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Starting a Pub Quiz at your

Bar or Restaurant




Determining a Day and Time


Most pub quizzes take place on Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays, or Wednesdays (the days when bars and restaurants frequently have trouble bringing in customers). When determining a day to hold a weekly quiz, check out the competition--are there other locations in your area that hold weekly quizzes? If so, try to find a day when there are as few as possible--this will allow players to "work the trivia circuit" and play many games in a week. Sundays and Mondays can be problematic during football season--if you have TVs at your bar or restaurant, you may be able to sidestep this potential problem.


As for the time of the game, consider your audience--are they generally late night denizens, or do they need to be home to go to bed and get up for work the next day? Generally speaking, the older the crowd, the earlier you will want to host the game. Most of our games start at 7:00 PM, allowing people to be home at a decent hour. This start time also makes the game a good "date night" for couples who will need to leave their children with a babysitter. If you are thinking of hosting your game on Sundays, consider a 5:00 PM start time--this would alleviate the concerns of "being out late on a school night."


Advertising the Game


Once you've determined a date and time, make sure to advertise the event. There are many different and inexpensive ways to advertise:

  • Create quarter-page fliers—these can be kept on the counter of the bar or restaurant, handed out to customers, given to customers with their bill, attached to the menu, or placed under car windshield wipers in the parking lot (check local regulations to make sure this last one is okay). You can include a “10% discount for first time players with this ad” announcement on the flier.

  • Create full-page fliers to place at your establishment and at other local advertising spots (coffee shops often have bulletin boards, as do supermarkets and other locations).

  • Contact local newspapers/magazines to see if they have free “local events” calendars.

  • Many communities have free local events calendars online.

  • If you have a FaceBook page or website, make sure you post information about Trivia Night.


Presenting the Game


You’ve advertised the game and compiled your questions; now it’s time to host the game. A few notes about presenting the game:


  • Finding a Host: You can host the game yourself, have an employee host the game, or ask a regular patron to act as host (and give him or her a free meal or drink). Whoever you choose to host the game, make sure he or she can speak clearly and loudly (especially if you have no PA system), and have them read these notes about presenting the game.

  • Answer Sheets: Print more than you think you will need (it is embarrassing to run out). If your answer sheet is two pages long, print the pages back-to-back. For answer sheets, click here.

  • Announce the Rules: Be sure to announce the rules clearly. The two most important rules are no cellphones and no shouting out answers. The rules we use are printed at the top of our answer sheets.

  • Use of Media: If you are going to use media (i.e., flash the question on a monitor, or play music), be sure to double and triple check that everything works! It is very embarrassing to have to pause the game for technical problems…believe us, we know.

  • Call Out Questions Twice: It is always a good idea to call out each question at least two times. If you are announcing questions without a microphone, be sure to rotate direction so that you are heard throughout the bar or restaurant.

  • Stress the “Answer” Part of the Question: Stress exactly what you are looking for in the answer. For example, if the question is about a city in Europe, stress the answer you are looking for by saying: “Which European city…which European city…is nicknamed the Eternal City.”

  • Be Personable: Walk around the location on a regular basis. Answer questions the players may have about the questions you’ve asked. When we find that all teams are struggling with a particular question, we either clarify the question for everyone, or give a hint to everyone. Being personable will also make the game more fun for the players.

  • Pacing: When it comes to how long a game should last, we like to think in terms of a motion picture: 90-120 minutes, from the first question to the announcing of winners. You don’t want too much time in between questions; nor do you want the questions to come so fast that the players can’t keep up. As a rule of thumb, try to ask a new question every two minutes, or so.

  • Marking the Answer Sheets: We suggest that you mark the answer sheets yourself—having the players mark their own, or having teams pass them around to “grade” each others can lead to problems and arguments that you don’t want to have. After asking the last question, announce that the teams have five minutes to turn in their answer sheets (some will take a few more minutes—use your best judgment as to when you stop by their table to retrieve their sheet). It's also a good idea to keep your own cellphone (or web-enabled tablet) handy to check online if you think you may have a bad question (one with a wrong answer).

  • Announcing the Results: Before announcing the winners, announce the correct answer to each question. Throw in some of the funny incorrect answers teams came up with—a laughing group of players is a happy group of players. Announce the score for each team, starting with the lowest and making your way to the highest. We like to have a fake team (a team name we have made up) finish last each week to make sure that none of the real teams has to come in last.




Prizes can vary widely. We have hosted games with no prizes, but find that players like the idea of receiving something for their efforts, no matter how small. This will probably get them to return for the next trivia game, too. A few suggestions:


  • Food or Drink: Winners could receive a round of drinks, an appetizer, a dessert, or an entrée.

  • Percentages: Winners could receive a percentage off of their tab (e.g., 30% for first, 20% for second, and 10% for third). The discount could be applied that night, or be in the form of a certificate they can use the next trivia night.

  • Discounts: Players could receive a cash discount on their tab (e.g., $15 for first, $10 for second, and $5 for third).

  • Clothing: Does the bar or restaurant have T-Shirts?

  • Monthly Prizes: Offering a monthly prize to the team that has the highest cumulative points for the month will also lead to repeat customers and more excitement.

  • Photos: Take a picture of the winning team and place it on your FaceBook page (or on the webpage of the bar/restaurant).

All contents of this website are the copyrighted property of Trivialogy. January 26, 2015.

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