Tuesday, 14 February 2012

The Cove

Heads up: the Cove has changed the people running the quiz as of March 26th, 2013 - see our updated report!

Where: The Cove. Located at 3681 West 4th, in Kits

When: 8PM Mondays, every week.

Web Presence:  A facebook group, with Quiz info, including a free answer every week

Registration Fee: Nope.

Team Info: No team size limit, so bring as many as you want

Prizes: Distributed in a novel fashion: The top placing teams in each round get to choose some keys. At the end, the teams with the highest score get the remainder. At the end of the night, a key is drawn at random, and if you have the key with the correct number on it, then you win the prize! Which is a cash prize, I think. The better you do the more keys you win, and the better your chances at taking home the prize. First place still gets the bragging rights, though

Format: 3 Rounds,as far as I remember, but I haven't been here in a while. 15 questions per round when I was there.

Food and Drink: The food's pretty alright, and they have pretty decent specials on "craft" beer on Mondays.

The Cove is located in deepest, darkest Kits, which works out great if you live there, or at the University, but is kind of a pain otherwise. Its a pretty fun quiz, always fills up with people, (but not until about 7:45 or so) and the bar usually has its share of Monday night Football watchers as well. If you like football, and quiz, then this is probably the one you want.

This quiz night is run by a lady named Debbie. You can read a news article about here running quizzes as a side gig. It seems to pay pretty well. There's a few extracurricular activities that don't affect the quiz itself, but I guess can win you some beer, if you are fast and good at naming groups of things (Security Council countries, brat pack members, etc). The questions themselves aren't usually bad, but I have been blown away by really awesome questions. No music round/pictures, which I'm fine with. The hostess marks all the papers herself, which slows down the quiz quite a bit in between rounds.

They usually give out free answers on their facebook page every week, so check that if you're a newcomer. If you're a regular, stop reading this. You probably know the place better than I do. The facebook page is also handy to let you know if things have been rescheduled. I don't know how often it happens, but I have shown up on a Monday and been quizless in Kitsilano. The bar itself is a nice place to watch a game, as there are tonnes of TVs. I can't say how well the quiz behaves during a Canucks game, but the culture seems to be good enough that I imagine they'd just let the game run silently in the background, and then turn up the sound while the powers that be marked papers.

Too Long? Didn't read?, Not bad, but not great. Better than any other options in Kits though, and runs every week.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

The Calling

It looks as though the Calling has re-branded themselves as "The Three Brits," and in decidedly un-British fashion, eliminated the pub quiz. You can catch the quiz at The Bimini, if you need a dose of quiz in Donnelly-approved environs

Where: The Calling. Located at 1780 Davie Street

When: Every Wednesday. Starts at about 7, 7:30ish.

Web Presence: Here's a facebook group for the guys who run it

Registration Fee: I don't think so. That's nice.

Team Info: I'm pretty sure you can have as many players as you want.

Prizes: First place gets free beer, sometimes beer company swag as well. There are a lot of chances to win free beers aside from winning, which is handy.

Format: 6 or 8 rounds, I can't quite recall. 2 or 3 of them are Music rounds, one of them a photo round, 3 are general knowledge, and one is a completely useless round that draws questions from the day's Province. I haven't been here in a while, so they may have changed things up a bit.

Food and Drink: It's a Donnelly Group pub. Sub-average food, expensive beers save for the specials . But there's a pretty good chance at getting a free pitcher here.

This quiz is run weekly by Nice Guys, Inc., two Aussies who  also run quizzes at some of the other Donnelly Pubs, the Academic, and the Lamplighter. They are in fact, very nice guys. The quiz, I can't quite say the same about. When I was last there (which was about a year and a half ago), they were running a Pubstumpers quiz. For those of you not aware, they're a company that you can buy a"Quiz in a box" (no relation) from, and then have people read them out at your establishment. Personally, I think the pubstumpers quizzes are kind of shitty, but the point of them isn't to be the best and most interesting questions, the point is to increase your food and drink sales. The music rounds are plentiful and not usually terribly difficult, with such deep cuts as "Enter Sandman," "99 Problems," and "Hey Jude" being found here. I haven't tried it out, since I don't hate myself, so I don't know for certain, but I would guess that the Academic, Lamplighter, and Calling all have pretty much the same quiz on a weekly basis, presumably differentiate by the round involving "headlines" from the Province, a round so execrable I won't discuss it here. I'm being a bit harsh here, so please don't think it is all bad, because I've had some fun questions here. It just happens that know the cost of flight to Cancun this week wasn't one of them.

