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Posted at 5:03 PM ET, 09/ 3/2009

Pop Quiz -- With Beer

By Anne Kenderdine

Teenagers and college students are heading back to school, where they'll grumble about next week's history test or try to avoid a literature quiz. Meanwhile, some of us go out of our way to find bars' trivia nights where we'll be tested on how well we remember Shakespeare or the periodic table. If you want to get that back-to-school feeling, here are four of our favorite contests.

Some standard rules apply: Don't yell out answers. Don't use mobile phones or the Internet -- in some bars, this will get you kicked out of the game. And don't be a Tracy Flick and argue technicalities about questions. Trivia is supposed to be fun.

Fado has one of the best trivia nights around, a crowded, smoothly oiled machine that mixes pop culture with history, science and other things you should have learned in high school.

There are seven rounds of 10 questions each, most of which are read out by the host. There's also a round or two where you have to identify photos on a handout. In the make-or-break Round 7, all answers are worth double points.

Words to the wise: On Fado's Facebook page, the hosts give hints about upcoming categories, so you can study up for a round about "The Life and Times of Patrick Swayze." Also, each table needs to hit a $10 per person food and beverage minimum, which equates to two of the $4.50 Bass or Harp pints offered during the game.

Prizes -- gift certificates, T-shirts, bar swag -- go to the top three finishers and the team with the best name. Be creative: These range from unprintable jokes to "Vick Arrives in Philly. Asks to Go Back to Prison."

Sample Question: At which Las Vegas casino was Roy Horn attacked by a tiger?

Over the years, the Monday Night Trivia Fight at the Wonderland Ballroom has built up a loyal following of regulars who take turns hosting and writing questions every week, which means it's never the same game twice. There are always seven rounds of 10 questions each, and the team that finishes in last place gets to pick the topic for one category the following week.

"They're super nerds," Wonderland owner Rose Donna says of the trivia crowd. "We get a lot of Star Trek and Star Wars questions. Lots of science."

They also take the game seriously: Donna recalls one time when she had to break up a fight that involved "a lot of swearing." The subject? The number of Legolands in North America.

The winning team -- of no more than five people -- earns a $100 bar tab.

Sample Question: How many Legoland theme parks are there worldwide?

One of the liveliest and quickest quizzes around, Smart Ass features two games every Wednesday night at Nellie's Sports Bar. Both are short -- three rounds of six questions, plus a "speed round" that could be a handout sheet or an audio round where you identified one-hit wonders based on short song clips. Clever questions that involve '80s music, forgotten movies and head-scratching geography make Smart Ass more fun to play than most other games. Competition is strong among the 25 to 30 teams that show up every week -- and teams of two often do as well of teams of eight. Just beware of the final round, where one wrong answer can lose all the points.

First prize is $30 off your team's bar tab. Second prize is $20, and third is $10.

Sample Question: Q: How many properties on a standard Monopoly board share their names with oceans or seas?

EFN Lounge, which was known as BeBar until May, doesn't have a formal trivia structure like some of the other nights. Instead, host Bill Gray randomly asks TV trivia questions about a selected show during Thursday happy hour, which runs from 7 to 9. This week was questions about "Desperate Housewives"; last week was "Absolutely Fabulous." So far, Gray says, they've covered "The Golden Girls," "Sex and the City" and "Will and Grace." Prizes range from bar tabs to DVDs of the TV show in question. Even if you don't get any of the questions right, you still win: all drinks are two-for-one until 9.

Sample Question: In one famous episode of "Absolutely Fabulous," Edina Monsoon argues that there should be a tax on this.

-- Fritz

For the answers to the trivia questions, scroll way down the page.

Fado answer: The Mirage!
Wonderland answer: There are four Legoland theme parks (in Denmark, England, Germany and California).
Smart Ass answer: There are four. Mediterranean Avenue, Baltic Avenue, Atlantic Avenue, Pacific Avenue.
EFN Lounge: Stupidity. ("Why not just have a stupidity tax? Tax the stupid people!")

By Anne Kenderdine  | September 3, 2009; 5:03 PM ET
Categories:  Bars and Clubs, Events  
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DC Improv trivia night. Best in the city. I'm slightly biased because I run it, but judge for yourself ....

Posted by: chris19 | September 7, 2009 11:26 PM | Report abuse

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