Trivia nights build community


The Daily Illini File Photo

Students attend trivia night at Murphy’s Pub Apr. 7, 2019.

By Erin Cady, Staff Writer

From “Game of Thrones” to Sports History, trivia nights in Champaign-Urbana bring the community together for friendly competition and fun.

Bars, stores and groups across town hold weekly trivia nights that draw individuals from all ages to come and join the competition. The questions range from easy to difficult enough that self-proclaimed die-hard fans struggle to keep up with the game.

On campus, trivia nights have become a staple for bars like Brothers and Murphy’s. Students gather their teams and make their way down Green Street for chances to win prizes and show off some friendly competition against their fellow students.

Michael Ponte, coordinator and host of Tuesday night trivia at Brothers Bar & Grill, saw he needed to bring his love of trivia to C-U after moving here from the Chicago suburbs in 2014 for graduate school.

Ponte was a frequent trivia player during college and afterward in the Chicago suburbs. His experiences playing with friends at a local bar were what inspired him to bring his knowledge to the community and help revamp trivia nights in the area.

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He has been hosting trivia at Brothers since 2014, and he has recently begun weekly games at Pour Bros Craft Room in downtown Champaign.

“It’s just fun to hang out with friends and also just be competitive with people at the bar,” Ponte said. “I like that it’s not too easy, but also not so hard that it feels impossible, and anyone of all skill levels can play.”

Trivia nights aren’t restricted to any age limit or individual; people from all ages and backgrounds can turn out for a chance to test their skills at a wide variety of topics.

Trivia can be used to establish teamwork, build friendships and gain knowledge about something you may not have known before, all while having a fun and social night with friends.

Harvest Market, located on Neil Street in Champaign, hosts trivia every other Monday night. Topics change every time and range from music parodies, movies and books to geometry, history and seasons.

As a large grocery store, age especially does not matter here. Unlike a bar, where younger kids and teenagers may not be able to join, Harvest Market offers anyone the opportunity to join in.

Ethan Roberts, bar manager at Harvest Market, took over trivia nights about three months ago.

He said on an average night, about 25-40 individuals show up to play, grouped into teams of four.

According to Ponte, general trivia typically attracts crowds similar to Harvest Market; however, specific themed trivia such as “The Office” or “Game of Thrones” can attract hundreds of individuals and bring the bar to full capacity for the night.

John Klages, senior in Media, was a frequent trivia player at Firehaus throughout his time at the University. He said these theme nights were particularly fun.

“I liked the themed trivia nights because they were based on shows or movies that I love,” he said. “I also liked them because it gave my friends and I the chance to get together and have fun. I played in both “Game of Thrones” and “How I Met Your Mother” last year.”

Klages and his friends would join teams and enjoy the chance to put their skills to the test.

The experience of being on trivia night teams with his friends was a bonding experience that brought him closer to individuals and helped establish a common interest among many people.

Unlike sports events or specialized tournaments, trivia requires no prior skillset or conditions for joining in. Trivia nights are being used to join the community together and create a night of common fun and interest for anyone who wishes to join in.

Ponte and Roberts both stated that at Harvest Market, Brothers Bar & Grill and Pour Bros, joining the tournament comes at no charge, but people are eligible to win prizes and have the pride of winning a trivia tournament.

“Win or lose, it was fun to think about everything we know about all the different topics,” Klages said. 

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