Trivia Nights at SF bars

College and post-college kids who like to show off their knowledge of arcane facts and pop culture quotables have a lot of options in the city of San Francisco. There are bars all over the city which participate in the nationally-run Brainstormer Pub Quiz trivia nights and there are also bars which forego national affiliation for creating their own quiz nights. In true San Francisco style, each place has its own unique group of people enjoying the scene, and there’s something going on almost every night so you can find one that suits your preferred method of social and intellectual showing off. Following is the line-up for trivia nights in the city as I know it, which is admittedly a partial list to be added to by those with more insider knowledge than myself:

Start out on Sundays at O’Neill’s Irish Pub. The Irish bars seem to have a thing for trivia night. This one is located in the SoMA and offers a six-round cycle of trivia fun.

Mondays, you’ll have to move to across town to Blackthorn Tavern, a bar where you can bring your own food and your own group of trivia queens to compete in seven rounds of random knowledge.

There are options for Tuesdays. If you want to go from trivia to tacos, heck out Elixir’s trivia in the Mission. If you’re a hippie at heart, the Haight’s Martin Mack’s is a Tuesday spot. If SoMA is more your style, the Chieftain starts trivia before eight. For the most active place in town, go check out The Bitter End on Clement.

There are three more to choose from on Wednesdays. Durty Nelly’s is a bit out of the way for people who live right in the city, but it’s a laidback place with trivia which moves quickly and drinks which are actually affordable. Knuckles is a sports bar offering trivia which frequently appeals to sports fans. Napper Tandy is the Mission’s Wednesday place for trivia night.

Thursday trivia is intense at North Beach’s Rogue where food is pricey but fabulous and trivia takes a long time between rounds but always lets you show off the things you didn’t even know were in your brain with a mixture of tough and not-so-tough questions. Closer to the Financial District, Elephant and Castle also has their trivia night happening on Thursdays.

Trivia may be fun, but it seems to be a laidback during-the-week kind of thing so use the weekend to bone up and then hit the bars. Every one of these places offers either cash or rounds of drinks to winning teams.

3 Comments so far

  1. Poormojo (unregistered) on October 19th, 2006 @ 3:31 pm

    I used to go to trivia at the Bitter End when I first moved here. But I got tired of the celebrity questions and of all the people cheating using their wi-fi connections to Google answers.

    Mad Dog in the Fog also has trivia on Tuesdays.


  2. cd (unregistered) on October 19th, 2006 @ 4:25 pm

    The one time I went to Mad Dog during quiz night it was a complete madhouse – maybe there was something else going on.

    My friends and I once enjoyed a summer winning streak at the Pig’n’Whistle on Geary at Masonic – good times, great beer! Highly recommended!


  3. anna (unregistered) on October 19th, 2006 @ 4:54 pm

    I used to do regular trivia w/ my team at the Cheiftan- I like the announcer there a lot, and it’s not as crowded and sceney. Also, some very good trivia people go to that.

    Norton’s Vault has a pretty competitive tournament on Tuesdays- though the bar is pretty rowdy with after work suits.

    Mad Dog in the Lower Haight is one of hte hardest, in my opinion. I used to go there a long time ago and was with a group of pretty good people- I like it because it focuses more on music and photo then sports (Norton’s does a serious sports round).

    I’ve heard, but don’t know for sure, that a North Beach monday night trivia is at Kelly’s. Also on Fiddler on the Green, though not sure what night.

    I’m not a huge fan of bars that string out the rounds forever, an obvious ploy, I think in trying to get you drunk, dumb, and their coffers richer.

    The Vault isn’t a recommendation- the bartenders there I call “bar-turds”. Obnoxiously unfunny.

    Great list! Nice idea.



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