(credit: Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images
Even if you cannot complete the Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle in ink, you could be great at pub quizzes. It’s far less solitary and way more fun. Perhaps you know a grammar geek or a music freak to join your team. There are folks you haven’t met yet and some you already know who are ready to make up a killer pub quiz team. Silicon Valley caught on and the authentically ex-pat folks at Brainstormer suggest these East Bay places for a good time. For some, bragging rights, prizes and semi-stardom await.
906 Washington St.
Oakland, CA 94607
www.facebook.com/pacificcoastbrewingcoDate: Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday is quiz night at this popular spot where regulars and newcomers test their knowledge on movies, music, images, the wild west, current events and general knowledge before wrapping it up with a last call for know-it-alls. Quizmaster Spencer wants you to pop in before 7:30 p.m. so he can marvel at your command of pop culture. Brainstormer founder Liam says it’s a real Brit-feel tavern. From highest to lowest, everyone is good-natured about their scores, including those in the middle. The “most average score” earns two pints for their middling points.
148 E. Prospect Ave.
Danville, CA 94526
www.mcgahs.comDate: Tuesdays at 8 p.m.
Widely known and loved in East Bay trivia circles, Alex is your quizmaster on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. at McGah’s, where the encyclopedic depths of his useless knowledge find a deserving home. If you know anything about the Oakland A’s, Eagle Scouts and old sitcoms, Alex quite likely knows more. McGah’s is a long-time family-run sports bar with pizzazz: piano duels, flat screen TVs and roots that run 115 years deep. The crowd knows how to have a good, if competitive, time. You can also find Alex on Wednesday nights at 7:30 p.m. at Redcoats Pub & Restaurant in downtown Pleasanton where 19 teams battled out the winter league finals with a four-way tiebreaker for third place, even.
1524 Civic Drive
Walnut Creek, CA 95496
www.dansbar.comDate: Tuesdays at 8 p.m.
A patio and pool tables, a juke box and a jolly quiz night are the right ingredients for a good time. Mark your calendar for the new, improved quiz night, now run by Brainstormer, every Tuesday at 8 p.m. Free food will keep your team fired up and in line for prizes. The questions aren’t all about Ireland or sports, so introduce some friends and show them what you know. If you’ve never been to a quiz night, it’s time to give it a go. There are teams looking for players online at Brainstormer.com. Meet new friends or find a date, it’s never too late.
2300 1st. St., Suite 120
Livermore, CA 94550
www.saucedbbqandspirits.comDate: Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m.
Cousin restaurant owners Barrett and Brenden are serious about BBQ. The people who come here for trivia night are serious about tons of random stuff. Kendall is serious about putting the teams through their paces. And a good time is had by all. Remember, registered teams (there are 44 pages of them) are eligible for Brainstormer League cash prizes and there are 14 pages of teams looking for players. Dozens of clever BBQ lovers convene at Sauced in downtown Livermore every Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.
1822 San Pablo Ave.
Berkeley, CA 94702
www.albatrosspub.comDate: Sundays at 8:15 p.m.
With a tip of the hat to the proper pub traditions of a fireplace, Tuesday darts competitions, a pool table, board games, music, Sunday quiz nights and a bring your own dog-friendly policy, Berkeley’s oldest pub turns 50 in 2014. Bring your own brilliant team of five maximum or be there by 8:15 p.m. to join another group. Four special interest subjects, plus the standard picture and general knowledge, rounds are presented by the pub’s host, Kristian. Complimentary drink tokens from The Bird are waiting to be won.
Laurie JM Farr is a freelance writer covering all things in her adopted San Francisco. A dedicated urbanite, she’s a transplanted New Yorker by way of a couple of decades in London as a hotel sales and marketing manager. Follow her work on @ReferencePlease, USA Today, Yahoo! and on Examiner.com.