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Posts Tagged ‘Cheap food’

We’ve moved to ChicagoNow!

You can read our review of Monday night trivia at Finley Dunne’s at http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/chicago-hearts-trivia/2010/02/review-monday-night-trivia-at-finley-dunnes.html.

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Can we just say?  Bill Clinton. is. Bad. Ass.

Last Thursday, we went to the Purple Otter for Team Trivia.  (Some of our teammates just love Team Trivia, but this blogger does not agree.  You can make your own decision on that.)

Purple Otter is a bar that celebrates both the University of Wisconsin and otters, meaning we were predisposed to loving it, as we are Big Ten alumni and huge fans of otters holding hands.  The Thursday specials are $3 Vodka Lemonades, $4 bombs, and $2.50 cheese quesadillas.  We were all about taking advantage of food specials, but if you are feeling daring you can try the Philly Drops (the love child of crab rangoon and a philly cheesesteak) or the suckling pig (a true steal at $5.75)!

The bartender, Dave, is super nice.  He also appears to take care of the entire bar single-handedly, so tip him well!  He loves female country music singers–be prepared to hear your favorite Carrie Underwood and Shania Twain hits before trivia starts at 8.

Trivia is standard Team Trivia.  One twist is that if no group gets an answer right, the MC just nixes the question and starts over again.  The MC also alerted us to the Team Trivia answer of the day, where a random answer from every night’s trivia is posted on the website.  Who knew?

Team Limbic System, the eventual second place winners, were pretty cool except when unable to hide their disdain at some of our answers (just because we can’t name 5 Todd Rundgren hits doesn’t necessarily mean that he wasn’t extremely prolific before our time…although, turns out, it does).  Limbic system won $15 off next week’s tab; the winners got $20 off next week.

Overall, trivia at Purple Otter is so-so.  There’s nothing really to distinguish it from any other Team Trivia night.  We probably won’t be back.  But, if you live in the area, it could be a fun way to spend a Thursday night and not a lot of money.

Are you brave enough to try the Philly Drops?  Leave a comment and let us know!

The Purple Otter
2706 N. Ashland Ave., Chicago
8 to 10:15pm
Free admission
2 paws (out of 4)

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We’ve moved!  Our review of Team Trivia at Victory Liquors can now be found on http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/chicago-hearts-trivia/2010/02/review-tuesday-night-trivia-at-victory-liquors.html.

Nooooooo!  Not Becky!

She's where the oil can't hurt her now.

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After the last couple disheartening Monday nights, we were excited to hear of a brand new trivia night at Kirkwood Bar & Grill in Lakeview.  

Trivia starts promptly at 8pm, and we were able to grab a table at 7:15.  The bar is huge compared to other bars that host trivia, but it is also a popular hangout for locals to watch sports (like last night’s Battle of the Journalism Schools) so we’d recommend getting there a little early.  We witnessed a late-arriving team of 7 trying to cram into a table for 3; it was not pretty.

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Like sister bars Schoolyard and Brownstone, Kirkwood has excellent trivia night specials: huge $3 burgers, $5 fish tacos, $14 buckets of Bud, and $4 Jager bombs.  Last night, we were also treated with $3 pints of Magic Hat #9.  It’s unclear whether the Magic Hat is a permanent special, but it should be — for every delicious and inexpensive pint we ordered, we got to play a round on the Magnificent Crapparatus, basically a Plinko board for Magic Hat schwag.

Trivia is played in six rounds: current events, Top 10 [most popular football teams], picture round [Bears], [football] movies, name-the-author, and name-the-movie based on three actors.  Questions are moderately difficult, and hopefully not always so football-centric.  Aside from football fanatics, the game rewards teams who eat and drink to excess: the team with the highest tab gets two bonus points added to its total score.   

The real standouts at Kirkwood are the prizes.  The overall winner gets 50% off the night’s tab (limit $50).  But that’s not all.  Each round’s winners get a prize, too: shots of O-bombs, pints of Magic Hat, free happy hour parties, a bucket of beer, free appetizers, and the Holy Grail — the elusive skillet cookie — which we might have won if only we had seen Little Giants.  Add those to the Crapparatus prizes and everyone walks out with something.

As a bonus, every Monday starting January 12, you can watch 24 with sound before trivia!  We can hardly contain our excitement.   

