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Best Trivia Nights in New York City

By Janet Upadhye | July 31, 2012 7:02am

NEW YORK CITY — It’s always fun to kill and exercise your brain cells simultaneously. 

That’s why some genius decided to combine head-scratching questions with drinking to create the ever-popular bar trivia night.

Die-hard quiz fans roam from bar to bar in search of questions that will make them scavenge through the deepest recesses of their brains, competitors that will give them a run for their money and, of course, liquid prizes that make it all worth it.

"I have been known to compile a team of friends with diverse but complemetary knowledge bases in order to maximize our chances of winning," said one trivia fanatic, who wished to remain anonymous in order to retain his competitive edge, at a recent trivia night at Franklin Park.

"Then we'll hit all the trivia nights in Brooklyn and enjoy the winnings."

Where are the trivia nights in New York City? DNAinfo.com New York rounded up some of the best.


The Gael Pub on the Upper East Side

Named one of New York’s best trivia nights by Time Out New York and New York Magazine, it features “six categories each week — including audio and visual rounds — with questions about movies, music, TV, books, pop culture, sports, history, and everything else there is to know,” according to the pub's website.

Prizes: $50 gift certificate for 1st prize & $25 for second. 
Free raffle for a $20 bar tab.

When: Tuesdays at 8:30 p.m.

Where: 1465 Third Ave.

The Bullpen in Yorkville

Yelpers calls Bullpen’s trivia night “hands down the best trivia night on the UES.”  

Calling out questions during four rounds in two hours, the big draw for fans is the quiz's outrageous categories — favorites have included “famous boobs” and "sex positions of the Kama Sutra."

Prizes: Free shots for round winners, and overall winners receive one-hour open bar for up to 10 players.

When: Thursdays at 8 p.m.

Where: 1678 First Ave.

Common Ground in the East Village

Six categories of questions are asked every week and, unlike many other trivia nights, any size team is permitted. So round up 20 of your best friends and win this thing.

Prizes: You have to win to find out.

When: Wednesdays at 9 p.m.

Where: 206 Avenue A

Parkside Lounge in the Lower East Side

Coined Trivia Quest Night, the bar notes on its website that possessing brute mental strength will earn teams of four or less prizes, fame and fortune.  Hosted by Matt Finucane.

Prizes: "Cold hard cash"

When: Wednesdays at 9:30 p.m.

Where: 317 E. Houston St.

Crocodile Lounge in Gramercy

Get there early, because this quiz night is known for being packed. According to Nerd NY there are two things to note about this trivia night — “the hipster quotient can be quite high and there’s almost always one awkward moment where some new douchebag yells an answer out or decides to try to cheat the system using his iPhone and has to get kicked out of the bar.” So don’t even try it.

Prizes: 3rd Place - $20 Bar Tab; 2nd Place - $30 Bar Tab, 1st Place - $50 Bar Tab, Plus one free shot question per round.

When: Wednesdays at 8:30 p.m.

Where: 325 E. 14th St.

Professor Thom's in the East Village

Hosted by The Mighty Quinn Media Machine, the trivia night this week will focus on the Olympics. The Sneak Peek question for this week is:

"What western US state has the smallest population of any state as of 2010?"

Prizes: first prize gets a $40 bar tab

When: Tuesday nights at 9 p.m.

Where: 219 Second Ave.

Cornerstone Tavern in Midtown

Trivia nights have been around for four years at the Cornerstone, creating a die-hard fan base of Wednesday night regulars, according to Cornerstone manager. Trivia-goers can also make a night of it. Stag’s Head bar, next door to the Cornerstone and run by the same owners, offers free beer and food tastings from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. on Wednesdays. Then head over for trivia and then finally sing to your heart’s desire at 10 p.m., karaoke style. With this line-up, don’t be surprised if you become a regular too.

Prizes: $25, $15, gift certificates and $1 mugs

When: Wednesdays 8 p.m.

Where: 961 Second Ave.


Pacific Standard in Park Slope

Trivia topics cover a wide range here, from sex to highbrow literature and everything in between.  Last week Babeland, the sex toys company, hosted the event. Sex educators came up with the questions and prizes were donated by the store.

“The people that work here write the questions most weeks,” said owner John Stan. “So they are always different.” He added that trivia nights are generally very full, so it’s important to get there early.

Prizes: Placing teams get money off their drinks. They also get points to qualify to compete in a quarterly championship. The winning team gets a $100 gift certificate.

When: Sunday nights, 8 p.m.

Where: 82 Fourth Ave.

Last Exit in Brooklyn Heights

For people that consider themselves expert in distinguishing between Canadians and everyone else, this trivia night might be the one for you. Self-proclaimed longest running trivia night in the city, Last Exit’s Pub Quiz makes competitors “stretch their brains” with topics covering sports, politics, pop culture and, of course, Canadian identity.

Prizes: Each team chips in $5 to register and the two winning teams split the cash.

When: First and third Monday of every week.

Where: 136 Atlantic Ave.

Brooklyn Tavern in Boerum Hill

The best part about this tavern’s trivia night, the free pizza when you order drinks, of course. The prizes aren’t bad either.

Prizes: 1st Prize -$50 bar tab; 2nd Prize - $20 bar tab; 3rd Prize - one free drink. At the end of the month, winners from previous weeks will face off for the grand prize: $100 in cash.