The places is usually pretty full, so get there early if you want to get a seat. The quizmasters mark all the quizzes themselves, which makes for a very long evening. There are a few minigames, from which pitchers can be won. With the glacial pace of this quiz, you would almost think they want you to stay and get as drunk as possible. Insert winking smiley face. If you like watching hockey, they have a pretty good selection of games showing here before the quiz, from a variety of different stations. If you want to get a free answer for the week's quiz, look at their facebook page. Still not sure why quizzes do this, but perhaps some folks need the help. Like most Donnelly pubs, this is a good place to go and get drunk in a place that is pretty much devoid of atmosphere. If you like pub quizzes themselves, you might be disappointed, as the emphasis seems to be on keeping people around and drinking for as long as possible, and not on having interesting rounds and questions. That might be your thing, however, and if it is, the Calling is a good place to go and do that thing. Besides, the view out the window is pretty amazing on a summer's evening, seven dollar Red Racer in hand.

IN CONCLUSION, I don't like it much, but if you like Donnelly pubs you'd probably like the quiz.

Our Town

Where: Our Town Cafe. Located at 245 East Broadway.

When: The last Thursday of every month. The "official" start time is at 7 PM, but it doesn't usually get running until 8 or so. Some months get skipped, so check the facebook group before heading out.

Web Presence:  They've got a facebook group.

Registration Fee: $2 per player

Team Info: Up to 5 players per team.

Prizes: A pitcher of beer, which you should share with the band. Wait, a band?

Format: 3-6 rounds, depending how you divide thing up. There are two rounds of what we've always called "Phoenix-style" questions, some audio rounds, a matching round, and finally, a gigantic video/picture round. more on both later.

Food and Drink: The food is coffee shop food, and there are cheap beers to be had. Don't expect too much, and tip your server.

Meg runs this quiz, and does good job in a pretty informal atmosphere. You'll quickly find that this is not a restaurant, and therefor table space can be a little tight. I advise you to get there early, grab a muffin and a coffee, and be glad you have a seat when the rush hits. You may have been a little confused early when I mentioned a band. Well, there is a band - the unimpeachably named Def Jeppard. Usually a 3-piece, they provide live musical accompaniment to your cognitive activities. I was taken aback when I saw them setting up the first time I showed up, but that is because I was an idiot. It is even more fun to argue amongst yourselves over answers (all of which are incorrect) when a band is play "The Son Of Mr Green Genes" in the background. They work hard, buy them a drink sometime.

Now, to clear up what I meant when I said "Phoenix-style" earlier. One time I went to Phoenix, Arizona for a week. We did a pub quiz while we were there, and there were these 4 question long rounds. You are given 4 point values (here it is 2, 4, 6, and 8), and the categories of the forthcoming questions. For each question, you wager one of the point values.  Each question is marked immediately by the quizmistress, and you can't wager the same value twice in a round.  If you definitely know an answer, you wager 8. If you're guessing, you wager the lowest value you have left. It's a neat way to do it, and keeps the scores interesting. 2 Correct questions can be 14 points, or 6 points, depending on how you wagered. A neat way to do it.

The crowd is a neat mix of people who just want a coffee and got caught up in a quiz, hipsters from main street, and students trying to study. The questions are pretty good, and you can tell that Meg likes movies, as the movie related rounds are usually the hardest (comparatively). That could be because I'm not a film type person, so most of it ends up being Greek to me. The picture smorgasbord has some good questions, usually including flags, movie posters, and some dumb word puzzles. In general, it seems to me that this quiz is more geared towards the 25-35 crowd, just by virtue of the questions the quizmistress likes to write. It usually takes a while for the quiz to get started, and I have sympathy for Meg, since it seems like she's herding cats sometimes trying to get this to start. The cafe closes at 11, so everyone is usually out of there by then.

ANYWAYS, it's a fun, chaotic quiz, although the space can get a little cramped. don't expect to get out too fast, though.

