Omaha's many pub quizzes - Omaha.com
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Caitie Wegener of Omaha writes down answers at the Slowdown.
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photos by COREY PERRINE/THE WORLD-HERALD Marsalla King, center, a Creighton University law student from Woodbridge, Va., laughs in between quiz rounds with other law students and friends at Slowdown. Quiz questions vary from week to week and are played by teams. “This is my first time and I’ve always wanted to try it,” King said.
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In the final round album covers a la Lego style, were used as people tried to guess correctly Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2012 at Slowdown bar in Omaha, Neb. For the past five years the establishment has hosted trivia night Tuesday's at 9:00 p.m. The questions vary from week to week and are played by teams. The winner has their bar tab covered. (COREY PERRINE/THE WORLD-HERALD)
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Rob Walters emcees the event Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2012 at Slowdown bar in Omaha, Neb. For the past five years the establishment has hosted trivia night Tuesday's at 9:00 p.m. The questions vary from week to week and are played by teams. The winner has their bar tab covered. (COREY PERRINE/THE WORLD-HERALD)
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COREY PERRINE/THE WORLD-HERALD In the final round of a recent quiz night at Omaha’s Slowdown, the category was album covers a la Lego style. Contestents tried to correctly guess what album the images represented.


NIGHTLIFE

Omaha's many pub quizzes
By Kevin Coffey
WORLD-HERALD STAFF WRITER


If your brain is full of knowledge about cartoon characters, superhero nicknames, TV shows, famous drinks from movies, the real names of celebrites or any other seemingly random knowledge, you'll be at home at pub trivia.

You can find pub quizzes at bars and clubs in neighborhoods around the city as well as a comic book store and other venues. The quizzes will test your knowledge of pop culture and history and give you a new way to enjoy a night out. Instead of throwing back drinks while throwing darts, dancing or watching a game, participants break up into teams and scribble answers in a variety of categories.

WHERE EVERYBODY KNOWS ...

You'll find plenty of places to play pub trivia.

Some have league nights where you have to sign up in advance while others have “show up and play” events. Make sure to call ahead to find out what kind of event is offered and confirm the venue's schedule.

Team Trivia at Stadium Dawgs, 8054 S. 83rd Ave.
Every Sunday at 7 p.m. Prizes: $30 gift certificate for first place, $20 for second place and $10 for third place.

Music Quiz at the Waiting Room Lounge, 6212 Maple St.
Monthly on Mondays at 8 p.m. (The event is typically the last Monday of the month. Next event is March 26.) Teams of four or fewer. Prize: $40 bar tab or tickets to an upcoming concert.

Trivia Quest at Legend Comics, 5207 Leavenworth St.
Bimonthly on Mondays at 7 p.m. (Next event is March 5.) Teams of four or fewer answer pop culture questions. Prize: $20 gift card.

Pub Quiz at Slowdown, 729 N. 14th St.
Every Tuesday at 9 p.m. Teams of five or fewer answer 40 questions.

Team Trivia at Glo Lounge, 3201 Farnam St.
Every Monday and Wednesday at 7 p.m. Prizes: $30 gift certificate for first place, $20 for second place and $10 for third place.

Pub Quiz at the Sydney, 5918 Maple St.
Every Tuesday at 8 p.m. Answer questions in five rounds, including a final audio round. Prize: Two pitchers of beer or a round of drinks.
PubStumpers Trivia at Brazen Head Irish Pub, 319 N. 78th St.
Every Tuesday at 8 p.m.

Team Trivia at Stiles Pub, 1204 Howard St.
Every Tuesday at 9 p.m. Prizes: $30 gift certificate for first place, $20 for second place and $10 for third place.

Team Trivia at Maloney's, 1830 N. 72nd St.
Every Sunday at 7 p.m. and Tuesday at 8 p.m. Prizes: $40 gift certificate for first place, $20 for second place and $10 for third place.

Team Trivia at the Drafthouse, 1201 S. 180th St.

Every Thursday at 7 p.m. Prizes: $40 gift certificate for first place, $20 for second place and $10 for third place.

Team Trivia at Applebee's, 10402 S. 15th St. in Bellevue

Every Thursday at 8 p.m. Prizes: $100 gift certificate for first place, $50 for second place and $25 for third place.

Team Trivia at the Pizza Shoppe Collective, 6056 Maple St.

Every Thursday at 9 p.m. Prizes: $30 gift certificate for first place, $20 for second place and $10 for third place. Free pitcher of beer for the best team name.

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TIPS & TRICKS

There are no thousand-dollar prizes like on “Jeopardy,” but you're in this trivia night to win. It may only pay your bar tab, but a couple extra bucks in your pocket and the thrill of victory are winnings enough.

