Thursday, 22 May 2014

The Bimini

Where: The Bimini, 2010 W 4th Avenue

When: 7pm, Mondays. It might start a little late in the face of a hockey game, but at least you'll have a distraction while you're waiting for the quiz to start.

Web Presence: Nice Guys Trivia, who run this party, have a Facebook page you can follow.

Team Info: Bring as many as you want, as far as I can tell.

Format: Similar to the Calling's old Monday night quiz, it is 8 rounds, split up into 2 halves of 4 rounds apiece. The entirely Vancouver Province-based "In the news" round remains, alas.

Prizes: Beer, beer, beer and more beer. I think there is also a 12-week long trivia "season," and I'm not sure what the grand prize for that is. A trophy? A plaque? I'm not certain, but I think that free beer is a pretty safe bet. I think you might also have a chance at winning some swag here as well.

Food and drink: The usual Donnelly pub fare - 2.5-3.0 on Yelp level food, and drinks that are a bit pricy if you navigate away from the safe shoals of the specials. Fortunately, the drink specials are really good. $3 beer? Now that's a newsletter I subscribe to!

So I finally, finally got the chance to go down to West Fourth and try out the quiz night at The Bimini. I don't tend to frequent Donnelly pubs that often - their style isn't really my style, but I was glad I was finally able to make the bus ride down to Kitsilano and enjoy the bumping quiz at the Bimini.

Much as the former quizzes at The Calling, this is run by the nice guys of, well, Nice Guys Trivia. It has been at least a year or maybe even two since I last took in a Nice Guys quiz, and it seems they've tightened up their game. The quiz is much the same as I recall, and very similar to the boys at Falconetti's quiz - A picture round, a general knowledge round, a music round, multiple choice, break. More general knowledge, more music, "In the news," and then Bonus questions, which is a nice way of saying questions that are tougher than average. They also add some beer into the mix, with two games of pub standard "Head or tails" for pitchers and pints mixed into each half. Fun fact: In Russia, this game is called Орёл или ре́шка - "eagle or lattice" which is way, way cooler. Independent of country, it is also a pretty good excuse to stand up and stretch.

The man gets around
Now, the main complaints I had back when I bitched out the quiz at the Calling were that it took too long, the music round was simple, and the "Today in the Province" round was a joke. I'm very happy to say that almost all of these have been fixed - the quiz started late due to a (fairly dull) Habs loss, but we ended on time, and the Herculean labour of marking 25 teams did not seem to stretch on nearly so long. The music round had a few groaners, but was a lot better than I recalled. I do wonder if Johnny Cash's American Recordings are owned by every single quizmaster in town, though. They're good, but it seems I hear them all the time in music rounds. Finally, what about the "In the News" Round? Well, two out of three ain't bad. At least they didn't ask how much a flight to Cancun was this time, but I think they can do better than this. Unless of course, they get a kickback from Postmedia to mention their colourful picture book every week. In which case, keep it up and make some paper.

The questions remain more on the "everybody have fun" end of the spectrum as opposed to "let's bust some trivia chops" end, which is a good fit for the location/crowd. The atmosphere here is great, as the place is swarming with teams - most of whom seem to be wise to the strategy of reserving a spot ahead of time and then showing up as the quiz starts. Competition was fierce, and the top teams had some impressive scores, if unimpressive names. If you're playing to win here, make sure you know your music - out of a (roughly) 90 point quiz, a little over 40 of the points came from recognizing songs and artists. Get yourself a music expert or two and a copy of the Province and you just might waltz away with it. Even if you don't swing with the quizerati at this event, you can enjoy the charming hosts, Ed and Jeff, Perhaps you could just play a game of pinball, pool, or foosball in the surprisingly well-stocked games room. Or maybe, just maybe enjoy a three dollar glass of beer or two. There are worse things to do on a Monday night.

