If you’re glued to Jeopardy! on the regular and looking for your own trivia fix, metro Detroit has you covered. Metro Detroit's blossoming trivia scene is now home to dozens of pub quizzes where teams of up to six people (sometimes more, depending on how obnoxious your group is) battle it out for bragging rights... not to mention gift cards good for the host venues, pride, and in some cases, actual cash.
Local trivia powerhouse Quizzo runs trivia league play, and teams can win up to $1,000 if they make it through a three-month season victorious. With the arrival of national startup Geeks Who Drink, the city has four major trivia companies vying for dorking/drinking business. There’s also Sporcle and My Trivia Live, and the venues that host these evenings offer huge variety -- you get everything from hole-in-the-wall to full-speed hipster (so many pork bellies and craft meads!).
If you have a free weeknight and want to challenge your friends to throw down with Detroit’s most lethal trivia geeks, check out these metro area spots.
When: Mondays, 7:30pm
The host of this Quizzo event is really the draw here. Detroit native and Thrillist contributor Aaron Foley, author of How to Live in Detroit Without Being a Jackass, has the questions, answers, and sweet backing tracks that make trivia fun. Atwater boasts a large selection of house-made beers that the brewery describes as “traditional German style lagers, along with unique boutique ales.”
When: Tuesdays, 7pm
Madison Heights’ favorite karaoke bar offers a fun twofer for a Tuesday: trivia followed by karaoke. Augie’s has a massive dining room, making it one of the few trivia venues in the area where players aren’t so close together that you worry about other teams overhearing your answers. The bar offers a huge menu (stick to burgers and bar classics here) and a full bar. When you’re done showing off your big brain, you can stick around and show off your big voice. The karaoke here rivals setups in far larger cities with its infinite song selections and real stage.
When: Wednesdays, 7pm
This hybrid gastropub and movie theater is the only place in metro Detroit where Quizzo players can snack on movie popcorn (real butter!). Recent questions included, “Which carmaker produced a special Pikachu-themed vehicle during the height of the Pokemon craze?” We went with Nissan, because our server whispered it to us as she set down a basket of hot poutine. It was, of course, Volkswagen. In addition to poutine, there are pizzas, burgers, and a vast selection of movie-themed cocktails, the best of which may be the Lebowski Brown Russian. We get a little protective of that drink -- enough to say, “Careful man, there's a beverage here,” when trivia pals get too close to the glass.
When: Mondays, 8pm & 9pm
Farmington Hills’ own Basement Burger Bar really is in a basement, but the burgers are penthouse-level. Host to Sporcle Live, the Basement is the only metro Detroit trivia venue where players can wrap the evening with a desert called the frozen pig: premium vanilla ice cream topped with real maple syrup and bourbon-cured bacon. Sporcle has a fun, quick style, and the evening is split into two separate games, so you can come at 8 or at 9 and still get in a full round of play.
When: Tuesdays, 6:30pm
The Firebird, hosting Quizzo nights, caters to the Midtown/Campus Martius/Greektown after-work set, and the menu leans on trendier bar fare, with items like poutine and fries with truffle mayo. The hightop tables make for a casual atmosphere, and the drink selections don’t disappoint. Our favorite was the Our Fashion, a twist on the Old Fashioned, with Old Forester bourbon, spiced cherry, and the Firebird’s own proprietary bitters.
When: Wednesdays, 8pm
New national company Geeks Who Drink take over HopCat’s second floor, making the Huma Room trivia central. The Geeks format makes for a long evening of bar trivia. There are eight rounds, bonuses, and audio & visual clues. While the night is new and clearly a work in progress, the setting is fun (classic car chassis over the bar helpfully remind you you’re in Detroit). HopCat’s menu offers many interesting ways to experience melted cheese and “crack” fries.
When: Wednesdays, 9:30pm
This Cass Ave mainstay popular in the Wayne State community hosts My Trivia Live on Wednesday nights. The bar, known for its unmistakable inflatable white awning, has a rowdy trivia crowd, sustained by heavy-duty pizzas and unserious mixed drinks you won’t find anywhere else in the city, like the Orlando -- a banana martini with amaretto and Rumchata. My Trivia Live is also the go-to in the outer 'burbs, offering pub quizzes in Livonia, Westland, Farmington Hills, Allen Park, and many other venues.
