Thursday, 26 June 2014

Nobody Suspects A Thing

Canada Day is fast approaching, and what better way to celebrate than with a quiz? I suppose I can think of few, but they all involve extenuating circumstances, so let's just leave those off the table for now. So, as a gift to you, my fellow Canadian residents and transients, I present with two new quizzes! Or rather, two quizzes heretofore unknown to me. Although I am octopus-like in some respects, I can assure that I am a completely normal human being, and thus cannot be everywhere at once. Anyhow.

Vancouver Trivia Party (is now/has been for some time) running two weekly pub quizzes. You'll find one on Tuesdays at The Academic in Kits, and the other on Wednesdays, at the Blarney Stone in the loins of Gastown. Both quizzes advertise a 7:30 start time. I haven't had the chance to attend either yet, but given the name and the locale, it sounds like it will be a riotous occasion indeed.

Will your local quiz be running on Canada Day? Beats me! You may want to check ahead of time just to be sure though. I can tell you for certain that my local Tuesday quiz at Mr Brownstone will not be running Canada Day. If you fear you may suffer from IQ2000 trivia withdrawal, fear not, as Mr IQ2000 will be running a special one-off quiz at Rowan's Roof, in Kitsilano.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

East Side Craft House

Where: East Side Craft House, located at the corner of 41st and Knight

When: 8:30PM Friday night, every single week.

Web Presence:  The Quizmistress presiding has a facebook group, free answer every week

Team Info: Doesn't seem to be a limit, but bring a dozen people at your own risk. I'm having none of it.

Prizes: This is still the same engaging Lucky Key Trivia made popular at the Cove and The Fray. In case you've forgotten, here's the deal. Top teams each round get a key with a name on it. You do better, you get more keys. At the end of the night, The Quizmistress draws a key out of a jar, and if you've got the corresponding key, you win a $50 gift certificate. If you merely finish in first, and all your vaunted brains and keys have left you paying the bill anyways, cheer up — you get a free pitcher, as is your right.

Format: 3 Rounds. 15 questions per round when I was there. Free beer to be won in a lightning round, as well.

Food and Drink: The food's alright, and Coal Harbour 311 Lager is on special for $3.75. A word of warning: The word "Craft" does not carry the same connotations it does at watering holes such as Portland Craft or the taciturn Craft. You'll find the usual suspects from Driftwood, Whistler, and Phillips, but also less "crafty" beers, like Molson and Rickard's. So, while there is something for most tastes, don't hold out for any Heady Topper.

Friday nights have always been a tough go for people who like to quiz. On one hand, there is no work the next day, and you want to go out and have some drinks with friends, without having to worry about a quiz going on too late and you turning into the proverbial pumpkin. On the other hand, bars know that you'll be heading out anyways, and don't need fun events like a quiz to draw in thirsty mouths and bulging wallets. As such, you can imagine how excited I was to hear that East Side Craft House (née The Elephant Walk) was starting up a quiz on Friday nights. If you're short on imagination, I'll tell you: I was quite excited. 

East Side Craft House, contrary to most other bars that run pub quizzes (except the Cheshire Cheese), is a community pub, complete with Keno machine and that weird video poker thing that BCLC runs. It doesn't stand cheek by jowl with other trendy establishments filled with people, but shares a rather forlorn intersection with Duffin's Donuts, a Shell, a Money Mart, and Atlas Custom Cabinets. The quiz doesn't seem to draw a lot of the younger, "hipper" crowd that most quizzes draw, but rather a full house of locals with a few transients mixed in. I'm starting to feel like I'm writing a bird blog here, but I think I'll leave that to my sister. Regardless, the crowd is friendly and most people seems to have a good time.

The quiz starts promptly, and is ruled with a friendly iron fist by veteran quiz host Debbie, a.k.a. The Quizmistress. She knows what she's doing, keeps the quiz running, and takes limited shit. I maintain that her "I'm always right, but if you think you were right and can prove it, I'll let you challenge, but you lose 2 points if I'm not convinced" rule (paraphrase) should be the gold standard for adjudicating disputes. Fortunately, there was none of that necessary. The questions are similar to those that were asked at the Cove/Fray/Ceder Cottage so long ago, and presumably at Gargoyle's now — not the most challenging questions you'll find, but fair and covering a broad range of topics. Deb knows her audience well, as I noticed more sports questions than normal at this quiz, which was met with general acclaim. Given the crowd's enthusiasm, I feel she could ratchet up the difficulty on them a bit, though

You may notice I'm not really saying a whole lot of anything, but that's because it is a well-run quiz with no major flaws, so there isn't all that much to say! Apparently Debbie has pneumonia last week, but I was hardly able to tell, so obviously she knows how to handle this quiz. For newcomers, I got the impression she enjoys asking questions about the Middle East, so maybe study up on that fascinating region. I suggest starting here. I think I may have complained a bit in the past about her quizzes taking a bit long, but the fact is that little time delays here and there are a lot easier to stomach on a Friday nights. You've got nothing else to do, and all weekend to do it in, after all.

Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Pub Quiz: A fun quiz on a Friday night, and held every week to boot. It's a little bit on the easy side for my tastes, but it is leagues better than anything else on a Friday. 

Never forget

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

The Five Point

These five points
Where: The Five Point, 3124 Main Street

When: 8pm every Wednesday

Web Presence:  You can get info from both The Five Point's Facebook page, and you might possibly, maybe, get some info at the Facebook page for Smarty Pints Trivia, who run the show. You may recognize them as the guys who run the quiz at Falconetti's

Team Info: However many you can fit at your table

Format: Once again, about 40 questions plus a name that tune, multiple choice, and a picture round. At halftime all scores are wiped out, so you get a first half winner and a second half winner, but no overall winner.

Prizes: Each half will yield up 3 possible prizes for the top three teams - The night I was there, the prizes were a pitcher of beer, a gift certificate, or 2 bombers of beer for take-home consumption, which I was a fan of.

Food and drink: The Five Point offers a $15 burger and brew deal on Trivia Wednesdays as well as $3.50 shots of Jameson, if you feel the urge to give the other teams a head start. The nachos were impressive, and poor chip management left us with more toppings than chips at the end of the day.

You'll find The Five Point's quiz starting up every Wednesday at 8PM-ish. Use your sports-sense to determine how late the quiz will start based on whatever sports are playing that night. The Five Point is a very popular place to watch a game, and a particularly interesting contest might end up with the quiz being delayed a minute or thirty. Fortunately, the night we were there was game 5 of the historically excellent Blackhawks-Kings series, and we were treated to an absolutely sublime overtime, finally ended by Michael Handzus, who I was certain had been shuffled to the hockey graveyard, but I guess is so bad ass that hell spat him back out.

Not these five points
The Five Point is a place that wears its opinions on its sleeve — or signboard. And the Five Point's opinion is that you should be inside, drinking their drinks. The atmosphere of the quiz reflects that, with copious amounts of liquid prizes, a game of heads or tails for even more drinks, and cheap beer. It is only four dollars for a can of PBR, although the $6.50 pint Fat Tug is actually cheaper on a per-fluid ounce basis (assuming CAMRA standard 20oz. pints), and you get a better beer, in this reviewer's humble opinion. If the alcohol doesn't get your mood up, you can always rely on the music, which is smoothly played between questions, keeping the party started, up in here, and all the time, in spite of being on neither Grove Street, NOR in the U.S.A.

I feel Mike's take on the host in his review of a previous Smarty Pints quiz was accurate AND clever, so I'll just cede to the past on this one:

Tandem emcees Greg and Ryan run the show here and share the hosting and question-writng duties between them. The hosting is good: the two work a kind of deadpan, affectedly-listless Brian-Posehn-slash-mumblecore-cinema angle which may not play to all tastes, but I found entertaining.
Once again, the questions are excellently done, the music round is tough AND fun ( But seriously seriously seriously that Johnny Cash album again! Someone needs to send these kids to Red Cat or Neptoon and find some other cover songs). The In The News round, often an excuse for lazy newspaper skimming masquerading as question writing, is well done. More importantly, it doesn't feel like they're playing with kid gloves on. Altogether, a good quiz that was a lot of fun, and a great choice for a Wednesday night on Main Street. In fact, I think it may be the only one in the area.

Pro Tip: If you want five free points, come equipped with a list of the top five films at the box office in the current week. They say it comes up every week, so you may as well be on a level playing field with the rest of the teams out there. Now, go forth and win some prizes.

IMHO (Imperious Mephistopheles, Horned Oppressor): A good quiz, strong enough to not be
lost in the competitive Wednesday quiz market. It would be nice if more people stuck around after the game, but we must concede the existence of other hobbies in this wide world.