We talked to some players and hosts and came up with a few tips to help intrepid quiz takers.

» Bring a “silverback.” That's what Slowdown's Val Nelson calls some of her older, gray-haired friends. There may be history or pop culture questions that extend beyond your own years, so having an older team member can definitely help.
» Pay attention to the calendar. On Valentine's Day, Slowdown did a category called “V-Day.” Around the College World Series, you may hear questions about baseball. Recent and upcoming holidays and events include Presidents Day, the NCAA men's basketball tournament and St. Patrick's Day.

» Pick your battle. If you don't know anything about music (and you're looking to win), you should probably avoid the music quiz. Pick a themed trivia night that you might excel at or head to one of the more general knowledge events.

» If possible, bring a ringer. Last year around Cinco De Mayo, Jordan Delmundo figured there would be some questions about Mexico. He brought along a friend from there and, sure enough, there was a category about Mexican food, culture and history. Delmundo's team ended up winning the quiz.

Prizes are typically a round of drinks, a free bar tab for your team or a gift card to the establishment.

An example category from a recent pub quiz at Legend Comics near 52nd and Leavenworth Streets: "Just One More Thing." The host named three things and quiz-takers had to write down the detective associated with those things. Answers included Columbo, Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot.

At Slowdown, one of last week's categories was "Replacements." One question was "Who replaced Abraham Lincoln as president?" (Andrew Jackson) and another was "Who replaced Bob Stinson in the band the Replacements?" (Slim Dunlap).

With a dozen regular events and counting, local trivia events are as popular as karaoke nights. Each week, several area bars play host to dozens of teams that fill up booths and tables.

Trivia questions and contests have been around for a long time, but the origins of the pub quiz format are a little murkier. It was popularized in the United Kingdom when pubgoers wanted to emulate TV quiz shows.

Later, American pubs, bars and taverns began presenting the same format. Pub quiz fans get to do something different and bar owners fill empty seats on otherwise off nights.

Around Omaha, most people are sure the phenomenon started gaining momentum when Slowdown hosted its first event.

"At that point, besides trivia at Buffalo Wild Wings, that was the first kind of pub quiz in that format," said pub quiz frequenter Jordan Delmundo.

Pub quiz was one of the very first events on the calendar for the north downtown rock club when it opened in 2007. Manager Val Nelson noticed that it was a trend in other cities, and she loved a trivia night she spent in a Portland bar.

"One big burly dude was in the middle of the room doing 40 questions without categories. It was so hard, but teams would get 35 of them right," she said.

Nelson and co-host Rob Walters changed Slowdown's quizzes to four categories of 10 questions each, but mostly kept the format the same, though they have scaled back the difficulty a bit.

Delmundo likes to do something besides drink, chat and listen to music. And before pub quizzes became more popular, his options were limited.


Over the past few years, he's drifted toward the music quiz at the Waiting Room Lounge in Benson. He likes the more focused theme. The Waiting Room always has an album art category, an audio category and a category based on a city, and the quiz always is about music.

For many pub quizzers, a good host also is key. Engaging, funny, witty hosts are often as big a draw as the quiz itself. Chris Larkin, who also does sketch and stand-up comedy, hosts the quiz at the Sydney in Benson. Comedian Kevin Grace is host for the Brazen Head Pub's trivia night.

When Legend Comics started a new trivia event in recent months, organizers were surprised at how many people showed up.

"We had to buy more chairs," said store co-owner Dave DeMarco.

When the store opened its new location with an attached coffee shop, DeMarco thought it would be fun to host music, poetry readings and possibly a pub quiz. He gave credit to other local spots that have popularized the event.

"People now say, 'Oh, pub quiz. Those are fun.' I don't know that this would be nearly as fun if the Slowdown and the Sydney had not been doing it for a few years," DeMarco said.

His favorite part?

"I like when you get a little braggadocio if you have an answer that no one else knew."

While he's enjoyed various quiz nights around town, Delmundo's staying with the Waiting Room's music quiz. His team has come in second multiple times, usually losing to Slowdown's Nelson and Roger Lewis, a local musician and a reputed encyclopedia of rock knowledge.

But Delmundo has a strategy.

"Roger's going on tour next month," Delmundo said with a laugh. "I just want to win, dude. I've won Slowdown. I've won Sydney. That's probably why I keep going back to the music quiz. I just wanna win."

Contact the writer:

402-444-1557, kevin.coffey@owh.com

twitter.com/owhmusicguy

Contact the writer: Kevin Coffey

kevin.coffey@owh.com    |   402-444-1557    |  

Kevin covers music, whether it's pop, indie or punk, through artist interviews, reviews and trend stories. He also occasionally covers other entertainment, including video games and comic books.

Read more stories by Kevin


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