Last Tuesday we went to Mad River to check out their trivia night. Trivia is advertised as starting at 8pm, but last Tuesday it didn’t start until 8:51 due to some technical difficulties. (Yes, we keep exact time.) Once the night got started, things moved along pretty quickly, so we’re willing to overlook the late start. Plus, the extra time allowed us to marvel over the Mad River menu.
They aren’t serving your standard bar food at Mad River. The menu includes fried shishito peppers with sea salt & garlic, steamed PEI mussels with preserved butter, saffron, grilled ciabatta, and beef tongue nachos. We both got salads so we can’t say if any of those items are delish, but we give Mad River thumbs up for doing something a little different. Of course, if you prefer your normal bar grub, Mad River offers that, too. Tuesday night specials include $8 burger + draft beer, $3 312s, and $3 UV cocktails and bombs.
On to the trivia…
It’s hosted by a woman! Clybar used to have a woman host, but I’m pretty sure that every other place we play at has had a male host. We love to see a glass ceiling shattered, so we were pretty pumped. Bonus: the lady behind the mic was actually really good. She avoided corny jokes and kept the night moving at a nice pace. She was a bit slow in grading the papers in the final round, but overall I give her a solid “A” for the night.
The trivia rounds were pretty fun and were almost entirely about TV. If you fail miserably at the brainy trivia at Globe Pub, you might just have a shot at Mad River. In the first round the host gave us a quote and we had to identify whether it came from Friends or Seinfeld. Props to the host for steering clear of any totally obvious quotes (“We were on a break!”). Boy did we love the second round in which we had to name the actors who played all the Saved By the Bell characters. Please! We could do that in our sleep. All the answers in round three were TV shows with numbers in the titles (give it up for 7th Heaven!) and round four was all about ABC’s TGIF. Round six focused on famous TV couples and round seven was all about South Park.
The questions and answers were flashed on TV screens around the bar. It’s a little thing but it goes a long way. It takes away the chance that you’ll mishear a question and allows for fun picture rounds. Thanks, guy who invented the TV, you make everything better!
The best part of the night was the prize. It was a glorious tailgate set. Two chairs, an umbrella, and a giant cooler. We wanted it so bad. Alas, we know nothing about South Park so our tailgate party has been put on hold. Bummer.
In the end, we give Mad River’s trivia night points for breaking gender barriers (girl power!), for including questions about Saved By the Bell, for an inventive menu, and for an awesome prize. We give them negative points for starting late and for having zero variety in the questions (all TV!). All in all, it’s got more pluses and minuses, so it’s definitely worth trying out…especially if you love fried shishito peppers. (Who doesn’t?)
2909 N Sheffield Ave., Chicago
3 Paws (out of 4)