Karma, The Brass Tap, J&B Blue Ribbon Bar, Fourth N Long, Highland House
Quizmaster: Camp Bar (MKE, Shorewood, Tosa), Cafe Hollander (Tosa), Red Rock Saloon, Caffrey's
Geeks Who Drink: Puddler's Hall
America's Pub Quiz: The Tap Room, Rosati's Sports Pub, Flannery's, City Lounge, Trysting Place Pub, Stubby's, Mo's Irish Pub (Tosa), Senor Luna
Quizmaster: Camino, Von Trier, Jack's American Pub, New Berlin Ale House, Whiskey Bar, McGillicuddy's
Wisconsin's Hardest Trivia: The Up and Under Pub
Geeks Who Drink: The Wicked Hop
America's Pub Quiz: Paulie's, Vintage, AJ O'Brady's, The Chancery (Waukesha), World of Beer, Brew Berlin, Arriba's, Finn McGuire's, Brewski's Sports Bar
Quizmaster: Milwaukee Ale House, Milwaukee Brat House, Brass Monkey, O'Lydia's, Three Lions Pub, ABV Social
America's Pub Quiz: The Brass Tap (Greenfield), Main Mill, Karma, The Chancery (Tosa), J&B Blue Ribbon Bar (MKE), The Brick Pub and Grill, The Ground Round, City Lounge, Oakcrest Tavern, G-Daddy's BBC
Quizmaster: The Tosa Taver (inside Whole Foods), Bavarian Bierhaus, St. Francis Brewery, Hotch, Lucky Chance, Red Lion Pub, Loaded Slate,
Wisconsin's Hardest Trivia: The Winchester
America's Pub Quiz: Fourth N Long
America's Pub Quiz: Hooligan's, Mad Dog Saloon
Upcoming Beer and Dining Events
Oct 21: Polish Beer Tasting at the Polish Center of Wisconsin. Sample Tyskie, Zwiec and Okocim beers. Tickets $27.
Oct 23: Milwaukee's Largest Bloody Mary at Great Lakes Distillery. $5 bloodies, $4 garnish bar, plus grilled cheese, empanadas, nachos, raffles. Benefits the Hunger Task Force.
Oct 24: Good City Beer Dinner. Four courses plus beer pairings. Tickets $70.