Sunday, 27 April 2014

Mr Brownstone

Head up: Mr Brownstone is no more, but I'm told the quiz will return at the same location once the new owners open up. 

A quick word: The quiz at Mr Brownstone is run by IQ 2000 Trivia, a quiz company started by my friend Mike. If you were really paying attention, you would also remember when I said that he is the very same Mike who writes reviews for us here. I guess you could call this "Full Disclosure." Set you indignity level accordingly, and let's get started.
It's not actually so easy
Where: Mr Brownstone Bar and Grill, 2904 Main Street

When: 7pm, every Tuesday. It has been pretty full the last few weeks, so showing up ahead of time would be a smart idea. 

Web Presence: As mentioned the quiz is run by Mike Whitaker, aka IQ 2000 Trivia. Their (The royal Their) facebook page will keep you reminded of upcoming quizzes, drops subtle hints, and will keep you entertained with quiz questions throughout the week.

Team Info: I think there is a team size limit of seven, but it isn't too strictly enforced. There have been no 12 person mega-teams as of yet, so this rule has kind of been a technicality.

Format: Four rounds of 10 questions each. In practise it is more like 2 rounds of 20 questions each, with teams swapping papers to mark at the intermission after round 2. Slideshow accompaniment as well, which is nice.

Prizes: For a quiz with two official sponsors, the prizes are a pretty pedestrian pitcher of beer for the top two teams. Not that a gift pitcher should be looked in the mouth or... wait... Nope. Crossed my wires on that comparison, so let's move on. Last week 4 passes to the Scotiabank Theater went to the winning team, so it looks like the prize pool could be expanding.

Food and drink: I'd never given much thought to the food and drink at Mr. Brownstone before, but now that I've been there I actually like it quite a bit. Their tap selection is smaller than most craft beer bars, but it is well maintained with local beers and several interesting microbrews from the US. The food is good, and Tuesday is cheap taco night. I haven't had them yet, but all reports I've heard are that it is tasty.

Did you used to quiz a little, and then a little wouldn't do it, so you need to quiz more and more? Do you want to participate in a quiz on Tuesday, but can't be bothered to leave Mount Pleasant? Well, worry no longer - the fine people at Mr Brownstone Bar and Grill have heard the cries of the voiceless, and given us a great quiz to those of us who live South of Broadway and East of the Main.

I was curious to see how Mike (We remember him, right? I don't need to say that he writes for us sometimes again? I already did? Great!) would handle the transition from quizzer to host. Not that I doubted his ability for a second, but I was excited to see how he would synthesize his myriad opinions on quiz into an actual, living, breathing, hosted organism. The good news is that after a long and complicated labour, the result is a quiz that combines the best of most worlds. It is a fast paced, funny, and interesting quiz, accompanied by a multimedia presentation which, while a few steps short of spectacle, just may be the best in the town. It is pretty clear from the start that a lot of care went into the making of this quiz. The answers are often accompanied by short film clips, snazzy pictures, Goldie the singing waitress, and total system restarts from the high quality ASUS laptop running the slideshow.

So that's the show, but what about the questions themselves? You can't put lipstick on a pig, or so I'm told (though Google Image Search disagrees). The questions are quite good, traversing a wide range of topics, and spanning the spectrum of difficulty. The standard quiz topics you are used to make their appearances - Geography, Drinks, Sports and History, but you'll also see more questions that don't commonly get touched on - internet culture, video games, fashion, Canadiana and more detailed questions on TV shows/movies. It's a lot of fun to see people flexing their deep knowledge about Adrian Mole, or show that they were paying attention in between games of Street Fighter II, or recalling old Bob Newhart routines. IQ 2000 is not shy at all about throwing legitimately challenging questions in there, which I love. For the most part the quiz is fair and fun, but there are definitely a few questions that will separate the brains from the super-brains. After all, we can't have tiebreakers every week.

Kick him on down the line: A challenging and broad quiz that will be a lot of fun for everyone, from quiz maniacs to people just looking to have some fun.

But they do get a free pitcher of beer!

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