Sfist Reprint, Just In Case Your Mouse Is Broken
Put down that guide on how to make wine in prison! Barrespondent Drew has some slightly better ideas on how to get yer buzz on. And none of his involve moldy bread and an old sock.
Inspired by last week's comments on Edinburgh Castle's 'tough as nails' trivia night, we tried out one of the city's other Tuesday night geek-fests. Now don't get us wrong, we luvz the trivia and see it as a wonderful way to show off our big 'chess club' brains, but the thing that young quizmasters of this city must realize is that hosting trivia is not as easy as Regis Philbin and Alex Trebeck make it look. Unless you've got hired goons or can somehow get the bar's respect quickly by waving a firearm around or something, a night of innocent trivia can easily turn into a game of “Which drunken idiot can shout out the answer and ruin it for everyone else the fastest”.
That said, as far as we're concerned, the benchmark for well-run trivia nights is still Pete at Mad Dog In The Fog. But since we've already covered that place in glowing terms, we decided to try another bar. One that in fact was hailed by our good buddies at SFWeekly as the 'best in the city'. Oooh, we couldn't wait to show off our unmatched ability to tell the difference between the Communards and Bronski Beat, which, after all, is the true test of whether you actually know your '80s music or you just say you do. So bring it on!!
The Bitter End on 6th & Clement (formerly Maggie O's before the Inner Richmond became so 'Emo') is a nice little Irish space chock full of booths and tables. Very well situated for every day use, but even better situated for trivia contests. So we get there early, stake out our spot and prepare to be tested.
The contest starts out innocently enough. A round of twenty brain teasers that is challenging, but not frustrating. It is accompanied by the requisite picture round which also provides a good challenge. But over the course of the evening, you pretty much hear someone yell out the identity of each of the pictures (That's totally Ralph Macchio!!!). Whatever, we can forgive that. This is why they don't play Jeopardy drunk.
Then comes the first problem with our trivia host. Instead of handing your papers in to be corrected by someone 'impartial', he has you pass it to the next table for grading. Not only does this create rampant opportunities for cheating, but you then get your answer sheet BACK before handing it to the quizmaster. Even more opportunity for cheating! Again, whatever, I guess I can trust my fellow man a little bit for one night.
But next comes the really big, glaring flaw in The Bitter End's trivia night, the music round. Not wanting to do the round himself, the host passes the musical duties on to one of the previous week's players every time. The only trouble is that he doesn't prohibit this person from participating in trivia that week. Let me just say that again, someone who is WRITING THE TRIVIA QUESTIONS IS ALLOWED TO PLAY THE TRIVIA GAME. Our team was in 3rd place going into the music round, and managed to move into second afterwards, but were 'somehow' leap-frogged by a team that got a PERFECT SCORE in the round and opened up a commanding lead. Amazingly enough, this team consisted of 3 people and the aforementioned GUY DOING THE MUSIC ROUND.
We spoke to several people who had been coming for awhile, and this basically happens every week. Whoever does the music round usually winds up winning with a perfect score in the round they happen to be running. When confronted with this obvious case of 'shenanigans', the host's tendency is to shrug his shoulders and act like he has no control over this.
This is not just sour grapes because our team finished in second behind Charles Van Doren and his group of smelly cheaters (although, to be fair, if we'd finished 10th, we'd probably be reviewing The Kilowatt again), this is a matter of bar trivia principle. How can a pub just named 'best in the city' for trivia allow this kind of rampant dishonesty and unfairness in its trivia night?
If you're in the mood for some wacky test-em-ups, don't go to the Bitter End until they fix this problem. There are several other much better trivia nights to choose from (again, Pete at the Mad Dog is actually able to correct the answers, come up with a music section AND read the questions all in one night! In other words, he earns his free beer), and even though the beer was nice and cheap ($10 for a pitcher of Newcastle), it still doesn't make up for their RIGGED (yeah, I said it) and LAZY (yeah, I said that too) trivia night. A complete and total disgrace.