Some Trivial Pursuits

area taverns develop interactive trivia nights

Aryn Widule, photos by Andrea Paulseth

There are times in a person’s life when, in the middle of a perfectly informative conversation, someone brings up the 1981 movie Sharky’s Machine. You immediately recall that it was directed by Burt Reynolds (who also played the part of Tom Sharky). Then, almost unconsciously, you remember that Vittorio Gassman played a part in the film. Then you wonder why you have such a hard time remembering your girlfriend’s birthday. The bad news is that everyone picks up useless, random facts and trivia. The good news is that there are a handful of places around the Chippewa Valley that reward you for it with prizes and a great time.

Many people are familiar with Buzztime trivia, a sort of computerized Jeopardy where you can play using television sets while you wait for your food or drinks. In Eau Claire the Northwoods Brewpub and Buffalo Wild Wings, along with Club 10 in Durand, offer this service for the casual triviaster. However, for those more serious about showing off the treasure trove of inane facts they’ve accumulated about pop culture, there are places around the Valley that offer dedicated trivia nights hosted by flesh-and-blood people that come complete with prizes and a variety of game styles.

I spoke at length with Nick Arnold, an accomplished Karaoke MC and head honcho at the Wigwam Tavern’s Thursday night trivia. Nick runs one of the most involved and entertaining trivia events in town, and it was immediately apparent that he was really into his role as trivia master.

“I try to make it more of an event, as opposed to something you might just do while waiting for your food,” he said. “You can get a group of friends together, go out, have a few drinks, and have some fun. You can make a night of it.”