The Cascade Room

Long live the king, the king is dead. The Cascade Room stopped running their very popular pub quiz in late 2013. The review will be left up so that we can all remember the good times that were. In the mean time, why don't you find another quiz in Vancouver?

Where: The Cascade Room. Located at 2616 Main Street.

When: 7PM on Mondays. Runs monthly, on the last Monday of each month. Registration is at 6, and it's probably a good idea to be there by then. It fills up.

Web Presence:  What The #!*@? - The ORIGINAL Mount Pleasant Quiz Night on facebook

Registration Fee: $2 per player. which is donated to charity at the end

Team Info: 4 players per team, every player over brings a one point penalty.

Prizes: A pitcher of beer, and 25 dollars off your bill

Format: 3 Rounds,usually including a matching question, a entire themed picture round, and a music round. usually about 30 questions, of varying point totals, worth about 60 points or so.

Food and Drink: The food's good, and the beer's great. Also, if you're a fan of cocktails, you're in luck. 

Full disclosure: This was the first pub quiz I ever went to, and I've consistently gone there for about two and a half years. It is my "Home Quiz," if such a concept exists. So, garnish the rest of this writeup with that in mind. The quiz is run by Karen, who as far as I know has been running it the whole time. She's got the act down pat. She used to run it every week, but for sanity's sake cut it back to every two weeks about a year ago, which is too bad. I've always been a fan of Monday night quizzes, since it gives you something to look forward to immediately after any given weekend. The quiz usually runs between two and two and half hours, and is probably the best organized of any I've seen. Papers are swapped efficiently, marked quickly, without much dead time. Experience. I've always liked brisk quizzes, as opposed to 3, 3 and half hour marathons - they make me feel like the purpose of the quiz is for us to hang out and have fun, and not as a way to get us to buy their drinks over the longest possible period of time. I understand the basics of trivia night economics and all, but I prefer it when I feel as though the night is there for the sake of the quiz itself, and not to keep us there drinking longer.

BUT I digress, from this fine quiz. Lots of fun geography questions, good matching questions, and lots of love for the Royals of Britain. Which makes sense - take a look at the decor. If you like music spanning the disco-rockocene epoch of 1975-1985, you'll do well. About once a year you'll find a bone thrown to the bigger hits of the past year, so paying attention to the radio can't hurt either. It is usually of a fairly average difficulty, with a few "tossups" (multiple choice questions that are pretty hard to figure out without topic knowledge) and "difference makers" sprinkled in. Sometimes it goes a bit overboard on the multiple choice questions, but the strategy tends to keep the same teams from winning consistently. There aren't too many streaks rung up here. The competition is pretty solid, with about 4 or 5 teams of regulars always in contention, and the occasional tourist coming out of left field and kicking everyone's asses before returning to France, or Calgary, or South Africa. It looks like word gets around.

Also, any writeup on the quiz at the Cascade would be incomplete without a mention of the yearly Quiz of Champions. It is as it sounds. Once a year, September or thereabouts, an invite-only quiz is held for all the winners in the previous years. The difficulty gets ratcheted up, "Identify the drink by taste" is introduced, and quiz is longer. At the end, glory, and your name on the official trophy.  If you want a blow-by-blow of the second annual Quiz of Champion, a blog has provided a detailed question by question recounting. There have been 3 so far, each won by a different team.

ANYWAYS,  it's the original Mount Pleasant quiz night, and still the only one I regularly go to. Check it out if you have the chance.

Sunday, 5 February 2012


The Vancouver Quizmasters, Eric and Shaun, have vacated the ANZA club for greener, nerdier pastures. You can find them at the Storm Crow Tavern on Commercial Drive, the first and third Thursdays of the month. I don't think that the ANZA Club has filled the void, yet.

Where: The Anza Club. Located at 3 West 8th Avenue. This is run downstairs, enter off of Ontario street. Buzz yourself in at the door.

When: 8 PM on the first Friday of every month. You'll probably want to show up earlier to have a decent of getting a seat.

Web Presence:  They've got a facebook page.  It won't give you any hints, but it will let you confirm that you're going on the correct Friday.

Registration Fee: 10 bucks a team.

Team Info: 5 Player maximum. Any additional players will cost you 5 dollars each

Prizes: A non-transferable pitcher of beer, along with a wacky prize, which can range from amazing to absurd, for the top 3 teams.My personal favourite was a Bart Simpson "Thug Life" shirt, replete with glitter, spinners, and a grill.

