The best pub trivia nights in Sydney
This Monday evening trivia takes place in the reduxed Lane Cove club’s upstairs section. This makes sense seeing as it can accommodate the large numbers that turn up, but it also means your in for more of a chic community hall vibe over a cosy pub atmosphere. You’ll find two rounds of 20 questions, that cover all sorts of topics. The host kindly gets votes from the room for some topics (‘Kardashians or chemisty!?’), and may even chuck in bonus points if you make him laugh with your answer. They also flip the night’s rankings on their head with a bet-your-points-style final question.
What can you win? Vouchers for food and bottles of wineWhat’s the crowd like? Young families, loud ladies nights and big groups.
What’s for dinner? A good steak will aid your trivial pursuits.
Some trivia nights are all about stringing out the fun for as long as possible, but at the Golden Barley it's a wham-beam double round that moves at a cracking pace. Lucky, as Monday isn't typically the night for lingering at the pub. Host Gavin is a no-nonsense host with some very tricky questions - don't be surprised if the questions are from events as recent as 12 hours earlier. Got specific skills? They also run a monthly pop-culture trivia night.
What can you win? First prize is $50 cold hard cash; second and third get bar vouchers; plus there are rounds of drinks for your table for winning rounds of heads and tails or "who am I?" questions.
What’s the crowd like? You'll want to be in and seated well before kick-off because every seat is filled on our visit – this is serious quiz business so there’s not a lot of time for banter. Only victory.
What’s for dinner? Plan to eat dinner here because the Barley does a very good line in pub classics.
This probably isn’t the kind of bar you’d expect to have a popular trivia night; it’s spread over a series of cosy rooms without one big communal space. But that doesn’t stop locals from turning out in their droves for four rounds of trivia (and a few bonus games) covering everything from geography to classic Australian ads. The questions are pumped through the bar’s trusty PA system, although everybody has to pack into the front bar for a quick round of true or false.
What can you win? The first prize is a $50 bar tab but there’s also a cash prize that goes up by $50 each week. The winning teams draws a card and if they pick correctly they walk home with the jackpot. Apparently it usually goes off between $500 and $800, so persistence is handsomely rewarded.
What’s the crowd like? Plenty of teams rock up – generally a younger but serious bunch – and spread themselves across the venue. You’ll still want to get in early if you want a particularly comfy table or quiet corner, but the layout means there’s a fairly laidback vibe everywhere.
What’s for dinner? The Little Guy’s focus is firmly on drinks but they’ll give you a generous complementary serve of salty spiced popcorn. If that’s not enough sustenance to get you through the two-hour tournament, there are snack boards available.
Mike is adept at asking questions that either make you feel terribly clever for knowing the answers, or deeply frustrated because you’re sure you knew that/read that/heard that once.
What can you win? There’s an $70 bar voucher for first place, a $30 voucher for second and a bottle of wine to encourage second last to keep on trying. Plus bonus rounds get packets of Tim Tams and jugs of Pimms as rewards.
What’s the crowd like? There’s a little wiggle room that develops when the after- work crowd gives way to the trivia regulars, but if you’re sure you want to play you need to get in early to secure a table amongst Paddington’s well-dressed professional set. There are at least three big tables on our visit – punters appreciate the power of numbers.
What’s for dinner? The special rotates between $15 steaks, schnitzels and burgers.
Concetta is your host for this slick Quizmeisters-run weekly competition. The questions are pretty eclectic, although a good, up-to-the-second working knowledge of pop culture will come in handy. If you’re the type of person who knows more about the political history of the Falkland Islands than the TV show Love Island, you might be out of your depth. There are also video rounds to test your cinema knowledge with onscreen actors performing famous scenes out of context.
What can you win? First prize is a $75 bar tab, second is $50 and third is $25. But as with all good trivia nights there are bonus rounds where you can win jugs of beer.
What’s the crowd like? The tables fill up pretty quickly even though it’s a Monday, so make sure you’re there at least before registration starts at 7pm.
What’s for dinner? There’s a $12 schnitty. Need we say more?
Mondays are quiet in Sydney, but there’re hijinks to be had at Darlinghurst’s beloved beer barn. Trivia starts around 7pm and Oscar is your sassy host with a truly terrible cheesy playlist that features Cher and the Corrs – hilarious and awful. You’ll encounter two rounds of questions, a page of brainteasers, an arts and craft round that involves sculpting with alfoil and a taste test challenge where you must identify what beer from the 20-strong list is in the glass. Making you work for those bonus points there are also interactive rounds like ‘Pony or Pornstar?’ and a singing challenge.
