Feb 13, 2015

Bar Trivia

If you're looking for something to do on a weeknight, especially during winter, bar trivia is one of our favorite options. It's not only good for groups of friends but it can also be fun for a date (just don't combine bringing a first date to trivia with friends...in my experience, it's not a great idea). In Chicago, where it seems like there is a bar on almost every corner and many of them have trivia, the options can be overwhelming. Thankfully, we have been there and tried them out for you. Here are our favorite three options:

Justin's is one of our favorite neighborhood bars, and while we no longer live down the street from it, we don't mind making the trek back for trivia (or any other night when we want drinks). One of Justin's best qualities is that it always has a great selection of beers on tap. Lagunitas and Revolution beers are some of the staples and they always have a good rotating tap. Last time I was there it was Two Brothers Night Cat, which is one of my new favorite beers - make sure to try it out! I'll also make the bold claim that Justin's has the best tater tots in the city (unverified, but probably true). 
The Justin's back patio is a great place to drink outside once Chicago warms up
image via
Trivia at Justin's is every Tuesday night at 8. It's usually super crowded, so I would recommend getting there early. As far as actual trivia goes, it's definitely on the harder side of bar trivia, but that also makes it more fun.  There are picture rounds which are the trickiest if you aren't good with faces and and it draws a pretty diverse crowd in terms of ages (which can make it more difficult).  The prizes at Justin's are gift certificates to...JUSTIN'S (more tater tots for everyone!).

Mad River
Mad River is a bar that we just can't stay away from. Maybe it's the free happy hours that we ALWAYS win, maybe it's their yearly anniversary party with a free open bar (sign up for that email list!), or maybe it's the truffle fries - whatever it is, we have been coming to this bar on and off since 2011. We recently started going to trivia there again and it does not disappoint.
The free Mad River happy hours will do that to you...
Over the past few few years, Mad River's beer selection has improved considerably. They still have Coors Light on tap, but they have also expanded to other options. On trivia nights alll draft beers are $4, which includes Revolution options, Lagunitas (these are $5), Blue Moon, Dogfish Head, Golden Monkey (not $4) and a few others. Their sandwiches and burgers are quite tasty - make sure to get them with a side of truffle fries! But it's best to avoid their tater tots, as they resemble mushy potato pancakes more than anything (we told you Justin's was the best...).
"Triv at the Riv" is also every Tuesday at 8. It doesn't get as crowded as Justin's, but get there early to snag a table with a working TV. To top it off, at Mad River first place wins a $100 cash prize, and they usually have secret prizes like sports and concert tickets.  During bonus rounds, if your team guesses closest to the right answer you all win a shot.

For another small neighborhood bar, Flagship is also surprisingly nice inside with a good beer selection. We first started coming here a few years ago, not just because it was a new bar near our apartment but also because the TRIVIA MASTER/host, Nicole (formerly of Mad River) is our favorite. Seriously, she is the best at running trivia and I would probably recommend going to Flagship even if the bar was awful (but it's not!) . If I remember correctly, she threw in some Mean Girls questions one week just because we asked.  She takes her hosting duties seriously but not TOO seriously.

If I were to rate the food overall at each of these trivia options, the food at Flagship is probably the best. They have a great selection of burgers, sandwiches, wraps and salads - notable standouts: the Porkx4 sandwich (PORK ON PORK ON PORK ON PORK, LITERALLY) and the BBQ burger.

Their beer selection has also always been solid and it's probably one of the only trivia bars where I would be tempted to order a cocktail, like the strawberry basil lemonade or ginger ball mason jar.
Trivia at Flagship is every Thursday at 8. I haven't been to trivia here for a few months, but last time I was, it was extremely crowded. I would recommend calling ahead and reserving a table.  Flagship also has a LOT of televisions, so if there is a game on during trivia, you'll be covered.

If you are looking for a more INTENSE trivia experience, go to STATE in Lincoln Park on a Tuesday night. We've only gone to trivia here a couple of times (due to humiliation) but it is an EXPERIENCE.  This place gets super crowded, so definitely get there early (like ***).  The last time we were there, there were at least FORTY teams.  Why so popular?  The grand prize for winning is $800 (2nd place gets $200 and 3rd place gets $100)!  They also raffle off a bunch of prizes at the end of the evening (each trivia participant gets 1 ticket).  One of our friends was lucky enough to win a barber kit (never been used, bet she'd sell it to you for cheap!) and a 20" television (won in separate weeks).

The questions are hard, so make sure you have a skilled and diverse team at your disposal, otherwise be prepared to cry when the sports questions come up...the food here is pretty good for bar food, so if you have to get there early you can at least enjoy a good sandwich.

While there are LITERALLY hundreds of trivia options to choose from, these are the ones we keep coming back to. If you're ever out on a Tuesday you might run into us!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Caitlin...hi Alyssa!! I just wanted to say thank you SO much for taking the 26 and Not Counting reader survey - it means so much! I enjoy a good drink myself. Hope you enjoyed a few this Valentine's weekend!!