Get smart on campus with Trivia Mafia

Preston’s Urban Pub brings the city’s trivia buffs to Seven Corners.

by Kara Nesvig

Question: WhatâÄôs the best way to spend a drunken night on campus that doesnâÄôt involve screechy karaoke at Blarney or weak dollar rails at the Library? Answer: Playing trivia, duh! And now that the new and improved PrestonâÄôs Urban Pub âÄî formerly Sgt. PrestonâÄôs âÄî has brought the folks behind Trivia Mafia to its West Bank confines, every Tuesday night you can take a break from studying and put your brain to work on a more worthwhile pursuit: a free bar tab. Though the word âÄútriviaâÄù might conjure up images of old folks gathered around âÄúJeopardy!âÄù or your dad dominating at Trivial Pursuit , itâÄôs actually becoming quite the nightlife entertainment around the Twin Cities, thanks in part to the enterprising duo of dudes whoâÄôve brought your high school Knowledge Bowl to your new favorite bar. âÄúItâÄôs something to do at the bar besides sit and talk to your friends. It gives [patrons] an activity. And some people like the irony of drinking while doing trivia âĦ one activity thatâÄôs supposed to make you dumber and one that makes you smarter,âÄù said Chuck Terhark, co-founder of Trivia Mafia and senior editor at METRO magazine. Question: WhatâÄôs Trivia Mafia? Answer: Terhark and Sean McPherson, a member of local hip-hop group Heiruspecs, independently pitched their trivia dreams to the owner of the 331 Club. It was a move that ultimately united their forces, and the duo began their endeavor as âÄúChuck & SeanâÄôs TriviaâÄù at the Northeast Minneapolis bar. Now their small business has sprawled out to the suburbs, and since two guys canâÄôt handle all those brain-teasing questions by themselves, theyâÄôve got a coterie of 10 to 12 fellow hosts to help them out. Question: What makes a good host? Answer: Someone whoâÄôs responsible, professional and personable, but also a good referee, says Terhark. âÄúThey donâÄôt need to be smart or good at trivia, but theyâÄôve got to be a good referee because people are arguing, asking questions.âÄù Terhark credits a capable host for keeping the regulars coming back. Question: Where do the questions come from? Answer: âÄúSean and I write most of them hanging out at our day jobs reading Wikipedia,âÄù said Terhark. Pop culture is the most popular, with music and movie questions the clear favorite, but the Trivia Mafia makes sure to throw in more staid categories like history and geography to mix things up. âÄúThe trick is to find a way of asking a question in a category that might sound boring, like geography, but ask it in an interesting way so people are intrigued.âÄù Question: What makes a good trivia player? Answer: ItâÄôs all in the teamwork. Assemble an A-team, advises Terhark. Seek out your history-buff girlfriend, the science nerd and the queen of VH1 countdowns to dominate the game. âÄúThe fun of trivia is arguing with your friends.âÄù Question: Why should we show up at PrestonâÄôs? Answer: Though Trivia Mafia makes stops all over the metro area, from Kings in South Minneapolis to the Green Mill in Uptown, itâÄôs PrestonâÄôs that is their newest hotspot (331 ClubâÄôs is most popular so far, with about 25 teams competing on any night). âÄúUnlike karaoke, you can actually win at trivia. Last week it was a free bar tab and a bottle of wine. And we give a prize for last place too.âÄù Terhark said. Your University knowledge might come in handy, since Trivia Mafia often tailors its questions to its locale. Try your hand at some of their tried-and-true crowd-pleasing, brain-teasing trivia below. Here are some practice questions to get you started: 1. What kind of Girl Scout cookie is also called Peanut Butter Patties? Tagalongs 2. What number does the prefix âÄúgigaâÄù stand for? One billion 3. There are four NBA teams whose names do not end in âÄús.âÄù Name all four. Miami Heat , Orlando Magic , Utah Jazz , Oklahoma City Thunder 4. What is the first property immediately following âÄúGoâÄù on the Monopoly board? Mediterranean Avenue 5. Which has two humps, a camel or a dromedary? Camel 6. What is the name of the computer that beat Garry Kasparov at chess in 1997? Deep Blue 7. What country had the world’s largest army, strongest currency and richest economy in 1910? England 8. What is more expensive on on average: A book, or the audio book of the same title? The audio book 9. Brad Pitt played three characters in the past three years whose first and last name began with the same letter. Name two of those characters. Rusty Ryan (OceanâÄôs 13), Jesse James (The Assassination of âĦ), Benjamin Button (The Curious Case ofâĦ) 10. What state has the only flag allowed under federal law to fly at the same height as the U.S. flag, because it was once a country in its own right? Texas