When: Tuesdays at 9 p.m.

Where: 31 Third Ave.

The Charleston in Williamsburg

Trivia night at The Charleston, named Trivial Dispute, makes three promises: “Bar tabs will be won, shots will be given out, and free pizza will be consumed.” Yep, you heard it right, free pizza.  According to its website, questions range from the best part of the morning to the deepest depths of outer space. And the Village Voice voted it best bar trivia last year. Teams make up their own names, but past names have been a little too brassy to mention here.

Prizes: You never know really. Some have won Hot Wheels Cutlery, a Wicker Basket Filled with Seashells or, best, a snuggie.

When: Tuesdays at 9 p.m.

Where: 174 Bedford Ave.

Pete’s Candy Store in Williamsburg

Six rounds of 20 questions each causes trivia-seekers to test their knowledge and stamina. Categories include General Knowledge, Music, Top Tens, and Visual Identification.

Prizes: 1st Prize is a $75 bar tab, 2nd Prize is a $40 bar tab, 3rd Prize is a $15 bar tab.

When: Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m.

Where: 709 Lorimer St.

Black Rabbit in Greenpoint

Black Rabbit’s Facebook page calls its trivia night, “The world’s nerdiest trivia night, hosted by Timmy Williams, the whitest kid you know."

“This trivia night is super nerdy and super hard," said Dennis the bartender. “You better come knowing what color shirt James T. Kirk was wearing in the 12th episode of the third season.”

Black Rabbit’s website advises, “The brain is just like any other muscle — if you don’t use it, you lose it. But unless you’re an academic cramming for an exam, why would you want to give up a night of drinking to develop your intellect?”

Prizes: Shots as bonus prizes and a $25 bar tab for the smartest person present.

Where: 91 Greenpoint Ave.

When: Tuesdays at 8 p.m.

Uncle Barry’s in Park Slope

Enjoy a prosciutto-wrapped Twix bar while you try to kick dormant brain cells into action at Uncle Barry’s trivia nights. The website gives only one clue to the quality of their trivia questions, “Wear your helmets.”

Prizes: Bars tabs or beer glasses, sometimes maybe a T-shirt.

Where: 58 Fifth Ave.

When: Wednesdays at 9p.m.

Bar Great Harry in Carroll Gardens

The winning team gets its picture posted on Bar Great Harry’s website, for all of Trivia-land competitors to see. Past winners have posed in the classic winner’s position of the human pyramid. There is also the chance to do some major smack talking on the Trivia Appreciation Society’s Facebook page.

Prizes: Bananas, a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon, a roll of toilet paper and numerous other treasures.

Where: 280 Smith St.

When: Second Monday of the month.

Johnny Mack’s in Park Slope

This trivia night, run by Samantha Soliminy of Johnny Mack’s, consists of five rounds with five questions per round.  “Expect quirky,” Soliminy said. “You might be asked about where you will find the Jolly Green Giant statue on a road trip across the U.S.”

Soliminy posts questions on the bar's Facebook page weekly, where the most competitive teams  get an edge on their rivals. "This trivia night is no joke,” she said. “The regular teams are very competitive.”

Prizes: $25 for the winner and a money round where all teams throw in $5 and the winning team takes all.

Where: 1114 Eighth Ave.

When: Tuesday at 8 p.m.

Franklin Park in Prospect Heights

Trivia nights here are fun-loving and not too competitive, at least not on most nights. Several rounds go by in a blur as participants put their heads together over spiked milkshakes and messy burgers. Question categories range from history to music and on to quirky game puzzles. Each round has a topic, which feeds into an overall theme for the night.

Prizes: Free drinks for the entire team.

Where: 618 St. John’s Place

When: Wednesdays at 9 p.m.


Daly’s Pub in Astoria

“It is an absolute blast,” said bartender Kerry Moore. “There is no better night to come to the pub.” There are tons of silly questions during rounds, including the general knowledge/current Events round, a wild card round, a music round, a picture round, and the super bonus round.

Prizes: cash and the possibility of winning the Mystery Bag.

When: Tuesday nights starting at 8 p.m.

Where: 31st St & Broadway

Break Bar & Billiards in Astoria

Named Stumped Trivia Night, participants are bound to be challenged. Categories include celebrities, music, movies, business, US & World history, geography, sports and more — plus bonus rounds.

Prizes: Prizes for the top three teams at the end of the night.

When: Tuesdays at 8:30 p.m.

Where: 32-04 Broadway

LIC Bar in Long Island City

Trivia and stand-up comedy are combined in a rare duo on Thursday nights at the LIC bar. Brain Fart, hosted by comedienne Stephanie Holmes, “brings hilarious and creative trivia with categories like "draw that sexual position," "name that burger" and audio rounds like "more cowbell" and "name that sha-la-la," according to the host’s website.

Prizes: Grand Prize for each show is a $50 bar tab

When: Thursday nights at 9 p.m.

Where: 45-58 Vernon Blvd.

The Bronx

Bronx Ale House in Kingsbridge

With topics ranging from U.S. Presidents to '80s Sitcom Stills, the Bronx Ale House hosts one of the few trivia nights in the Bronx.

Prizes: $50 for the winning team and crafty bottles of beer to take home for other winners.

When: Sundays at 9 p.m.

Where: 216 W. 238th St.