What can you win? Winners walk away with a $40 bar tab with a fortnight’s expiry on it, second place gets $25 at the bar and second last gets a $10 bar voucher.
What’s the crowd like? There’s a handful of bigger groups who reserve tables and keep an eye on the Facebook page for clues in the lead-up to Monday night trivia, and it’s worth checking – the original five members of AC/DC was worth five points we could have used.
What’s for dinner? You’re here for at least two hours so now’s a great time to commit to the whole roasted beer can chicken that easily feeds three for $50 and is a salty, juicy mess-making main meal that takes up to 45 minutes to cook.
Quiz master Alexei packs a lot of movie-themed fun into two rounds of questions, ranging from the dead easy (who is Judy Garland’s movie star daughter? – duh!) to the more head-scratching (can you name every Spike Lee film starring Denzel Washington?). Extra points are awarded for punny team names, and it pays to keep an eye on the Rotten Tomatoes ratings because ‘Fresh or Rotten?’ is a regular feature. The chic bar is as small as Kevin Spacey’s chances of a comeback, so booking a table on the website is recommended for the fortnightly events.
What can you win? There are Golden Age Cinema Gift Passes for the overall winners and drinks and bar snacks for the runners up.
What’s the crowd like? This hip young film crew knows their Truffaut from their Tarantino, so be prepared for some stiff competition.
What’s for dinner? It’s mainly snacks and pretty expensive, with a $5 lolly bag the cheapest option up to a $25 antipasto plate, and you can get cheesy toast for $12. The quiz only goes 90 minutes though, so you can go seek a more affordable late Surry Hills supper at 8pm.
Do you know whether sumo wrestlers throw rice or salt into the ring before a match? How many flags can you name with the colours red, green and black? What colour is Bond Street on the Monopoly board? If you’re a wiz at random facts you’ll meet your match in the Dove & Olive’s trivia host, Lara, who runs a tight ship at this Tuesday night battle of the minds. Larger teams tend to book ahead for seats at the circular tables upstairs and the same team names tend to dominate the scoreboard each week.
What can you win? Winners collect a $50 bar tab, but each bonus round comes with covetable prizes such as a jug of gold coins, or a voucher for jug of beer.
What’s the crowd like? If you need to stow your laptop bag under your quiz sheet you’ll be in good company. There’s a good mix of young CBD and Surry Hills office workers here.
What’s for dinner? Tuesday’s daily special is a $12.90 schnitzel that you can pimp for $2 with bacon and three cheese topping; sriracha sauce, pineapple and three cheeses; or the Italian – grilled eggplant and, you guessed it, a trio of cheese.
Tim Govers runs trivia every week that navigates anything from the news to booze, across two rounds. You'll also work you way through an anagram challenge, plus celebrity and geographical guessing games for free drinks cards. The final round is a gamble round – you can bet all the points you've accumulated through the evening to double them on one question, and if you get it wrong you lose your points, so it's high stakes.
What can you win? The winning team gets to share a $100 bar tab at the Wild Rover, which is handy as you’ll probably be booking your table for the following week before you leave.
What’s the crowd like? There’s only room for one big group in the upstairs bar, so teams are made up of three-to-four friends around a small table. Teams of two can perch at the bar without feeling outnumbered.
What’s for dinner? Carb up on pork and pastry with sausage rolls beforehand or during rounds, and knock back $25 Batch pale ale growlers and bottles of Tempranillo or Riesling.
In wonderfully geeky game-show style, your host Neil emarks on three rounds of questions with a bent towards geography and music, throws in two bonus questions where teams cry out answers to win jugs of beer, and ticks off a themed name-that-celebrity questionnaire. You can reclaim the cash you’ve spent on beer by throwing a dollar in for the true-or-false round, winner takes all (which on our visit was close to $40).
What can you win? There’s respectable bar vouchers of $80, $40 and $20 for the top three teams.
What’s the crowd like? Most tables are booked by large groups of knowledgeable (and fiercely competitive) baby boomers who are sticking to their studies rather than hitting up the bar. Signing up to the weekly clues email list might be a wise move.
What’s for dinner? Since you’re there for more than two hours, make a bulk investment in a kilo of buffalo wings with a tangy blue cheese sauce, or order a metre-long pizza for the table.
