We all have that friend. You know the one: a few pints in suddenly every sentence starts with the all-condescending, "actually..." followed by some obscure nugget of knowledge most of us either never knew or would never remember. The kind of friend who makes the perfect asset to any trivia team.
Game nights are no longer reserved for the Buffalo Wild Wings or Native New Yorkers of the world. Here are 10 spots to show off your smarts across the Valley. From sports bars to gay bars and everything in between, there's a chance to flex that mental muscle every day of the week.
After all, hey, maybe you are that friend. We're not here to judge.
See also: Ten Favorite Phoenix Happy Hours
Crescent Ballroom Every Sunday at 6 p.m., the lounge transforms into a rare sight. Tables hold real glassware and wine bottles; Phoenicians in their late-30s are plentiful, and sitting in groups of four or five. And it's quiet-ish, save for the occasional laughter or playful argument.
Play consists of 10 rounds with up to six questions each. Answers are often written on bar tabs or napkins, and turned in under team names like "Vampire Sunday" and "Bitches Get Up."
Bartender Bruce Heimbuck collaborates with friend Ryan Compton on the questions, which tend to fall into three categories: music, pop culture, and beer. The questions are multi-media heavy, featuring clips from Mad Men and The Office or scores from old films, and each round is bookended by music selections from Heimbuck's own collection. Winners receive everything from beer koozies to gift cards, with first place earning a coveted spot on the guest list for an upcoming show.
World of Beer Tempe's resident beer hall, World of Beer, hosts a night that is nothing if not catered to its typical demographic: frat bros and beer geeks. Since the weekly game began last November, Tuesdays have become nearly standing-room only. Teams with names like "Win or Lose, We Booze," "The Pope is Dope," and then-topical "I Sexted Weiner," pack the house at 7 p.m. for two testosterone-heavy hours of progressively more challenging questions.
True to Mill Avenue, the night has had its fair share of drunken idiocy -- from heckling to having one too many -- most of which emcee Randy Coffer, a chemistry teacher at Chaparral High School, has no problem calling out over the mic.
First, second, and third place receive World of Beer gift cards valued from $30 to $10. Qualifying league teams have the chance to compete in Team Trivia's final tournaments, which happen twice a year, in September and February, for $1,000 cash.
Hazelwood's First Place The Central Phoenix sports bar offers back-to-back-to-back trivia nights Wednesdays through Fridays at 8 p.m., a staple in its weekly line-up for the past few years.
The bar fills up, from the tables to the patio, often with repeat offenders looking to best their averages for the second or third night in a row, and win a $10 to $30 gift card. The closer it gets to the weekend the more hardcore the competition, so novices often take note of Wednesday nights, with Thursdays and Fridays left to the seasoned veterans for some real "ball buster" play.
Questions come from the popular Team Trivia company, which sponsors numerous nights around the Valley. Every week the company's website features a free, "gimme" answer to one of the week's questions -- and in a trivia bar as dedicated as this one, may we suggest you write that one down?
The Rose & Crown The house-turned-watering-hole in historic Heritage Square is known for its expansive patio and cheap pints. By 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday nights, patrons line the picnic tables outside for a few hours of intense trivial pursuit. The crowd is more "bros" and Crown than its other, more laid-back weeknights, but with names like "Suck it, Trebek," these teams mean business.
Play consists of two rounds with three categories each. In the first round, teams assign points valued at five, three, or one to each answer. In the second round, the stakes are raised (albeit marginally) to six, four, or two points. Winning teams receive $35, $25, and $15 dollar gift cards, and at a pub where drafts hover around $5, that can stretch pretty far.
Get there early: Happy hour, featuring $3.50 drafts and well drinks, ends at 7 p.m., and there's a bonus question for early birds.
George & Dragon The Valley's premier English pub hits its stride on Thursdays, with upward of 100 people turning out at 9 p.m. for trivia night. Everyone from attractive 20-somethings to 50-year-old men hitting on said 20-somethings are in attendance to win $40 and $20 bar tabs. Arrive early, because brainiacs have been coming here for eight-odd years, and they have dibs on your table.
