Food & Drink

San Francisco's 8 best trivia nights

Published On 11/06/2014 Published On 11/06/2014

The best thing about a pub quiz? Even if you're useless at geography, history, and science, every trivia team still needs the person who will recognize Kylie Kardashian as a baby. And if you're gonna show off your very specific skill set, you might as well do it at one of these: the eight best trivia/pub quiz nights in SF.

Blackthorn Tavern

Blackthorn Tavern

Inner Sunset
When: Mondays at 9pm
Quizmaster Peter Malone asks six rounds of questions (they get harder as he goes) ranging from entertainment to sports and history to geography. He also includes a picture round and a few "Name That Tune" questions, where he plays short snippets of songs over the bar's PA system. Get there early to grab a table because the bar fills up. The daily drink special is chosen by the bartender.
Prizes: Cash and drinks



Russian Hill
When: Wednesdays at 8pm (also on Tuesdays at their sister bar, Soda Popinski)
There are four rounds total, with 10 questions each: current events, a theme round (classic movie quotes, ingredients in famous cocktails, etc.), a music round (10-12 brief clips are played and participants have to guess the song or artist name), and general trivia. Get there early to get a table.
Prizes: Teams can win different prizes throughout the night: a round of shots for the most creative team name, gift certificates for the overall winners, etc.

Mad Dog In The Fog

Mad Dog in the Fog

Lower Haight
When: Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9pm
Mad Dog's trivia night is so good, they have it twice a week. Get there early if you wanna sit and enjoy a couple of beers from their extensive selection, since trivia likely won't start on time.
Prizes: Gift certificates to the bar ($30 for 1st place)

Yield Wine Bar

Yield Wine Bar

When: Tuesdays at 7:30pm
This (roughly) 30-question pub quiz will make you ponder questions ranging from history to science and politics to pop culture (and will also make you laugh). Teams may consist of no more than six players. Get in before 7pm to grab a table and take advantage of happy hour prices.
Prizes: Discounts off the bar tab for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place teams


Edinburgh Castle

When: Tuesdays at 8:30pm
One of SF’s longest-running quiz nights is also known for being one of its most difficult. Arrive early for the happy hour specials: $4 pints/wells and a $5 Recession Special (PBR and whiskey) every day from 5-8pm.
Prizes: Cash money and drink coupons

The Valley Tavern 24th Street

The Valley Tavern

Noe Valley
When: Tuesdays at 8pm
The six rounds include verbal, written, and musical challenges. Give your brain a break with one of the 39 beers on tap or the daily drink special.
Prizes: Gift certificates to the bar ($30 for 1st place)

Flickr/Thomas Hawk

The Bitter End

Inner Richmond
When: Tuesdays at 9pm
Four rounds of trivia ensure that you can turn your brain off completely by 11pm. Heads up: it gets packed -- you know what to do.
Prizes: Cash for the winners (1st place gets 30 bucks), free shots for the team with the best name, and T-shirt raffles, so even the losers have a chance of going home with something

Darren Edwards


The Mission
When: Tuesdays at 9pm
Get there early if you want a seat -- which you do, since this quiz is 60 questions long. Beer specials: $4 Heineken bottles and $4 Newcastle draft. The quiz usually runs until about 11:30pm, which is perfect since happy hour starts again at... 11pm!
Prizes: $30, $20, and $10 gift cards to the bar

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Daisy Barringer is Thrillist's SF Editor and she is patiently waiting for the day that her extensive Beverly Hills, 90210 knowledge will come in useful at a pub quiz (Dylan > Brandon, for the record). Follow her on Twitter @daisy

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1. Blackthorn Tavern 834 Irving St, San Francisco, CA 94122 (Inner Sunset)

Live bands, giant pool tables, huge TVs, and a rowdy trivia night all ensure that you'll stay entertained at this sprawling Inner Sunset pub. Head to the back for Blackthorn's tucked-away (and heated, in colder temps) patio: a small oasis that lets you escape from the bar noise if you're looking for a more relaxed night over some domestic or imported draft beers. In addition to brews, there's always a solid lineup of barrel-aged cocktails in rotation here, including the Boulevardier, aged for two months in-house, made with rye, campari, and vermouth, and garnished with an orange peel.

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2. Tonic 2360 Polk St, San Francisco, CA 94109 (Russian Hill)

Vodka gummy bears, East Coast-style pickle backs, and fish bowls filled with vodka, coconut rum, fruit juice & Swedish Fish all make Tonic one of the most popular places to party in Russian Hill. Beyond the weekend craziness, its weekday trivia is some of the best in the city.

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3. Mad Dog In The Fog 530 Haight St, San Francisco, CA 94117 (Lower Haight)

Because you seem really trustworthy, Lower Haight's resident English pub lets you pour your own beer courtesy of the TableTender, an eight-stooled table with a built-in two-tap system that pulls from kegs stashed in a cabinet underneath.

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4. Yield Wine Bar 2490 3rd St, San Francisco, CA 94107 (Dogpatch)

In a classic San Francisco fashion, this Dogpatch wine bar (and sister spot to Pause in Hayes Valley) only serves sustainable and organic wines from family-owned and operated wineries. Since Yield's standards are so high, its wine is excellent and hard to come by anywhere else in the city. The food is also exceptional and not just "for a bar." There are grilled flatbreads (vegan-friendly, of course) and bites like goat cheese-stuffed dates and artichoke, kale, and parmesan dip.

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5. Edinburgh Castle 950 Geary St, San Francisco, CA 94109 (The Tenderloin)

The Edinburgh Castle is far less pretentious that the title would make it seem -- cheap drinks, a fun trivia night, a young crowd, and cheap drinks (it's worth saying twice!) make this a great spot to relax and enjoy some cheap drinks (sorry)!

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6. Valley Tavern 4054 24th St, San Francisco, CA 94114 (Noe Valley)

VT's a standard SF sports bar, but with way better tap brew, company, and pool.

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7. The Bitter End 441 Clement St, San Francisco, CA 94118 (Inner Richmond)

With a pool table, a fireplace, darts, and a sweet trivia night, The Bitter End is like the awesome basement you never had growing up. A great selection of beers and a fortifying bar food menu mean that you can move in forever -- or at least probably make it to last call.

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8. Elixir 3200 16th St, San Francisco, CA 94103 (The Mission)

Home to 350+ whiskies, Elixir, which opened in 1858, is the second oldest saloon in the city. The space feels like a combination of a pub, sports bar, and cocktail lounge, which accounts for their amazing diverse drink menu. Come for happy hour and stay until it transforms into a velvety candle-lit party, because why not?



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