Englishman John Barrand runs trivia every week in his green crocodile cowboy boots. He’s ready with anagrams, picture rounds, cheeky tips (shared equally) and a rocking soundtrack of Meat Loaf and the Troggs. Bonus questions mean teams can win drinks vouchers throughout the night. Questions range from naming the X Factor judges to the driest deserts in the world, so it’s not a trivia night you can cram for. Pick your team wisely, or simply gamble all your points at the end – it’s a brutal loss if you’ve been the better team of the night, but it makes for an exciting sprint to the finish line.
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? A dozen oysters will set you back $32, but as you’ll be upstairs for at least two hours, carb up on pork and pastry with right-dollar sausage rolls beforehand or during rounds.
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.
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, reserve 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’. Expect two rounds of questions and additional bonus points if you've got a special talent to show off – dad jokes count!
What can you win? Winners get a bar voucher for $50, and runners up receive bar tab prizes up to $25.
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. There's barely a seat left spare for last minute punters.
What’s for dinner? Tuesday nights at the Forresters is all about the $12 schnitty. They call it World of Schnitzel night so spice up your golden fried chicken with an international topping.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org). If you’re seriously confident you can bet all (or some) of your points on one question at the end of the quiz from a category chosen by the room. 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 and a personal training voucher in the mix as well. 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). 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? First prize is $75 worth of vouchers to spend in house ($50 on liquor, $25 on food – that's our kind of ratio). Second prize is $25 each on liquor and food ($50 total) and there's a random draw to win a $25 booze 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 you get a free local beer or house wine with a medium pizza (around $19) but most people seem to be on the $10 Ivanhoe burger.
We’re harking back a little now but the excellent trivia at the long lost Abercrombie Hotel can now be enjoyed at the ’Tav. The 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. They even harness your smart phone for good in a round where a contestant from each team must leave the room and receive the answers to a ‘Who Am I’ via text.
What can you win? The prizes here vary from week to week. Could be cases of beer, bottles of wine or bar tabs. Runners up also get prizes and there are free jugs of beer awarded during bonus rounds.
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 more where that came from...
Do you possess freaky accurate knowledge of the Simpsons oeuvre? Do you know your Australian cricket captains better than you know your own uncles? Use all the weird, wonderful and utterly useless facts in your arsenal at one of Sydney's best pub trivia nights.