It’s not like we need much encouragement to head to the Welcome for a counter meal and a craft brew, but for low-key entertainment their trivia night hits the spot. Two rounds, famous faces and alfoil sculpting are all on the agenda, in addition to some musical numbers.
What can you win? First prize is a $60 bar voucher. Second and third prize are a bottle of wine and last place gets a packet of chips.
What’s the crowd like? It may have gussied up the eats and drinks, but the Welcome is well loved local and the crowd skews towards local kids grown up and catching up with dear old dad, nice young couples on a quiet night out and even a local pooch weaving in around the chairs. It’s not a huge space so if your heart is set on the quiz it’s worth booking.
What’s for dinner? $15 buys you a schnitzel that is everything you want from a counter meal classic – crunchy golden shell, juicy white meat and chips and coleslaw. In fact, Tuesdays are the only night they do schnitzel here; normally it’s a crumbed pork cutlet, so get it while it’s going.
Effervescent MC, James 'Breko' Brechney, brings his brand of high energy circus trivia to the second floor 'Athletic Bar' each week. Each team has their own giant plasma above their table to play along to the music and video rounds. General knowledge and pop culture questions are peppered among picture rounds, creative challenges, human Hungry Hippos and ring toss which can flip the leaderboard on its head. Spot prizes of jugs of beer and bottles of wine keep the competition fierce.
What can you win? The winning team gets a $75 bar tab, second place $50 bar tab and third place gets Breko's mystery prize.
What’s the crowd like? Fun, lively and up for a laugh. Play in a pair or bring your entire family, big horseshoe booths allow for a number of large teams, with smaller tables available to suit teams of any size.
What’s for dinner? Food service is available until well into round two, from poke bowls and honey glazed haloumi, to the pub classics of beer battered fish and chips.
The dining-hall style interior of the PBC might as well have been designed especially for trivia. It’s massive, and the long tables are spaced far enough apart that you can avoid peekers or eavesdroppers. Led by the firm but kind ‘Mr Trivia’, the questions here are separated into two entertaining rounds.
What can you win? The grand prize is a fifty buck bar tab, and that goes down by $10 increments for second and third place. There’s also a bonus round of four questions at the end, which could land you a slowly growing over several weeks jackpot.
What’s the crowd like? Very local. The PBC is a much-loved neighbourhood pub so you’re up against tables of families, neighbours, dog park besties, and OG Petersham gentrifiers. There’s a few younger share house types but mostly regulars who’ve worn their seats in..
What’s for dinner? Huge plates of chicken parmy, burgers and cute personal pizzas.
This Surry Hills favourite is busy on a slow night, so be warned: when trivia's on, the place gets absolutely packed. Get in early (for maximum dedication, you can book your team a table ahead of time) so you can order and finish off a schnitzel before you and your team take on the rest of the bar in a rowdy game of ‘know-it-all’. Two rounds with 30 questions total (spread across two rounds) and Quiz Meisters are on hosting duties.
What can you win? First, second and third place get a $100, $50 and $25 bar tab respectively, and there's also a jogs of beer going in spot prizes and for fourth place.
What’s the crowd like? They're an organised bunch on trivia night, with most of the tables in the front room reserved ahead of game-time. Take that as a sign they're an I-know-my-shit bunch.
What’s for dinner? Tuesday nights at the Forresters is all about the $15 schnitty.
They aim to keep the scope of the questions here as broad as possible so everyone gets a moment to shine with their weird Simpsons knowledge (Homer’s email address was chunkylover54@). The ole famous faces round gets a look in here too.
What can you win? Winner takes home a $70 hotel voucher, runner-up gets $30 and there are free drinks up for grabs. Plus you can quench that hard-thinking thirst with jugs of Coopers Pale Ale for bonus prizes.
What’s the crowd like? The elegant lounge here is a great place for a drink at the best of times, so when you add trivia to the mix it gets pretty rammed. If you’re in a group its worth booking in advance – regulars take their trivia seriously here.
What’s for dinner? The $12 burgers are your budget-friendly option on trivia night. You can opt for beef, chicken or veg (sorry vegans, the patty is made with ricotta, peas, spinach and potato) with lettuce, tomato and mayo, but they have 17 extras that can be added for 50 cents each. Now’s the chance for the bacon, pesto, jalapeño, pickle burger you’ve always dreamt of.