Good trivia, great specials, plenty of prizes, Jack Bauer Power Hour.  Talk about a Christmas Wish come true.

Kirkwood Bar & Grill
2934 N. Sheffield, Chicago
8pm to around 10pm (Update: new 9pm start time as of January 12)
Free admission
3 paws (out of 4)

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Cinners, a cozy place in what barely qualifies as Lincoln Square, bills itself as a “a sexy lounge in Chicago serving Cincinnati chili, cinful drinks and lots of smiles.”  I don’t know if any place that serves copious amounts of chili should claim to be sexy, but Cinners does have a certain appeal.  Especially if you are looking for something a little different for your weekly trivia night.

Cinners specializes in Cincinnati style chili– on hot dogs, on nachos, on pasta.  You can read more about Cincinnati style chili on their website, but we didn’t find it to be that extraordinary.  We were impressed, however, with their prices.  Wednesday nights Schlitz beers are $2 and so are the nachos.   The non-special food and drinks are all pretty cheap.  It’s not a particularly imaginative menu–most of the items involved chili + cheese–but we all happily enjoyed chili cheese coneys for just $3 a piece.

The highlight of the night (for this blogger at least) was the Miller High Life I ordered.  Because Miller High Life is “the champagne of beers,” Cinners gives anyone who orders a 24 ounce bottle a champagne flute to drink it in.  If you’ve never imbibed a cheap beer in a champagne flute whilst downing a loaded chili cheese dog, you haven’t truly lived.

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The really cool part about Cinners is that it’s all music trivia.  It’s supposed to start at 8pm on Wednesdays, but last night it didn’t start until 8:45.  We were a bit irked until we realized that trivia at Cinners is fast-paced and quick.  Despite the late start we were out the door by 9:45.

Trivia consists of two rounds.  First, we had 20 random music trivia questions.  Hint: the MC admits that he often includes a question about Bjork, so study up on your Icelandic trivia.  The theme of the second round was: bands that used to be cool until they came out with this song.  The MC played a brief audio clip and we had to name the title and the artist.  We disputed the notion that some of these bands (ahem, Meatloaf) are no longer cool, but we still found it to be a really fun round.  We are actually in the midst of making a CD mix based on the fabulously cheesy songs from this round.

We had mixed feelings about the night.  It started late and some teammates bemoaned the lack of questions about prog rock.  But it’s hard to complain about cheap food, cheap beer, and cheesy rock music, so overall we give it thumbs up.

Another great thing about Cinners?  We came in second place.  Talk about living the High Life.

Cinners
4757 N. Talman Ave., Chicago
8ish to 9:45
Free Admission
3 paws (out of 4)

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For a Monday night when you don’t feel like waiting for a table at Crew head over to Brownstone Tavern (3937 N. Lincoln Ave). Monday’s special include $5 sandwiches, which were all good, and $4 Coors Light/Miller Lite 22 oz drafts. Having specials like this can turn an otherwise mediocre trivia night into an enjoyable one. Also, let’s not forget 16 oz PBRs for $3.75. Although the PBRs aren’t necessarily a drink special, it’s nice to have them on the menu.

Questions are relatively standard here with 6 rounds. Tonight’s categories were American History, Top 10, General Knowledge, Board Games, Music, and Movies (worth double points). The winner receives 50% off their tab. The downsides are that scores are not announced between rounds, so you never know how you are doing until the very end. Also, there were varying opinions among our team regarding the MC being a jagoff. Whether or not you prefer an impersonal moderator or one with more character is your own preference, but don’t expect a lot of witty back-and-forth banter.   We won’t jump to conclusions on our first visit.

Onto the trivia….

Most questions were relatively straightforward, and the variations were very enjoyable. The Top 10 category was “Name the Top 10 countries that spend the most on their military.” Some surprises in this list included Japan, France, and Italy. The movie round was both challenging and enjoyable. You were given 3 actors/actresses and you had to correctly identify which movie they all starred in. For example, if you were told Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Garner, and Jason Bateman, the correct answer would be “The Kingdom.” Really fun round.

The most unique part of the night was the grading format. Like stated before, scores are not announced in between rounds, so even if you keep a running total of your team’s score, you have no idea where you stand in the field of play. Grading is all done tableside by the MC, who is efficient, but perhaps not entirely accurate (we received 7 points for a round where we should have scored only 6). It made the night go quickly (we were done by 9:45), but the format may not be entirely appealing to everyone.

