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Trivia time: A know-it-all's guide to Anchorage pub quizzes

David Harper
Tony Cenicola

As social media and 24-hour news inundate us with unending streams of information, maybe you could use an outlet for some of the more useless knowledge you've absorbed. Like a lot of cities across the nation, pub quizzes have taken hold in Anchorage.

The ingredients are simple enough: Combine one part Trivial Pursuit, one part speaker system and one part alcohol, then shake.

Though the recipe is easy, there's still an array of options and multiple levels of difficulty. Here's a guide to the best the city has to offer when it comes to trivia night.

 

Humpy's

The gist: Humpy's is the oldest of the entries here, but it's the one that has by far the largest and most fervent audience, combining the standard Humpy's charm with a (mostly) well-oiled machine courtesy of pub quiz company Brainstormer.

This contest, 8 p.m.-10 p.m. Tuesdays, pits teams -- some of which have been regulars for years -- against each other in seven rounds of 10 questions, ranging in topics from current events to the always popular Famous Faces round (you guess who people are based on 10 pictures).

The stakes: Prizes are typically limited to T-shirts and/or bragging rights, with swag awarded to the highest scoring team in each round. There is a grand prize of $1,500 in Visa gift cards for the team that accumulates the most points at the end of the season (Humpy's pub quiz goes on hold during the summer).

Upside: Probably the most competitive pub quiz in town and perhaps the most varied, with general trivia, a picture round and matching round.

Downside: It's hard to get a seat unless you get there at least an hour early.

 

Boston's

The gist: This is the spot for the casual trivia crowd, running from 7 to 9 p.m. on Wednesdays. Brought to you by Last Call USA, the same group that offers Thursday night trivia at TGI Friday's, Boston's has a pretty easy and abbreviated question list that is more good-time oriented than competitive. There's a cap of six people per team.

The stakes: The winning team earns a $30 gift card to Boston's, with the runners-up earning $20 and $10 each.

Upside: This is the place to go if you just want to have fun and not a trivia throw-down.

Downside: A moving-target start time leaves you guessing how long you'll be there. On one of my visits, the game didn't begin until 7:40 p.m.

 

Chilkoot Charlie's

The gist: Running Thursdays from 8 to 10 p.m., this one is a recent addition, with Koot's importing the popular national pub quiz chain Geeks Who Drink. Host Wyatt Belanger (a local comic) flew down to Seattle for Geeks Who Drink training, according to Koot's promotions and marketing manager Greg Chaille. The diverse questions are split into eight rounds of eight, with subjects changing each round.

The stakes: Prizes are limited as of now, but Chaille said that Koot's is working to get prizes from local businesses to up the ante.

Upside: The Geeks Who Drink brand focuses on building a community around its quiz nights, with weekly posts and pictures on the quiz company's website breaking down the last game in each location.

Downside: Right now, the lack of prizes.

 

La Mex

The gist: Hosted by radio station KBEAR 104.1, this trivia night is an increasingly popular one that starts at 7 p.m. on Tuesdays. It's a pretty standard offering, as two MCs run through questions straight from a Trivial Pursuit box. After three rounds of 10 questions (first guess worth 10 points, second guess worth five), teams wager their total points on one question in the Final Jeopardy round. The team with the most points after that gets the chance to answer one last question for the big prize.

The stakes: If the winning team answers the final question incorrectly, La Mex adds $100 to the grand prize pot for the next week. With difficult final questions, the number can get pretty high -- as I write this, the pot sits at $1,100.

Upside: Did you see that number? You could win $1,100 for getting a few trivia questions right!

Downside: There is an unspoken rule that you have to spend money to play. I was drinking water once and was told I'd have to pay to stay, even though the rest of my team was ordering drinks.

The MCs also sometimes don't have answers to clarify questions. For example, they asked, "Who is the tallest player in the NBA?" When the audience asked if they meant currently or all-time, they didn't know. The final answer? Yao Ming, who fits neither description. The question likely came from an old Trivial Pursuit during a time when he still played in the NBA. (According to basketball-reference.com, Gheorghe Muresan and Manute Bol were both taller during their times in the NBA).

 

Eddie's Sports Bar

The gist: Yet another quiz night on Tuesdays at 7 p.m., Eddie's has a much different vibe than the ones above, but it's one of the best and lesser known options for triviaphiles. This option is generally moderate in difficulty and limits teams to four, but it includes a variety of questions. Aside from the occasional "Name That Tune"-style question, the structure is the same as La Mex.

There's a highly engaged (and entertaining) crowd.

The stakes: Like La Mex, Eddie's adds $100 to the grand prize for every week the winning team doesn't get the final question right. The prize maxes out at $1,000.

Upside: First, this is one of the few that offers a cash prize. Second, trivia night coincides with Taco Tuesday, where you can get three tacos for $2. That's a win-win situation.

Downside: If you're a new team and show up with more than four people (not knowing the rules), odds are you'll get complaints from Eddie's veterans.

 

 


By David Harper
Daily News correspondent