If you read just one paragraph, read this one: A fun, lively quiz, where you stand a pretty good chance of having a fun time. It tends a bit towards the easier side, and make sure you read the Province before showing up.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Warning: Incoming Quiz

I found out about a bunch of quizzes in town recently. I'm not sure how new they are, but they were news to me. So here they are, in roughly the order I learned about them

-Caffe Barney, on Granville Street is running Rock Trivia tonight at 7:30. This appears to be a one-off quiz that is related to their irregular yet popular Music Trivia nights. It is written, hosted, and sponsored by Red Truck Brewing, so it sounds like it will be a lot of fun. A shame that I'll have to miss it tonight.
-The Five Point, also on Main, runs a quiz every Wednesday at around 8PM. They have DJ Thunder/Junk spinning 80s hits afterwards, so I feel that this may be run by the same people as at Falconetti's. Or maybe it is just a coincidence. I suppose I'll walk the five blocks and find out one day.
-London Pub, at East Georgia and Main Street, is now running a quiz on Sunday nights, starting at 7PM. Aside from a single quiz at the legion, they have this night almost to themselves.
-The Gallery, at UBC, has a quiz every Monday at 8PM sharp.

Not much luck for people who live downtown, but those who live around Main Street should enjoy this. I guess I've got even more work to do. Next up, a review of the quiz at The Bimini, which I (finally) made it out to.

The pride of Burnaby

Monday, 19 May 2014

Keep Calm And Trivia On at The Locker Room Pub

Well, shit. It looks like this was a short-lived quiz night, and only lasted a few weeks. Hopefully, someone else will carry the torch of sports-oriented quizzing in Vancouver.

Where: The Locker Room, 395 Kingsway (at 12th)
"Where good friends meet"

When: 7pm, Thursdays

Web Presence: As this is another IQ 2000 Trivia quiz, you can find hints, photos, and daily questions on their facebook page.

Team Info: Get some friends and show up! I think the max team size is 7 or 8.

Format: Four rounds of 10 questions each, marking after the second round. As per standard operating procedure, a great slideshow to accompany the questions and answers. Price-is-right style tiebreakers.

Prizes: Myriad. I've seen everything from novelty drinking gloves to PBR hoodies given away for the top prize. Pitchers tend to find their ways to enthusiastic teams. The prizes are continually shifting, so you'll have to show up to find out what is being handed out on any given night.

Food and drink: The food is the kind of food you would expect to find in a sports bar. The beer selection is your standard quiver of megabreweries, with a few craft beers to satisfy the choosy drinker. Once again, Parallel 49 continues to impress me with the establishments I can find them in.

Quizzes pop up in the most unlikely places sometimes. I would not have expected The Locker Room, née Maverick's, to have entered the Vancouver trivia night battleground, but here we are. As far as I can recall, this is the first sports bar in town to host a quiz. Since you are asking me, I'm going to go ahead and say that is interesting. Why? Well, read on. 

Keep Calm and Trivia On is the latest hosting venture for IQ2000 Trivia, who styles himself as the Justin Timberlake of Vancouver pub quiz. I would agree that he is certainly well-dressed, and definitely the most famous member of the boyband that was the UBC trivia club. Once again the questions are well written, the hosting is savvy, and the pace brisk. Given the clientele and target demographic, the questions are shifted a bit away from tech culture compared to other IQ2000 quizzes, which seems like a good decision.

So, with the technology questions largely excised, what will fill in those holes? Current events, history, some Canadiana, and... hmmmmm? Are there hockey games on all the TVs? Is that Kevin Durant I see dunking over there? Are the Indiana Pacers melting down RIGHT NOW? Of course! We're at a sports bar, people, and the operative word here is sports. The quiz comes with a dedicated sports round, which is easily the best ten noodle-scratchers (to borrow a phrase from guest-poster Rob) about the sporting world in town. Mostly hockey-related, but unafraid to foray into baseball, basketball, or either football, the round is a joy for a sports fan like myself. I've never been able to give a rational explanation as to why I want to stand up and yell SPOOOOORRRRTTTTTSSSSSS half of the time, but I've always enjoyed sports quite a bit, and this quiz scratches that itch quite thoroughly.