Format: 4 Rounds, 10 questions each, written on a 3x5 card. One audio question per round, one video question.

Food and Drink: You can buy drinks at the bar, and Vegemite from the vending machine. Bring your own food to eat if you want.

Hosted by consummate showmen Eric Fell and Shaun Stewart, this is one of the more enjoyable quiz nights. It is hosted irregularly, but is always a lot of fun. Being on a Friday makes the atmosphere pretty great, as well. This quiz goes fast, much faster than any other one in town, and is usually done in about an hour and a half. The questions are good, and usually of decidedly nerdy slant. The questions here are usually great, with very little filler. The questions get harder as the rounds roll on, and by the end some of the questions are "deep knowledge" questions. I've seen this quiz won by a team with slightly under 50%. So yeah, sometimes it gets a little tough, which is for the best. Know your Lord of the Rings, internet, and hilariously bad movies. Also, prepare to be entertained, at the very least. Shaun and Eric are great.

The ambiance is great here. It feels like you're back in an uncle's basement, complete with pool table, darts, and a cat. After you've had your fill of quiz, and your share of beers, why not spend a few hours trying to complete a single game of darts? It's Friday! What else do you have to do? It is probably the only pub quiz that isn't held in a pub proper, which is nice, even though there's no food. If there's a Canucks game on, quiz usually takes precedence. Fortunately, they don't conflict very often.

Long story short, one of the best. A convenient night of the week, you really have no excuse not to go.

131 Water

I'm told this is no longer an active quiz. Requeiscat in pace.

Where: 131 Water. Located at, uh... 131 Water, in Gastown. You'll find the quiz being run upstairs.

When: 7PM on Wednesday. Runs weekly. 

Web Presence:  A facebook group that is ostensibly about the restaurant, but mostly about the quiz. 

Registration Fee: Nope! This one is gratis.

Team Info: 5 Players per team, maximum (I think)

Prizes: A pitcher of beer. I think you have to take it the next week, but somehow I have my doubts on how this will be enforced.

Format: 3 Rounds, the first being a general knowledge round, 20 questions, worth about 30 points or so. The second round usually consists of a video clip, some pictures, and a matching question, and the third is an audio round. Expect to name that artist, identify the movie, identify the TV show, et cetera.  It also contains a unique (to Vancouver quiz nights, anyways) question at the end of each round. It is an 'exploding' question, which means it is worth 5 points if you get it in the first round, 2 in the second, and one in the third, with the clues becoming more and more revealing. In between rounds, the quizmaster marks all the quizzes himself.

Food and Drink: The food's pretty good, not too expensive either. The beer list is nothing special, but you can get cheap pitchers if you're a student.

This is a fairly new quiz. I'm not sure if it has been running any longer than 3 or 4 months, and even that might be a stretch. But it is the first decent one I've found in Gastown. Although, I guess that isn't saying too much. The quiz is hosted by a nice bearded gentleman named Steve, who I believe works there. It is pretty fast paced quiz, doesn't take much longer than 2 and half hours on average. It is still smoothing out some kinks, but on the whole it seems to be running fairly well. Turnout is modest, but every time I've been there I've seen at least 5 or 6 teams. I've heard reports of only 2 teams showing up sometimes, which is too bad. Steve marks all the papers himself between rounds, which enables the exploding point value question (or at least, immediate vindication if you get it right). It is the only quiz night that does that where the marking doesn't bring the night to a colossal standstill. We'll see how this strategy scales, when more people show up.

It seems to have a good mix of questions, some good history questions and is probably the most liberal with sports related questions of any in Vancouver. The matching questions are usually pretty good (more interesting than the standard quiz night phobias/capitals/etc that you see all over the place), and have on occasion been impressively hard - matching Soap Operas to their settings. Holy shit. If you know a lot about pop culture, specifically TVs and movies, you'll be helpful in the audio round. Spontaneous pitchers have been awarded, for particularly enthusiastic dancing, as well as hilariously wrong answers. I can live with that. Sometimes the questions tend towards "filler" questions (guess the percentage, multiple choice that is improbably difficult, but it never gets too bad.

Long story short, a pretty good quiz to go to.