Owner David Wimberley wears many hats, including coming up with questions like "What's the only venomous snake in Britain?" and leading the night as resident quizmaster. The 40-question game runs straight through, lasting between two and three hours, depending on the rowdiness of the crowd and how many dirty jokes Wimberley can sneak in between clues. The night's all fun with a hint of serious play: Games between friends can get heated, and Wimberley once chased a heckler down Central Avenue after one shout-out too many.
Kobalt Hidden in the heart of midtown's business district, the nightclub draws regulars who come for the karaoke and stay for the $4 Stoli specials. In keeping with its atypical demeanor, the bar has hosted Thursday night trivia at 9 p.m. for five years running.
With bar-goers ranging from their early 20s to mid-50s, bartender Andrew Akerson keeps clues within the current year -- or at least post-1980. He knows his demographic, though, and has managed to sneak in sports-related questions with subtle hints like "which team won this year's Super Bowl, where Beyonce was the half-time show performer?"
Questions are played on the bar's television screens, with three rounds of five questions each. A $5 donation is required per team, and the bar kicks a little into the pot, meaning winners can walk with prizes anywhere from $80 to $140 on a particularly fruitful night.
Gallagher's Trivia Thursdays are a ritual at Gallagher's Sports Grill. Each of the six locations -- from Union Hills to Chandler and everything in between -- hosts a two-hour trivia session, starting at 7:30 p.m. Populated by regulars and featuring a lot of individual play, each location uses the same 20 questions, touching on staple topics like movies and sports.
Every week, managers submit six questions to the corporate office, where a lucky (or unlucky, depending on the week's questions) office administrator narrows the field down and sends the final list to each bar. Winners receive a $50 gift card and bragging rights, but everyone can enjoy $2.75 domestic draft and $3 Fireball specials.
Duke's Sports Bar For almost a decade, Scottsdale's "Number One Sports Bar" has held two weekly trivia nights at 7:30 p.m. Known for broadcasting nearly every football game (with emphasis on Arizona teams and the owner's home college team, the Montana Grizzlies) on any of its 40-plus big screens, the bar has found a second niche with both Wednesday and Friday trivia nights drawing as many as 20 teams of five to seven players each. Fridays have become standing room only as everyone from ASU students to older regulars pack the pub for two hours of team play.
Trivia winners receive Duke's cash in $30, $20, and $10 amounts. Expect plenty of sports questions and check the scores before you go; this is one sports bar where you want to know your stuff.
Devil's Advocate With a sunken bar and faux-library décor, the popular pub may as well be on campus for the amount of Sun Devils it attracts. Curated by different companies, both trivia nights are packed with pitchfork pride: Wednesday's demographic tends to be more professors and faculty, and Sunday's three-year-old event is geared toward the student body.
"Geeks Who Drink" sponsors the 8 p.m. mid-week quiz with difficult questions catered to an audience who, bartenders agree quietly, really are more geeky than not. Sunday's interactive post-game night, from Showtime Trivia, highlights sports and history questions played on the bar's television screens.
Wednesdays feature domestic and premium pitchers specials and Sundays are industry night. Those who don't work behind a bar can still get their drink on with $5, 32-ounce domestic liters and $4 Crown and Fireball specials. The kitchen stays open until midnight, in case you need some $5 wings to soak up all that liquor.
Boulders on Broadway For seven years neighborhood bar Boulders in Tempe has held trivia nights at 6:30 and 8:30 p.m. -- a night so popular they added another. And another. And another (on Mondays) with the addition of its new sister bar, Spokes on Southern. It's a way to pay respect (with a $20 bar tab), since trivia traffic helped keep the doors open and beer flowing during the first few fledgling years.
Each trivia night has taken on a life of its own. Tuesdays are the most consistent for the venue, drawing competitive post-work crowds who take part in half-price appetizers and try their hand at the game. Saturdays promise all-day happy hour, and Sundays belong almost exclusively to devoted regulars, many of whom helped the night succeed all those years ago.
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.