It's a packed bar at the Ivanhoe for Tuesday night trivia, so get in well before kick off if you want to grab a table for a group (there was barely even a single seat free at 7.30pm the night we were in). Seasoned host Alice is your quizmaster, with questions ranging from ’90s music to contemporary film and ’60s fashion. This ain't an exam you can prepare for.
What can you win? Prizes vary but if you win you'll usually take home a decent bar/food voucher.
What's the crowd like? Manly’s locals come out in droves for trivia. You’ve got the young and surfy mixed with the sun-kissed middle-aged and 30-something couples.
What's for dinner? On Tuesday nights it's all about $15 pizzas.
This pop culture heavy contest eschews obscure historical cricket facts for questions on Round the Twist and pop music, plus they add an audio-visual element for good measure.
What can you win? The prizes here vary from week to week but first place nabs a $70 bar tab, $50 for second and $20 for third place.
What’s the crowd like? It may have changed gears from its days as a topless bar, but the Oxford Tavern is still very much a locals’ haunt during the early part of the week and regulars book tables in advance.
What’s for dinner? If you’re not here for the trivia then you’re here for the schnitzels. Tuesdays they are $12 a pop 6-10pm and come in four flavours: Mexican, Hawaiian, parmigiana and Napoli.
There’s a devoted following for the Marly’s Tuesday night trivia, hosted by the platinum-haired, beautifully manicured Reta, who has the mysterious, glamorous air of someone who might have once worked in Vegas. She’s a dab hand at this gig and is the sort of generous host who skips questions universally declared too hard, asks people what category they’d prefer for certain questions, and if you’re a tiny team of two next to a packed table of eight she might just nudge you in the right direction to even the odds a little.
What can you win? First, second and third place all get a $25 bar voucher, which seems odd but it does spread the love more evenly across the crowd, so there’s lots of winners. Plus if you solve the anagram first there’s alcohol in it for you.
What’s the crowd like? Sure, the Marly is the stomping ground of the younger co-eds at the pointy end of the week, but on a trivvia night the crowd skews a little older and less rowdy. They keep the lights low and don’t pack the room too heavily.
What’s for dinner? Counter meals are always reasonably priced here – go some nachos for $15, a fried chicken burger for $19 or a schnitzel for $20.
This is a corporate-run but enjoyable trivia night of six rounds of questions divided into categories: Who Am I?, Sport, Geography, Music et al. Teams get to choose two rounds that give them double points, which keeps the final outcome surprising, and all questions are projected onto screens with related imagery.
What can you win? There are bottles of wine for the winners and vouchers for second and third place.
What’s the crowd like? It’s a chilled suburban crowd with a pretty wide age range. If anything, questions favour the older crowd.
What’s for dinner? The drawcard here is the large indoor self-serve barbecue. Choose your meat and cook it yourself to enjoy a big discount.
There is a die-hard crowd of trivia players at the Union’s weekly quiz night, so the competition is fierce – people take their movie quotes, sporting rules and geography very seriously here. Host Craig (a palaeontologist by day) is a genial host who gives you lots of thinking time and at least one clue for each team per round. At over three-hours run time, this is a Trivia night you can really settle into so order a tasting paddle and get comfy.
What can you win? First prize is an $80 bar voucher, second is $40 and third get their pick out of two bottles of wine. The second bottle goes to second last place. Plus there are drink prizes for special questions like “Who am I”.
What’s the crowd like? This trivia night has a dedicated local following, so there’s a sense of camaraderie in the room. Plus, given the questions lean towards Gen X and Boomer pop-culture, the crowd skews that way too.
What’s for dinner? Fuel your brain with a meatball sub with fries, or if you play well with others there are two-person serves of ribs and slow-roasted lamb. Don’t eat meat? You’re covered here too.
Questions lean more towards pop culture, sport and animals than politics or global news stories, but host Tyson likes to shake things up by throwing in a Who Am I?, bonus points for correct spellings, heads and tails based on flipping a coin, and a puzzling riddle to unpack between rounds.
What can you win? First prize is a $100 bar voucher, second place gets one for $50 and the team with the third highest score walks away with a $25 voucher.
What’s the crowd like? The outdoor tables are long, which is perfect for groups of six-plus players. It’s also helpful to have at least one team member who loved British TV in the ’80s.
What’s for dinner? It’s time to show your Aussie pride – the Australian has $15 pizza specials on trivia nights and their toppings include saltwater croc, peppered kangaroo and emu.
