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Trivial Pursuits

Every other Monday night in the Inner Richmond, they gather to determine who’s the smartest of them all. And drink. 

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It started with an easy one: Who wears the No. 30 jersey for the Warriors? (Steph Curry. Duh.) And then moved to the hyperlocal: What’s the longest road in San Francisco? (Mission Street, for the record.) But when The Plough and Stars’ bimonthly quiz bowl tourney turned to which president banned broccoli from the White House menu—the emcee claimed it was Junior—the answer had everyone in a bereft uproar. “It was H.W.! It was H.W.!” Someone from longtime team Mr. Natalie Perkins quickly held up a phone with a Wikipedia page. Sometimes, it seems, even a quizmaster can get it wrong.

“Up to three beers makes you smarter; after that, it’s downhill,” says Emma Tobin. She’s on team Turkey Tail, a six-person crew made up of friends from the Avenues. For two years, they’ve shown up regularly to compete at the Monday trivia night led by Eoin Hobden. His dad owns the bar, and Hobden took over emceeing the regular gathering one year ago for fun. It seems he’s found the special sauce: tables with whole extended families that never miss a night (“Having Mom here helps,” says Connor Callahan) and young neighborhood engineers who compete for a $50 bar tab. Paper airplanes with answers scribbled on them coast into Hobden’s hands for score tallying, and the whole room has been known to break out into song when their music knowledge is put to the test. The solid lineup of categories (politics, geography, random Lindsey Buckingham trivia) and a Cheers-cum-Jeopardy vibe make this one of the most popular bar game nights around. The questions are just hard enough to challenge the synapses when you’re a few drinks deep—Trumer Pils from the taps is most popular. And, yes, the occasional cheat happens.

 

Originally published in the January issue of San Francisco 

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