Sasha and I were so happy to hear that the Chicago Trivia Guys recently started a new trivia night at Bull and Bear in River North, because (1) we can always county on the Trivia Guys to consistently run a challenging and entertaining pub quiz and (2) we love it when we can walk to trivia after a long day at work. They did not disappoint!
The food is decent, but a bit pricy (what do you expect from a River North establishment inspired by the stock market...although you'd think given our current economic crisis, they'd cut us a break). Specials include $6 margaritas, but to be honest, you're probably better off just drinking beer.
Bull & Bear is probably best known for its Table Taps. We didn't get to sit at one, but they look awesome and we would definitely go back for them. Because of its location, the bar is a hot spot for happy hour, so trivia does have to compete with lots of drinking, shmoozing, and loud talking. Fortunately, the Bull & Bear has tons of TV screens all over the bar. They are usually used to show Chicago sports, but on Tuesday nights, many are used to display host Sharone's questions, which was great because we kind of hate it when trivia hosts have to repeat questions more than twice.
Before trivia even starts at 8pm, you get a chance to prove you're smart and win money. When you first place your order, you can win a $25 gift certificate to Bull & Bear just for answering a brainteaser. (One example: "What has a mouth but never speaks, runs but has no legs, and has a bed but never sleeps?") Say "a river," and just like that, you get a free round of margaritas next Tuesday. When trivia started, we teamed up with solo-player Dawn, who seemed to be a Chicago triviaficionado herself, having been to many of our previously-reviewed spots.
The week we went (Lollapallooza week), the entire trivia night revolved around one theme: Lollapalooza. The rounds were (1) Name the band by the album cover, (2) Lolla history, (3) Guess the Lolla year by the headliners, (4) Name the band by the picture, and (5) Lolla 2011. Apparently, every six weeks or so, the Trivia Guys are asked to do a theme night, instead of their normal random rounds. That was kind of a bummer...it isn't our strongest topic, but Sharone did a good job of writing Lolla-themed questions that non-experts could answer or work out. However, we would have preferred some variety. We'll have to try again on a different night. Even if the rounds could have been better for us, we still won third place (woot!).
The best part of the night is the prizes! High rollers in River North = High stakes trivia. It's free to play, but the bar contributes $10 cash for every person playing, and that gets split (kind of arbitrarily but I guess in a way that makes sense) between the top three teams. Our tiny team of three won $10 each for third place, but that night's winners got a whopping $170!!! If any geniuses out there wants to join me and Sasha to try and win some major cash, just leave a comment!
Bull & Bear
431 N. Wells, Chicago
8pm to 10pm
3.5 paws (out of 4)