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The best trivia nights in NYC

Know-it-alls and useless knowledge buffs unite—we’ve got the perfect places to flex your brain muscles around the city

Photograph: Courtesy of Ryan Muir
Noah Tarnow, The Big Quiz Thing

No matter what neighborhood you live in, you’re no further than a few subway stops from a local trivia night, where brainiacs flock to prove that knowledge of obscure facts is truly worth all that headspace. The levels of healthy competition vary between venues and happy hours, so depending on how seriously you take your trivia, it ranges from “I almost made it onto Jeopardy” to “I just want an excuse to drink with friends”—and at most spots, mental moxie translates into an excellent opportunity for your group to pay off its bar tab at some of the best beer bars in NYC. No better excuse to try out one of the best things to do this week and assemble a clever gang and get to thinking and drinking!

Best trivia nights in NYC

Nerd Alert! Trivia at Black Rabbit

Tuesdays 8-10pm; free

This laid-back night has been around for more than seven years and got a thumbs from Time Out New York staff for its amicable mix of pop culture and serious trivia questions. The winner gets a $25 bar tab, and there are bonus prizes of free shots between rounds. Past categories have ranged from the visual (matching photos of presidents to their veeps), musical (knowledge of the Beach Boys and the Velvet Underground recommended), Marvel comic books, mythological creatures and fictional bands from TV and film. They’ve even had participants guess the title of a highly respected famous work of literature based on the one-star reviews it received on Amazon.

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The Charleston

Tuesdays at 9pm; free

This Williamsburg dive bar hosts a trivia night of midlevel difficulty with four rounds of six questions that take more than two hours to get through. Prizes include $25–$40 bar tabs or a pull from the mystery bag. “Shot rounds” between each regular round are popular with the extroverts, as contestants can shout out answers for a free shot. First-place teams are entered in the running to compete at a later date for a fixed-gear bike. It is Williamsburg, after all.

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Trivial Dispute at the Crocodile Lounge

Wednesdays at 8:30pm; free

This raucous spot in the East Village is popular among tatted millennials for its skeeball league and free mini pizza with every drink, but it also boasts a weekly “Trivial Dispute.” Third-place teams receive a $20 bar tab, second-place gets a $30 tab and first-place gets a glorious $50 tab, plus one free shot question per round in which you are encouraged to yell out answers.

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Geeks Who Drink at Bronx Ale House

Sundays at 9pm; free

Geeks Who Drink is a national brand pub quiz modeled after those in the U.K. and Ireland. Expect an expertly formatted yet raunchy evening of rounds that range from the visual to current events and pop culture. You’ll get to choose your own team name, and creativity is encouraged: A recent team chose the name “Babies with Rabies.” Play in teams of up to six or as little as one if you fancy yourself a solitary genius (if not, they’re happy to give you a spot on an existing team).

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The Bronx

Pacific Standard

Sundays at 8pm; free

This trivia night is the perfect way to end your weekend and prep your mind for the work week ahead. It has a wide range of topics, with questions ranging from moderate to hard. But make sure you and your friends get there early to nab a couch seat (it’s laid-back California vibe, man), as this popular event gets crowded quickly with regulars.

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Boerum Hill

Pete's Candy Store

Wednesdays at 7:30pm; free

This trivia is really tough, so make sure to have at least one savant-minded group member. For those of you who treat trivia like it’s an Olympic sport, this is your spot. The competitive spirit is all in good fun, and it’s entertaining to watch brainiacs duke it out on the mental battlefield. The payoff is sweet for you, smartypants, ranging from $15–$75 bar tabs and a chance to compete in the twice-yearly finals. Pete’s motto says it all: “Think you know a thing or two about a thing or two? Prove it.”

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Professor Thom’s

Wednesdays at 8:30pm; free

Don’t let its charming red Brit-inspired exterior fool you: This casual, rowdy East Village sports bar has ample Boston accents inside and sturdy wooden furniture with TVs inside every booth, constantly showing whatever game is on. The usually crowded weekly trivia allows teams of six or less to compete for gift cards; $50 for first place, $25 for second and a pitcher of Coors Light beer for the third-place team. Trivia round categories range from geography to ’90s music, so study up on remote Eastern European countries and Queen Britney!

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East Village

The Big Quiz Thing at Q.E.D. and the Slipper Room

Every first Tuesday at Q.E.D. at 7:30pm; $8. Every third Monday at the Slipper Room at 7:30pm; $10.

This isn’t your casual bar trivia. The Big Quiz Thing is a spectacle of a multimedia live trivia game show with Jeopardy-levels of difficulty, created and hosted by senior quizmaster and former Time Out New York editor Noah Tarnow. The Big Quiz Thing has a monthly residency at two locations: the sultry noveau cabaret venue the Slipper Room on the Lower East Side and comedy venue Q.E.D. in Astoria.

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C U Next Tuesday at Rockbar NYC

Tuesdays at 8pm; free

Awkwardly off-putting name aside, this trivia night has fans among the Time Out New York staff due to its mix of classic trivia (writing down the answers or just shouting them out loud) and participation-style activities, during which you’ll draw pictures or perform onstage. The queer rock-and-roll theme of the joint makes for a lively crowd competing to win a $25 bar tab. Arrive early at 6pm for a movie screening and stick around after the trivia for flip cup and $6 well drinks from 8pm to close.

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West Village

Nerd Nite Sunset Trivia at Brooklyn Bridge Park

Tuesdays at 8pm; $5/person

This trivia night boasts the most breathtaking setting of the bunch, and it’s at a bar that has real sand and a pool in which you can dip your toes! Trivia in paradise without leaving New York = pure bliss. We can’t think of a better way to spend a Tuesday evening.

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Brooklyn Heights
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Lily P.
Lily P.

My favorite trivia spots in NYC are TriviaTryst on Wednesdays either at Stone Creel (27th & Lex) at 8pm or Boss Tweeds (Essex & Rivington) at 6:30pm. Free to play and you can win $50 off your bar tab. Questions are general knowledge (sports, music, movies, pop culture, history, food & bev, geography, business, tech, etc.) with Name That Tune rounds, which are great.