Hosted by an MC clad in a resplendent purple smoking jacket, The Henson’s trivia night is a rambunctious affair. Hugely popular, the competition here is fierce, loud, and proud.
What can you win? The Grifter Brewing co. sponsors the Henson’s trivia nights so expect quality beers when you win a free jug.
What’s the crowd like? Loud groups of Inner West dudes, tables of rowdy uni-age intellectuals, and quiet trivia hobbyists whose stern scribbling reveals that this is not their first rodeo… this week.
What’s for dinner? The usual burgers, schnitzels, and tacos, plus poke bowls, katsu don, and Balinese chicken.
Jay Katz and his partner in quiz give good chat as they blast through three rounds of ten questions that start with the politics of the day and then break down to anything they can find on the internet. No bells and whistles here – straight questions, no musical rounds and no famous faces. It’s all about the Q&A.
What can you win? Darlo Bar themes the prizes around the time of year (be it Valentine's or the Queen's Birthdays) and also to match their own calendar of events (be it a '70s disco shindig or a house party inspired rager). There's also bottleshop vouchers, jugs and schooners up for grabs.
What’s the crowd like? It's a mixed bag or regulars, older folk and uni students.
What’s for dinner? The Darlo doesn't have a kitchen, but they'll outsource you Grill'd burgers and Thai food and serve it to your table.
The Triple H hosts weekly trivia in its revamped bistro. It's run by the guys from InnQuizitive trivia, so you'll get to know different hosts in throughout their stints, which range from long term to drop in gigs. They say a quick game's a good game and the HHH delivers with eight rounds of topical trivia and no mucking about.
What can you win? Winners score a $75 pub voucher for first place.
What's the crowd like? It depends on the night – some weeks it's super busy with trivia nerds from far and wide, other weeks it's a quick game with locals only.
What's for dinner? They do a curry special on Wednesday with a glass a wine for $20. Also counter meals are a little bit fancier here and are on the more expensive side – it’s a good impetus to win a dinner voucher for your next visit.
This red bricked Milsons Point pub dishes out weekly trivia that often packs out well before the kick off time of 7.30pm, so book a table ahead if possible. A roster of different personalities from Left of Centretainment's Comedy Trivia host the evening, so expect quick-fire rounds with laughs interspersed throughout.
What can you win? Hotel vouchers of $60, $30, $20 and $10 are the prizes for first to fourth, plus there's instant drink vouchers on offer.
What's the crowd like? It's a mixed bag but there’s always a big turnout. It skews a little older, but the questions don't necessarily cater to that age bracket.
What's for dinner? They don't do special, but the bistro will do you a decent panko crumbed schnitty for $24.
If you’re not following the bell ringing you in for start of a theatre production downstairs, you’ll setting up for trivia with hosts Jess and Gautier at this famous old pub. These witty, former Old Fitz bar-keeps take you through two rounds of questions, interspersed with quickfire-rounds: you’ll score an instant jug of beer or choccies for the table if you can match quotes to films, guess-that-song Spicks and Specks-style, or answer a cooking question.
What can you win? Bar tabs of $50 and $25 with a two-week expiration are awarded to grinning winners and runners-up, but the bonus first prize is the bag of goodies ‘sponsored’ by Coles (and sometimes Woolies). There’s multi-purpose sponge cloths, rubber gloves, 10 steel wool soap blocks, window cleaner, and dijon mustard up for grabs. Why not?
What’s the crowd like? If you haven’t reserved tables you’ll share bar-leaning space with salty locals – who’re continuously reprimanded for yelling out answers while not actually playing –and the resident bar dog, Fin.
What’s for dinner? It’s hard to go past the $15 quiz’n’schnitz special that comes out quick, with wonderfully crunchy chips and gravy.
If you’ve accidentally found yourself at this undervalued Redfern pub on a Thursday then you’re in for a treat, because their trivia game is strong. It's worth noting that the venue is pretty small and booking ahead in strongly encouraged.
What can you win? Winners walk away with a $50 bar voucher, but there’s a hefty cash jackpot to be won as well – it was $400 on our visit.
What’s the crowd like? Triviality has a dedicated following that has built up over the years and the crowd reflects the transitional stage Redfern is in, with gentrified newcomers mixing with the older locals.
What’s for dinner? They don’t do a special for the night, but the chicken parmigiana is an envy-inducing feed, and the $25 rib eye on the bone is a juicy, tender, well-seasoned cut that keeps good company with a light, peppery sauce.