When: Tuesdays, 10pm
This Ypsilanti bar and grill puts out enormous burgers of all kinds and a beer list to rival many of Detroit’s best craft breweries. This place is a haul, but deserves a mention because the venue is always jam-packed. There’s a heavy collection of regulars here, with teams making reservations for the My Trivia Live’s late-night show at 10pm on Tuesdays. These questions are a little easier than Quizzo’s, but any advantage good players have tends to be undone by the final bet feature of the game (think Final Jeopardy). One last question can be the sole method for determining winners, which may irk more seasoned players, but certainly opens the field to anyone who gets lucky with one right answer.
When: Sundays, 10pm
Ferndale’s own bacon paradise hosts Quizzo for one last weekend hurrah before going back to work on Monday. If you’d like bacon with a side of bacon, there’s literally… bacon with a side of bacon on the menu. Pork belly, bacon, and a poached egg make trivia even better, as do maple donuts topped by bacon, and one of the area’s largest selections of beers, ales, meads, ciders, and whiskeys.
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1. Atwater Block Brewery237 Joseph Campau St, Detroit
2. Augie's31660 John R Rd, Madison Heights
3. The Maple Theater4135 Maple, Bloomfield Hills
4. Basement Burger Bar33316 Grand River Ave, Farmington
5. Firebird Tavern419 Monroe Street, Detroit
6. HopCat Detroit4265 Woodward Ave, Detroit
7. Circa 1890 Saloon5474 Cass Ave, Detroit
8. Tower Inn Cafe701 w cross, Ypsilanti MI, Ypsilanti
9. One-Eyed Betty's175 W Troy St, Ferndale
Located in Detroit’s historic Rivertown district, this brewery offers a rotating selection of craft beers. At first glance, it might appear as a break spot for a brewmaster, but upon further inspection, it's one of the only places in town to drink surrounded by huge vats of cerveza.
This Madison Heights spot boasts all the accoutréments of a divey sports bar: classic food like pizzas and heaping burgers, multiple flat screen TVs, live music, bingo, and one of the best trivia nights in the Metro Detroit area. Augie's killer happy hour deals make it a solid option any night of the week, but karaoke also attracts the masses thanks to its extensive library of songs and actual performance stage.
Dominate movie night at this classy theater that boasts 700 seats (all leather!), a coffee bar for the java enthused, and a bar bar for the rest of us.
Boasting an endlessly customizable "build your own" burger menu and classic American bar bites (tater tots, nachos, beer-battered onion rings, and more), this family-owned Farmington outpost is one of the better spots in Metro Detroit to grab a burger and a beer. Food here is greasy in the right way, flavor-forward thanks to its use of fresh ingredients from local farmers -- and if that's not enough reason to head over right now and snag a seat at the fully-stocked bar, it's also worth noting that Basement Burger Bar offers one of the best trivia nights in the area.
This Greektown bar offers awesome drinks and great food, like a Fried Green BLT, a diner burger, and pretzels with warm dipping cheese.
This taphouse chain does it big in Detroit, with a 1,200-square-foot space featuring 130 taps and 30 bottles, and a comfortable leather seating area that gives off a sophisticated '70s allure. If you're so inclined, take your brew to the beer garden upstairs, which is heated yearround and features locally-sourced murals and art as eye candy. Oversize is also the theme on the American menu, and you'll find it full of whoppers like the Über burger: a 10oz porter-braised beef patty topped with jalapeño-bacon mac & cheese, haystack onions, beer cheese sauce, and blue-cheese-black-pepper mayo on a jumbo English muffin.
This Cass Avenue dive bar dressed with outdated decor serves cheap drinks and greasy meals to Wayne State students, daytime regulars, and trivia night players on a nightly basis. A pool table in the back and darts keep the mood social, but fortunately the status quo is generally a casual, relaxed crowd looking to throw back an evening drink over conversation.
This casual bar and grill is popular among the college community, who flock to the breakfast buffet for their freshly cooked sweet and savory omelettes and crepes. In the evenings, deep dish squares of pepperoni and sausage pizza, hot breadsticks, enormous burgers, and a beer list to rival many of Detroit’s best craft breweries maintains the bar's popular reputation.
Answering the prayers of those who crave craft brews and top-notch bar food at 12am on a Tuesday, O-EB's a raucous ale den loaded with communal picnic tables, spacious leather booths, a trifecta of classic pinball machines, a stocked jukebox, and an unfinished beer cap mural you can contribute to.