I’ve always loved trivia. As a kid, I was a Trivial Pursuit fiend, yanking out my family’s tattered set and forcing them to humor my know-it-all tendencies any chance I got. My memory was sharp then, a child’s sponge of a brain, and I could usually hold my own against my oh-so-bored brother and my distracted but well meaning parents. As a grown up, I was thrilled to learn that a nerdy obsession with trivia wasn’t just my thing, but it was A Thing, to be enjoyed alongside a few pints of great beer at pubs all over the country. These days, Brooklyn neighborhoods boast some of the best trivia nights around, each bar taking on its own format and style — from Videology’s interactive movie-based quiz off to Black Rabbit’s five-round tour of ultra nerdy brain busters.
Think you’re so smart? Go ahead and prove it at one of these beer geek-worthy Brooklyn trivia nights.
Trivia Night at Putnam’s Pub & Cooker
Wednesdays at 8:30PM, Clinton Hill
I love this trivia night. Quizzers take over the entire bar and restaurant space, so be sure to get there early if you want a seat. The host is funny and great at controlling a rowdy crowd and the tap list is definitely up to par, as is the excellent dinner menu. Each question is displayed on overhead TVs for maximum visibility and $25-$100 gift certificates go to the top three teams. The best part: the host plays a song after each question that may or may not provide clues to the answer, which makes for a fun game-within-a-game situation. Make sure to team up with your musically-inclined buddies for this one.
Movie Trivia at Videology
Tuesdays at 8:30PM, Williamsburg
It’s no surprise that Williamsburg’s Videology puts on one of the best movie trivia nights in town. The bar’s back room theater is home to six supremely difficult rounds of film-based trivia, complete with a wide range of audiovisual aides. Add a few pints of locally brewed IPA, some bespectacled buddies and a quirky, whip-smart host, and you’ve got a film school geek’s dream come true.
DW Trivia Night at Double Windsor
Every 1st Monday at 8PM, Windsor Terrace
This monthly quiz fest always gets an ample turnout, with drinkers from nearby neighborhoods making the trek to the Windsor Terrace corner pub for a night of pints and puzzles. The questions might not be the most challenging, but the rotating categories and quick rounds keep everyone in good spirits. And with one of the best draft lists in the city — not to mention a menu of tasty farm-to-table pub food — trivia night is just one of many incentives to drown your Monday night at the DW.
Nerd Alert Trivia at Black Rabbit
Tuesdays at 8PM, Greenpoint
Located on a quiet, landmark street in Greenpoint, Black Rabbit is a real neighborhood bar, with sweet, approachable bartenders, a cozy fireplace, extensive whiskey list and a menu of gut-busting hangover preventers like Frito pie and warm, ketchup-smothered sliders. On Tuesday evenings, happy quiz goers cram into the private wooden booths and line the long bar, eager to get their game on at Nerd Alert Trivia, named New York City’s Best Bar Trivia by the Village Voice in 2013. Five rounds of five questions each — plus bonus questions that can result in free shots (!!!) — run the gamut from movies to pop culture to history. But, like a true nerd fest, they steer clear of any sports-related questions, so don’t worry about being picked last — you’re home now.
6,7 and 9 Trivia at Covenhoven
Tuesdays at 9PM, Prospect Heights
Covenhoven’s brand new trivia night promises six rounds of seven questions, kicking off at nine o’clock (get it?). There’s lots of variety here, including pop culture, general knowledge, history and sports, and plenty of time to try at least a few pints off their amazing rotating tap list. Last week, Covenhoven unveiled their much anticipated food program, so you’ll be able to cushion that high ABV brew with a locally-sourced grilled cheese sandwich and sustain your brain power well into the night. The themes change from week to week, so follow them on Twitter at @covenhovennyc for the latest updates.
Trivia Night at Franklin Park
Wednesdays at 9PM, Crown Heights
Crown Heights’ craft beer pioneer Franklin Park has been hosting this rowdy Wednesday night shindig in their main bar space for quite some time, and it’s only grown in neighborhood popularity. The tap list is consistent, the Dutch Boy burgers are damn good and the bartenders know what they’re doing — more than enough to get you through a few rounds of tough questions. What makes Franklin Park’s trivia night just a hair better than the rest? They’ll occasionally give away primo Nets tickets to the first prize winners. Get on it, sports fans.
Can’t Stand Trivia at The Gate
Mondays at 8PM, Park Slope
The Gate is Park Slope’s oldest beer bar, a real Brooklyn stalwart amongst the proliferation of 60-tap beer halls and upscale, $10-per-pint craft dens. Hosted by Mitch Dyson, this no-nonsense trivia night features prizes like Bonnie’s buffalo wings (my pick for the best in Brooklyn, hands down), bar tabs and other such booze, as well as drink specials like $5 pints all night. The difficulty level rests in the medium zone, with accessible pop culture questions nestled in among the more challenging categories to satisfy both newcomers and old school regulars.
Pub Quiz! at Pacific Standard
Sundays at 8PM, Gowanus
This longstanding trivia night has warmed the hearts and challenged the livers of many Park Slope and Gowanus residents over the years. Categories and difficulty levels vary, but with cheap craft beer, friendly bartenders and a few snacks, it’s always a good time. The no frills bar’s big back room is the perfect venue for attentive question pondering and the host is consistently sharp and charming. The winning team is rewarded with a free round of drinks to keep the night rolling.
Quiz Off at Pete’s Candy Store
Wednesdays at 7:30PM, Williamsburg
If you are an actual genius, this trivia night is for you. Often dubbed the hardest pub quiz in Brooklyn, this wildly popular Wednesday night event has been busting the brains of savvy Brooklynites for many years. Six rounds of twenty questions should be enough to satiate your undying thirst for knowledge, while you slurp down inventive cocktails and belly-warming grilled sandwiches. The top three teams take away bar tabs ranging from $15-$75, but the real prize is city-wide bragging rights.
Beer Geek Trivia at Glorieta Baldy
Every 2nd Wednesday at 8PM, Bed-Stuy
FULL DISCLOSURE: I co-host this beer-spiked trivia night! That being said, it’s the only regularly beer-focused one on the list, so I’d be remiss not to mention it. GB’s smiley bartenders keep the crowd lively at this monthly event, where Brooklyn hopheads will find four rounds of loosely beer-themed questions as well as a blind taste test bonus round. Each month is sponsored by a different nearby brewery, providing cheap pint specials during the game and giving folks the chance to meet — and compete against — the evil geniuses behind their favorites local suds. Top winners take home a slew of branded brewery swag, including t-shirts, tote bags, caps and bottles of limited run beer. Cheers!