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Themed trivia nights debut at Brother’s

Themed+trivia+nights+hosted+at+Brothers+Bar+and+Grill+every+month+are+a+huge+hit.+Students+are+typically+willing+to+wait+in+lines+half+a+block+long+to+get+into+the+bar+on+these+nights%2C+which+University+alumnus+Michael+Ponte+began.
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Themed trivia nights debut at Brother’s

Themed trivia nights hosted at Brothers Bar and Grill every month are a huge hit. Students are typically willing to wait in lines half a block long to get into the bar on these nights, which University alumnus Michael Ponte began.

Themed trivia nights hosted at Brothers Bar and Grill every month are a huge hit. Students are typically willing to wait in lines half a block long to get into the bar on these nights, which University alumnus Michael Ponte began.

Brian Bauer

Themed trivia nights hosted at Brothers Bar and Grill every month are a huge hit. Students are typically willing to wait in lines half a block long to get into the bar on these nights, which University alumnus Michael Ponte began.

Brian Bauer

Brian Bauer

Themed trivia nights hosted at Brothers Bar and Grill every month are a huge hit. Students are typically willing to wait in lines half a block long to get into the bar on these nights, which University alumnus Michael Ponte began.

When Illinois alumnus Michael Ponte pitched the idea of hosting themed trivia nights to Brothers Bar and Grill, he wasn’t sure if students would want to forego a night out in favor of playing trivia.

It was just two years ago, in October 2014, when he first brought Whaddayaknow? Free Pub Trivia, a Chicago-based trivia company, to Champaign.

“As a college-aged adult that loved trivia, I had a feeling that it would be a great demographic to target,” Ponte said. “I figured that if I couldn’t enjoy the kind of trivia that I wanted to while I was down here, I might as well let others experience the fun that I had.”

After partnering with Brothers, Ponte began hosting weekly trivia nights that have been going strong since.

The next trivia night will be at 8:30 p.m. on Monday and will be Harry Potter themed. The other newly added themes will be on the first Monday of every month.

Ponte said, on average, he can expect about 10 to 12 teams participating every Tuesday night. Illini Sporcle, a trivia club, was even formed this semester and competes weekly.

The RSO was founded by Christobal Gana, junior in LAS and vice president of Illini Sporcle.

“We decided to start an RSO after meeting in rowing club and coming to Brothers,” Gana said.

Quad Day enabled the club to recruit new members and spread the word about the newly formed club. The executive board and members of Sporcle are currently in competition for the Chicago Trivia tournament, where winners can win up to $1,000.

“Whaddayaknow? has this huge tournament in Chicago twice a year called the Tournament of Champions, and the top three teams or so from each location advance to the big tournament day,” Ponte said. “So there are like 100 teams to compete with.”

The incentive to win $1,000 for something enjoyable is an appeal to both the executive board and Sporcle members, which keeps them coming back each week.

Parker Bradley, senior in Engineering, is a new member of Sporcle and enjoys the competition between the executive members. He hopes to also participate in the tournament.

He said his team attends trivia almost every week and has been in a tight competition with the executive board’s team after winning the last few consecutive trivia nights.

“Our team has done consistently well each week, and we are trying to qualify for the Chicago Tournament,” Bradley said. “We come because it’s fun, and it’s a chance to win some money and drinks.”

After recognizing the past two years’ success and feeling the need for change, Ponte brought the idea of themed trivia to the Brothers manager and was given permission to add an extra day of trivia every month.

“Sometimes when I tell people that I host trivia, a few say ‘Oh that sounds fun, but I’m so bad at trivia’ or something along those lines,” Ponte said. “Trivia’s not for everyone, I get that. But with themed trivia, you may not be good at a bunch of other categories, but there are always people that are good at one particular topic, especially popular TV shows and movies and books.”

The first themed trivia of the semester was based off of “The Office,” a popular television sitcom. After the event was shared over 750 times on Facebook, Ponte said he was not sure what to expect.

“I had a feeling I was going to have a full house that night, but that would almost be an understatement,” he said. “Quite honestly, I was only prepared for maybe 30 or 40 teams at most.”

Fifty-eight teams ended up participating in the Monday night event, and Ponte had to go across the street to print more copies of the score sheets for teams to use.

“It was a crazy night and super busy, but I think and hope people enjoyed it,” Ponte said. He realized the success of “The Office” trivia and is preparing himself for the “Harry Potter” trivia night on Monday and “Friends” themed trivia on Dec. 5.

Next semester Ponte is hoping to host themed trivia two nights a month and is planning for “Game of Thrones” trivia and “How I Met Your Mother.”

The bartenders and customers have given Ponte positive feedback encouraging trivia nights at Brothers to continue.

Austin Kolmodin, Brothers bartender and senior in Business, said he generally sees the same groups at Tuesday night trivia.

“It’s fun,” Kolmodin said. “You get to casually drink, play games and get competitive, and you get to go home relatively early.”

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this article stated that the Harry Potter themed trivia night was on Tuesday, Nov. 8. The Daily Illini regrets this error. 

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