Reported by Jessica Purver
For anyone who likes trivia, friendly competition and free beer, pub quizzes are the remedy for Vancouver’s dreary winter weeknights.
Trivia nights have been around for a long time but are now gaining more attention
Invented in the 1970s in England to increase sales on quiet pub nights, the pub quiz — or trivia night — has since grown in popularity.
According to Geoff Williams of Nice Guys Trivia, the demand for pub quizzes in Vancouver began 10 years ago. Williams said there were only three trivia nights in the city when he arrived from Australia. Now, there are 42 per week.
“What I love is it’s not loud, it’s not obnoxious,” he said. “It’s just ordinary people with a reason to get together once a week.”
Winning teams get free beer
Williams hosts trivia nights every Tuesday evening at the Lamplighter in Gastown. He asks rounds of questions ranging from general knowledge, music and news headlines. The prize for the team with the most points? Beer.
“It’s about writing all the time so that you’ve always got relevant [questions],” he said. “The trivia audience has become a lot more sophisticated over the years, so you have to be really bang-on and precise.”
Brett Sinclair is a member of the Ladybro and Dude Guys team who have frequented Williams’ quiz nights for the past four years. He said trivia is a great entertainment option, especially during Vancouver’s colder months.
“It’s the trivia group that brings people together. It’s when the energy is there, everyone is super into it,” he said. “Even if we win or lose, we go out with a smile.”
Trivia nights have formed long lasting friendships and support groups
Debbie Vanden Dungen, assistant registrar at Langara, entered the pub quiz scene in 2011. Known as The Quizmistress, she said that over the years, communities have formed around her trivia nights. Their support is what keeps her motivated to put in hours of prep work.
“It’s so fun there. They chant, they’re loud. It’s just infectious,” she said. “Easily 50 per cent of the success of [my] show is because of the people who come.”
Vanden Dungen currently hosts trivia at the Brighton on Wednesdays and at East Side Craft in South Vancouver on Fridays.