Overall, given the scarcity of good trivia on Monday nights, Brownstone Tavern is a great option for those who want a laid back night with good food/drink specials. If everyone is up for it, Crew is a superior option on Monday night, but sometimes it’s not worth the traffic/parking/wait to sit at one of their tables. On a night like that, Brownstone is a perfect alternative.

PROS:

Great sandwich specials

Decent drink specials

PBR on the menu

Jackie O’Lantern (see link)

CONS:

No scoring announcements

Brownstone Tavern & Grill
3937 N. Lincoln Ave, Chicago
8-9:45
Free Admission
3 paws (out of 4)

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When it comes to trivia, we are pretty easy to please.  Still, there are a few things that we feel really make for a stellar Chicago trivia night experience: cheap food, PBR (the bigger, the better), beer machines (see previous), and DJ Mike.  You’d think, then, that Full Shilling would rank above and beyond any other trivia night in the city.  As much as we hate to say it, Full Shilling trivia did not exactly meet expectations this time around.

Beer Machine!

The highlight of Full Shilling trivia is DJ Mike, the host of at least 3 Quizzo trivia nights a week in Chicagoland.  He is a trivia nerd, in the best possible way.  He brings his own DJ equipment and hooks it up to the bar’s audio setup himself.  He brings a clip-on lamp and reading glasses to facilitate grading in a bar environment.  He’s on Facebook — friend him and you might get a holiday greeting on your wall!  (Word of advice: don’t friend him without writing a note; he will reject you.)  He’s got a great memory: he remembered us from our Kim Jong allegedly Ill days, back in September.  But the Best part about DJ Mike is, he is an actual DJ.  He and his brother (“CD DJ’s”) perform at weddings and school dances.

Also, according to his MySpace, he likes women with long beautiful hair.

The Tuesday night before Thanksgiving, traffic to Wrigleyville was terrible, but parking was plentiful.  We arrived at 7:25pm to an almost empty bar.  Eventually nine teams and DJ Mike made it in by around 8:15pm. Trivia is supposed to start at 8, but the first question wasn’t read until almost 8:45pm.  As a result, we played until close to midnight.  At least he apologized.

Full Shilling trivia ranges from medium to difficult, with a pretty consistently difficult picture round.  There are 7 rounds: general knowledge, picture round (this week, celebrity mug shots), sports, music, geography/history, entertainment, and a double-point general knowledge bonus round.  In Quizzo, you also get to “Joker” a round with which you feel particularly confident and make it worth double points.  (Another DJ Mike tip: you have to put an X in the Joker box.  Not a check, not a smiley face, DJ Mike is very serious about this.)  DJ Mike also picks another round in which the team with the most correct answers gets beer logo mugs or other bar paraphernalia.  Team “Whatever You Want”, made up of a few of the Full Shilling waitresses, tied with another team for the mugs, but generously gave the prize to the other team.  The overall winners get a $50 gift certificate to Full Shilling.

There is a significant amount of downtime between rounds, but we can mostly forgive that because we know DJ Mike is busily grading (and probably double-checking).  The final question is always a list of 10 (e.g., AFI’s 10 Best courtroom dramas, the top 10 grossing animated movies) — a great opportunity to make up lost points and also the best time to work together as a team. 

Food and drink are pretty cheap.  Tuesday night specials are half-price appetizers (with beverage purchase), $12 domestic beer machines (they call them “table tappers”), $3.50 Bacardi or Jameson cocktails, and $3 Dos Equis drafts.  Also, 24 oz. cans of PBR for $6.  Every day!  You can’t go wrong with a beer machine filled with 100 ounces of PBR (aka Gigantic PBR) followed by a Giant PBR chaser.  Food’s decent, too.  Plus: free popcorn!

sampler          ranchtenders 

Due to extenuating circumstances (Thanksgiving week), we won’t render a final verdict this time.  We will say: Good trivia, great PBR options, we heart DJ Mike.  We’ll be back.

Full Shilling Irish Sports Pub
3724 N Clark St, Chicago
8pm – about 11:30pm
Free admission
3 paws (out of 4)

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