By Alison Paylor | Photo by Seth Binsted
Shortly after its opening in February 2008, Clementine Cafe started holding a weekly trivia night. Now a local hot spot, Clementine normally has every table in the house filled on Tuesday nights and a line still waiting to be seated.
Lola Mullen has been the event’s host for the past eight months. Clementine’s trivia night also has another host, Aaron Schmitt, who covers one trivia night a month. Some trivia night goers may even be lucky enough to have both hosts on the same night.
They ask an even mix of questions from art and history to math and science. Questions can be as current as the owner of Segway, Jimi Heseldon, running his own product off a cliff. That particular category was “I’m not just the president, I’m also a victim.” With Mullen’s questions, teams will either know the answers or they won’t. In most cases guessing won’t do any good.
“I ask every conceivable question you can think of because there are all sorts of teams, so everyone gets a mix of things they like and things they don’t like,” Mullen said.
Mullen and Schmitt find inspiration for their questions anywhere. They look up information to create and even mix of questions for all types of people and ages. Certain trivia nights have themes. One night in early October the theme was Canadian in celebration of the Canadian Thanksgiving.
There is a regular crowd of trivia night goers as well as constant newcomers, curious as to what Clementine’s trivia night has to offer. Whether a returning customer or a newbie, teams often get very competitive.
“I know some of the teams personally and they get upset when the same teams keep winning every week,” Mullen said.
Trivia teams consist of six or fewer members and will be seated when half of the group arrives to the restaurant. Before trivia night begins (promptly at 9 p.m.), Mullen sits at the back of the restaurant with her microphone and computer reminding tables to submit their team names. On the night I attended, team names ranged from “Poisonous Apples” and “On Tap” to more creative ones such as “RIP Craigslist: Adult Service Section” and “I came, I saw, I came again.”
There is only one rule to Clementine’s trivia night, “don’t cheat!” If teams are caught with cell phones out while the score sheet is on the table, not only will they be disqualified, but they won’t be notified of their disqualification until after the game is over.
The rundown of trivia night goes like so: There are four rounds total. Each round consists of four questions. For the first two rounds, each team accompanies their answers with a number one, three, five or seven. The highest number goes with the answer the team feels most confident about.
Next is the “Shot Question.” The shot round is similar to the game show “The Price Is Right.” The host describes an object and asks the teams to guess the object’s price. The team with the guess closest to the actual amount is the winner of the round. When I went the “Shot Question” was how much a yacht was sold for on EBay. This particular yacht holds the record for the most expensive item ever sold on EBay for $168 million. The winning team’s guess was $97.7 million.
Though very popular, shots aren’t the only option; the underaged crowd can substitute the shots for a dessert.
The final round differs from the first two in that the point value for the answers increases to two, four, six and eight. After all final round questions are asked teams get the chance to gamble with how many points they have earned.
“The last round is tricky because you wager how many points you want. Last week we lost because we wagered all of our points,” said senior quantitative finance and math double major Caleb Reed.
Win or lose, at the end of the night, everyone has an enjoyable time.
“You get to meet people and the trivia itself is challenging,” said sophomore engineering major Brandon Lancaster.
And if nothing else, trivia night can be a fun excuse to go out on a weeknight.
“We’re making a regular habit of it,” Reed said. “It’s fun, and it stimulates your mind.”
Other local restaurants, like Blue Nile and The Artful Dodger, also offer trivia nights on Mondays and Wednesdays. And although Clementine’s seems to be the most consistent, “I absolutely recommend coming out to trivia night, go to all of them. It’s a good time and I used to participate in them myself.” said Artful Dodger trivia night organizer Mike Farrell.
The relaxed atmosphere provides the perfect place to host a trivia night. Whether it’s a girls’ or guys’ night out, Clementine offers a comforting ambiance and a pleasant setting for all.