That said, the quiz is still in its infancy. The uptake is fairly low at the moment - it isn't yet experiencing the frenzied full houses that some other trivia nights are. The main draw of the bar is its impeccable sports programming, but when there isn't a game on, the ambient crowd is a bit low. It's too bad, but I remain hopeful for the future. Don't let this put you off, though. If there is a particularly gripping hockey game going on - Montreal in overtime, Stanley Cup Finals, etc), the quiz will usually accommodate the hockey watchers. For the health of the quizmaster, that's probably the right call.

Greg Adams! Greg Adams!: A well-run quiz that is a bit sparse on attendance at the moment. Hands-down the best sports questions in the city, and good prizes.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

The Fernwood Inn Quiz (Victoria)

Yes, I know the name of blog. It very clearly states "Vancouver" Pub Quiz. But British Columbia's second (or third, or fourth, or...) city is a short bus and boat ride away, so I visit, and I'm lucky enough to have friends there. Sometimes these friends go to pub quizzes, as they once did in a past life in Vancouver. And sometimes, they even write me a review. What can I do but post it? The talented and lovely Rob Freeman, late of News1130 Radio, sent me this review of the monthly quiz at the Fernwood Inn in Victoria. From here on in, all words are his. Take it away, Rob!

When: First Tuesday of every month, starting around 8:00

Cost: $5 per player with all proceeds going to the Fernwood Neighbourhood Resource Group

Venue: The Fernwood Inn is a cozy, neighbourhood local with a pretty decent selection of local beers and a kitchen to match.

Format: The quiz is broken down into 8 mini-rounds of five questions each, and into two halves of four rounds. Marking is done at the mid-way and end of the quiz by passing sheets around the tables. The quiz moves quite quickly of which I am a fan! There was a tie-breaker to decide the night's champion and it was done by giving one person from each of the teams one minute and a sheet of paper to construct a plane. The plane which glided the farthest was the winner [ed. This is a pretty terrible way to break a tie, but I concede it is kind of fun].

Questions: This quiz bills itself as the not-so-serious pub quiz. Having said that, quite a few of the questions were noodle-scratchers.

Host: Benji is a tall, lanky, quirky, British chap who is quite charming and flamboyant. He keeps the quiz rolling along swiftly and is quick-witted [ed. Catch him in action in Vancouver at the Park @ English Bay!]. He also plays music beds which become the soundtracks to each mini-round.

Prize: The first place team received a $50 GC to The Fernwood, although from the host's comments, it seems the prize fluctuates from month to month.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Trivia For a Good Cause

Do you ever go to a quiz and wish that your money could go to a good cause, like the entry fee of The Cascade Room's quiz did? Does your thirst in this regard remain unslaked? Do you live in the tri-cities area and look with envy upon the sea's bounty of quizzes Vancouver is treated to? Well, your prayers have been answered, if only for one night, as there will be a fundraising quiz next Friday, May 23rd in Coquitlam!

The details: The quiz is being run to raise money to help rebuild the Mossum Creek Hatchery in Port Moody, which was very unfortunately destroyed by fire on Wednesday, December 11th. The quiz night will be held at Centennial Secondary School, which you can find at 570 Poirier Street in Coquitlam. The quiz runs from 7 PM until 9:30, will feature prize draws, and coffee and cookies. Hopeful Hemingways of the world will be disappointed, alas, since there will be no alcohol this night. As it is a fundraiser - you have been paying attention, yes? - the cost is $20 per individual, and the team limit is 6 per team.

I won't be able this event due to the early outbreak of wedding season, but I'll have to make my way to Coquitlam for a trivia night one of these days. All sorts of one-off quizzes seem to be popping up there. Could it be metro Vancouver's hot new quiz destination?

Also, stay tuned for a guest review (!) of a quiz in Victoria (!!!), and an upcoming review of a brand new quiz night!