A Guide to Bar Trivia Nights Around Seattle

A pub quiz for basically every neighborhood ✏️

Are you only good at pop culture trivia? Specifically, have you reserved most of your brain space solely for cinema? (It me!) MovieCat Trivia is your pick. Do you know every fact about Futurama? Try Raised by TV. Want bar trivia with a side of drag? Betty’s Body of Knowledge has got you.

Whatever your niche, there’s probably a bar trivia night in Seattle right for your noggin. Let’s get into them.

MovieCat Trivia @ Central Cinema

One Wednesday per month (check their calendar)

One Wednesday a month at Central Cinema, Jessica Aceti and Brian Kirk run MovieCat Trivia. The game, which expanded from a mobile app, is a multimedia extravaganza thanks to the pair’s meticulous attention to detail, Photoshop and video editing skills, and goofy humor. Prizes come in the form of Central Cinema gift cards, Funko figures, fanny packs/cap-sacs, and DVDs.

Over the 2.5 hours, all but the first questions-on-mic round project onto Central Cinema’s big screen. The event makes excellent use of their speakeasy movie theater environment, with a litany of strange, amusing, nostalgia-inducing, and brain-tickling film-based games, including fake newspaper articles, scenes with characters cropped out, before-and-after movie titles, cartoon cats in famous costumes, and much more. The questions seem designed to make you laugh before you and your teammates put your noggins together.

Their most popular segments happen in rounds 4 and 8, which are traditionally presented as movie clips edited into a wrap-around segment. (Example: Dance sequences edited into the “Tequila!” scene from Pee-wee’s Big Adventure.)

Of all the local trivia games, this one feels the most like a family. A big, rowdy, nerdy family.

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Betty’s Body of Knowledge @ Solo Bar

Sundays from 7 – 9 pm

Solo Bar is not just a wonderful hangout spot for theatre people, but it also boasts Betty Wetter’s trivia show, Betty’s Body of Knowledge, which has been going on for five years now. “I believe we have over 6,000 questions asked!” Wetter told The Ticket.

“This trivia is different because I am a drag performer,” Wetter continued. “My approach to the game is part knowledge, part entertainment. Writing good trivia is a game for me just as much as playing it is for the audience. I get stoned every week and pick ideas that I feel like researching and create my own questions. I write questions that will make you laugh while you’re racking your brain for the answer.”

The game comes in four rounds—10 questions per section—and varies from word games (like a recent round called “Taylor Swift or Shakespeare”) to visual rounds that may ask you to identify sitcom living rooms or ransom notes made from candy logos.

The game shifts and fluctuates and morphs each week in a personable, approachable, and delightful way. “One of my favorite moments is when I ask a question that gets the team really arguing over the answer. Or when the audio round becomes a sing-along. Or when there is a tie at the end, I make them phone a friend who answers a question to break it.”

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Raised by TV @ Clock-Out Lounge, Wildrose, Rendezvous, High Dive, Larry’s Tavern, 18th & Union, and more

Various days and times (check their calendar)

Futurama, 30 Rock, and Friends quizzes. Cinema Club nights. Legendary Mario Kart tournaments. Raised by TV events run the gamut with multiple events at venues across the city pretty much every week.

“I think I bring a unique voice to the pop culture lovers of Seattle,” said founder and events producer Brandon Ryan. “As a nerd and a theatre artist, I am able to infuse my nights with a certain production value that creates a memorable evening of nerdery.”

The trivia nights started in 2010 as a fundraiser for MAP Theatre—which Ryan co-runs with Peggy Gannon—until it branched off into a full-time job and its own company. “In January of 2020, I officially launched Raised by TV. And it was highly successful for about three months until the world broke. But we came back when the world did and have been expanding the RbyTV empire ever since.”

Ryan does all the writing and producing himself. “Every show of film series in my catalog of events is something I love,” he continued. “I love using my pop culture-infused brain to create memorable nights for likeminded nerds. I have a huge catalog of about 30 TV shows in my brain that I put on events for. And the pleasure of producing a singular event that can bring 80-120 or so strangers into a safe room so they can all celebrate a thing they have a passion for is quite rewarding.”

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Geeks Who Drink @ Zeeks Pizza, Teku Tavern, The Unicorn, Chuck’s Hop Shop, and more

Various days and time (check their calendar)

The well-known, Denver-based company Geeks Who Drink (GWD) currently has around 25 weekly quizzes in the greater Seattle region and constantly adds new venues. Each daily quiz is the same regardless of where you play, so you could get the same questions as your trivia-loving friends in Atlanta. Then GWD does it all over again for the next day, meaning you could play five days a week and answer 300 new questions.

Their pub quizzes are fast-paced and last around two hours, with a mix of regular on-mic, visual, and audio rounds. Teams are limited to six players max. And since the pandemic, they have changed to a digital format, so put away your pencils and bust out your smartphones. (Believe me, it’s easier for everyone this way and uses far, far less paper.)

GWD also does theme quizzes, private events, and the newly introduced Small Batch Trivia, which are fewer questions over the same amount of time for those who wish for a slower-paced game.

And a note for those who wish to play: Always, always tip your bartenders and servers well. They’re the real heroes.

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Sporcle @ Petoskey’s, A Pizza Mart, JJ Mahoney’s Irish Pub, and more

Various days and times (check their calendar)

One of the other nationally recognized big companies in trivia is Sporcle, whose main offices are based out of Detroit and Seattle. Designed mostly for online play—they boast “the world’s largest quiz community”—they rose to prominence due to ease of use and the ability to design your own quizzes. But in terms of just, you know, going to a bar and answering questions, they have nearly 30 live events around here for your entertainment.

The in-person Stump! quizzes are pretty laid back, especially in comparison to Geeks Who Drink. There is lots of time between questions, so you can still, say, watch the Mariners game on the bar’s HDTV and remain competitive. (This is how I stumbled upon one of their events.) One thing that separates the trivia from its brethren is the ability to wager points and then go full Double Jeopardy rules at the end of the game.

Games take less than one hour, and two are usually scheduled per night. So if you’re new to Sporcle or Stump!, use the first game to figure out the tone and progression, and then prepare to crush all those strangers also playing when game #2 starts.

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Marcus Gorman

Marcus Gorman is a Seattle-based playwright and film programmer. He once raised money for a synagogue by marathoning 15 Adam Sandler movies in one weekend. You can find him on Instagram and Twitter @marcus_gorman.

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