Keep your brain working this summer! These bars and restaurants offer weekly trivia nights with fun prizes, drinks and food.
by Rachel Simon | photography by Charles Harris
Sure, school’s out for the summer, but that doesn’t mean your brain needs to shut down for business. Instead, give your mind a fun workout with a trivia night at one of the many Triangle spots that offer weekly events full of hard-hitting questions.
Whether you’re a sports fanatic, history buff or pop culture superfan, there are plenty of options. And even if you’re a newcomer to the trivia world, you can still have a great time — just grab a group of knowledgeable pals and engage in some friendly competition, along with some food and drinks.
“Trivia is something fun to do with people that you already talk to on a regular basis,” says Justin Bunch, manager of House of Hops, which hosts two weekly trivia nights. Additionally, he says, the nice thing about trivia is that “it gives you the ability to compete a little bit, but it’s not a huge time commitment.” Plus, he adds, “it’s free — and free will always be a draw.” Ready to test your knowledge? Head to one of these popular Raleigh trivia spots below on your next free weekday
The Best Trivia Spots in Raleigh
Trivia Vortex at Alamo Drafthouse
Know everything about Star Wars? Can you name every Marvel film in order? Head to Raleigh’s Alamo Drafthouse on Mondays for two hours’ worth of movie-themed trivia, hosted by bartender and projectionist Kelly White. In addition to plenty of trivia about plot holes and Oscar wins, there are questions with audio and visual components that often involve audience participation. “We try to make it a little bit interactive and more like an entertainment night than just straight trivia,” says White. Prizes like movie passes and food vouchers are awarded all night long to both the top teams and others in the usually 50-person-strong crowd. And while it certainly helps to be a film fanatic, casual viewers are welcome.
Beer lovers should take note: Once a month, Alamo hosts Trivia on Tap, in which a local brewery sponsoring the night will provide samples and inspire trivia themes around their beers. Alamo also has a general knowledge trivia night on Wednesdays at 8 p.m., hosted by Geeks Who Drink. You and up to six people can win free pints and prizes throughout the night while showing off your all-genre knowledge.
Mondays at 7 p.m. and Wednesdays at 8 p.m.; 2116-D New Bern Avenue; drafthouse.com/raleigh
Pub Trivia nerds at Clouds Brewing
Clouds Brewing is known for its top-notch selection of beers and food, but also its fun events, from drag brunches to wine tastings to trivia nights. On Wednesdays, it hosts a medium-difficulty game of general-knowledge trivia that draws around 100 people, with no limits on team numbers (make sure to reserve a spot in advance). The top three winning teams can win gift cards to Clouds for up to $100, and all attendees can enjoy $2 off canned beer during the evening. The main draw of the night, though, is the community of trivia fans and the host who “does a really great job keeping things moving,” says manager Danielle Watts. “Our trivia is not dragged out, nor is there a lot of filler.”
Fridays at 7:30 p.m.; 126 N. West Street; cloudsbrewing.com
Trivia at Flying Saucer Draught Emporium
If you pay close attention to current events, you’ll do great at Flying Saucer’s Tuesday trivia, which quizzes its participants on the latest in politics, pop culture, sports and more. Be prepared to face some tough competition, as there can be as many as 40 teams vying for the top prizes, according to manager Kim Miller. All customers can enter to win additional prizes — from coolers to snowboards to music festival tickets — with a raffle held on the last Tuesday of each month. The four highest-ranking teams are awarded gift cards of up to $50, which they can use on their bill at the following week’s trivia night. It’s encouragement for them “to defend their title as champions,” says Miller. Plus, if your team’s cumulative score over the weeks is high enough, you can be entered into Flying Saucer’s yearly, invite-only Trivia Bowl, which offers double the prizes and serious bragging rights. Then, at 9:30, Flying Saucer hosts a second, R-rated trivia, focused on all things sex. The racy, adults-only event offers the same prizes.
Tuesdays at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.; 328 W. Morgan Street;
OpinioNation at House of Hops
Want something a bit more casual? Spend your Thursday nights over at House of Hops, which offers two Family Feud-style rounds of trivia based solely on popular opinion. “It’s basically a free-for-all,” says manager Justin Bunch. “Just come have fun guessing what other people guess.” Questions span a range of categories including movies, sports and music: “What’s the best Tom Hanks film?” or “What’s the worst pizza topping?” There’s no set limits on teams, but you can expect about 80 or 90 people in attendance, and the top three teams can win cash prizes of $25, $15 and $10.
House of Hops also offers more traditional trivia on Tuesday nights at 7 p.m., open to teams of up to six people. There’s no consistent theme, but “part of the fun is that you can’t necessarily prepare for it,” says Bunch. And in addition to the same cash prizes as on Thursdays, you can also vie for free pints of beer after each of the seven rounds.
Tuesdays at 7 p.m. and Thursdays at 7:30 p.m.; 6909 Glenwood Avenue, Suite 100;
The Best Trivia Spots in Durham, Cary and Chapel Hill
Bull City Ciderworks
Whether you’re a Taylor Swift fan or a motocross expert, this wide-ranging trivia night is bound to have something for you. Hosted by two former Bull City Ciderworks bartenders, TP Trivia is known for providing a healthy mix of fun and competition, even giving out a “last place” prize to the lowest-scoring team.
Thursdays at 7 p.m.; 305 S. Roxboro Street, Durham ;bullcityciderworks.com
Durty Bull Brewing Company
If you like your trivia with a side of tacos, you’re in luck, because Durty Bull Brewing’s weekly event features food trucks alongside the competition. And of course, there’ll be plenty to drink, too, if you need a little loosening up before tackling the questions.
Thursdays at 7 p.m.; 206 Broadway Street, #104, Durham; durtybull.com
Fortnight Brewing Company
Locals love this Cary pub started by two Brits. With a broad beer list, this recently expanded brewery has both a cozy interior space and a roomy patio featuring a different food truck every night. On Mondays, Fortnight hosts a classic trivia night — but if trivia’s not your strong suit, consider the more egalitarian Music Bingo on Thursday nights, which goes through hits decade-by-decade for a chance to win prizes.
Mondays at 7:30 p.m.; 1006 S.W. Maynard Road, Cary; fortnightbrewing.com
Gizmo Brew Works
Over in Chapel Hill, you can attend a lively weekly trivia competition at one of the town’s top breweries, with plenty of drinks and prizes to go around. Plus, you can get an early start on the night by checking out the hints on categories and questions posted on the brewery’s Instagram.
Thursdays at 7 p.m.; E. Franklin Street, #100, Chapel Hill; gizmobrewworks.com
Hickory may be best known as a bar to watch the latest game, but it’s also home to a weekly trivia tournament featuring big prizes and yummy wings. Come with a team or join one there — you’ll have fun either way. Tuesdays at 7 p.m.; 1156 Parkside Main Street, Cary; thehickorytavern.com
You can also enjoy some slices of pizza while showing off your trivia know-how over at Durham’s Ponysaurus, held outdoors on the lovely patio. There’ll be prizes for both the top winners and losers (and the team with the best name), so you know you’re in for a good time.
Mondays at 6:30 p.m.; 219 Hood Street, Durham; ponysaurusbrewing.com
Voted the Best Trivia Night in the Triangle by IndyWeek in 2022, Tomato Jake’s has plenty to offer for trivia fans of all skill levels. Not only do the top three teams earn cash, but there are gifts awarded for funniest team names, silliest answers and more. So even if you lose, you might come out on top!
Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m.; 8202 Renaissance Parkway, #101, Durham; tomatojakes.com
This article originally appeared in the July 2023 issue of WALTER magazine.