What To Expect At Trivia Night

(Last Updated On: June 27, 2019)
What To Expect At Trivia Night

We here at Sporcle eat, sleep, and breathe trivia – so sometimes we forget that not everyone’s been to play pub trivia before and some people have even never heard of bar trivia! Gasp!

You may be nervous about heading out to an unfamiliar bar. Or maybe you’re a barfly who’s wondering what nerds keep interrupting your Tuesday night sports-watching. Or perhaps that cutie on OkCupid just asked you on a first date involving this so-called pub quiz and you’re thrilled your useless knowledge and obscure sci-fi references might actually help your love life for once.  Well, there’s no need to worry, we’re here to explain it!

So, what even is bar trivia? How does it work? What can you expect at a trivia night?

We’re glad you asked…

Before Trivia:

When Should I Show Up To Quiz Night?

Show up anywhere from 10-45 minutes early, depending on how popular the trivia night is and how much you don’t want to end up at the one bartop table that never stops wiggling, no matter how many napkins you bunch up and shove under the leg… Yeah, speaking from experience there.

What Do I Do When I Arrive At Trivia?

When you arrive, check in with the trivia host. They may have supplies for you to take to your table, and they’ll likely need to register your team in some way. Hopefully you’ve already come up with a suitably clever yet appropriate trivia team name and, if not, this is the time to do so! Pressure’s on! (If you’re part of Sporcle Live’s Pub Champions Trivia League, you’ll want to provide the host your League number alongside your team name.)

Other players will trickle in as start time approaches (you can tell your chances are good because clearly they’re not as smart as you to arrive early). Even if it’s not jam-packed at trivia start time, you will already have had time to get settled, order some food and drinks, and get your head in the game for question 1.

During Trivia:

How Long Do Trivia Nights Last?

On average, a trivia night will be two hours long. However, it can range anywhere from 1-3 hours depending on which type of trivia you’re playing. (One of our favorite things about Sporcle Live is that we play two one-hour-long rounds – you can arrive late, leave early, or stay for both.)

What Are The Rules?

Every type of trivia has a different format! The trivia emcee will review the rules with you before the game starts and they’ll be available throughout the game for any questions you may have.

The basic gist of things is that a question is asked and you have a certain amount of time to give your answer before the next question is asked. Some types of trivia have you turn in an answer after each question; some have you write down multiple answers at a time. Either the host will grade the answers, you will grade your answers, or a nearby team will grade them for you.

Universal trivia rules:

  • Once answer slips are in, they’re in. There are no take-backs in trivia.
  • Don’t cheat. Just don’t do it. No cell phones, no phone-a-friend or ask-a-bartender, no sneaking a peek at the answers of the team next to you, no yelling answers across the bar.
  • Don’t be that guy that argues with the host about every answer. Chances are, you’re wrong. And if you’re not wrong, a polite question inquired at the end of the round will go a lot further in getting you points than an immediate belligerent objection.
  • Be a good patron. The bar is hosting the trivia night for your entertainment so be sure to support the bar. As your servers take care of you, be sure to take care of them by tipping.
  • Lastly, remember to enjoy the game! Competition can be fierce but at the end of the day this is supposed to be about you and your friends gathering together and having fun.

After Trivia:

What Happens Next?

At the end of the trivia game, winners are awarded their prizes: cash, gift cards, food or drinks, swag, etc.

When trivia wraps up and the host heads home, you don’t have to! Some bars or restaurants have a late night happy hour. However many extra shots of Fireball or pints of lager you may enjoy, don’t drink and drive! Make sure you get home safely so that you can come back for trivia night the next week!

Other FAQs About Trivia Night

How do I find a trivia night?

Google is your friend! For Sporcle Live trivia, find a game near you by going to sporclelive.com/locations.

I’m afraid of failing at pub trivia. What if I go and don’t know anything?

You’ve got nothing to lose! Weekly bar trivia is free to play so there’s no money on the line. If you’re worried your pride will be hurt… well, we suggest you learn to laugh at yourself. You’re missing the best joke of the day!

I don’t have a trivia team. Can I play trivia alone? Will I look like a loser if I play trivia by myself?

You are totally welcome to test your luck solo! Sometimes one-man or two-man teams do better because they don’t second-guess themselves or squabble about answers. Trivia is a social activity so if you come alone and want to join a team, ask nicely and other teams may welcome you in, especially if you can contribute an area of knowledge!

I have a tons of friends who want to come play. Is there a trivia team size limit?

Some types of trivia do have a team size limit – often, 6. At Sporcle Live the only limit is how many people you can fit at a table.