People all around southern Maine once again are able to compete with each other, face to face, to see who knows the most useless information.

Yes, trivia nights are back at bars and restaurants in Greater Portland and beyond. Many of them had been packed with patrons every week before all eating and drinking establishments were closed down under the threat of COVID-19 in March of 2020. Some started doing online trivia nights to feed the fix of their trivia-mad patrons.

But now that there are no state restrictions on indoor gatherings, live in-person trivia nights are back. Most seem to happen on Tuesday and Wednesday nights – slower nights for some places – but other weeknights as well. The weekends are mostly reserved for people who just want to drink and eat without taxing their brain too much.

Here is a list of some southern Maine places offering weekly trivia nights now. It’s a good idea to check websites or Facebook pages for more info and any COVID restrictions.

Trivia nights at Gritty McDuff’s in Portland are back. Players are seen here pre-pandemic in 2020. Photo by Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

THE NITTY AT GRITTY’S

Gritty McDuff’s in the Old Port has been known for its trivia nights for a decade or so and for its gregarious pair of hosts, known simply as “Joe and Rob.” The place often fills up with trivia buffs and tables fill up with food and beer. The trivia contests are Wednesdays from 7-9 p.m., and each week there’s a different theme. It could be a decade like the ’80s or ’90s, movies, songs, really anything. The winning team gets a Gritty’s gift card for every team member. For more information, go to grittys.com.

THE BEST OF TIMES

Ri Ra Irish pub on Portland’s waterfront has also built up a trivia buff following over the years. It began hosting in-person trivia nights again in June. They are every Tuesday at 7 p.m. and hosted by a company called Best Worst Trivia, which promises “60 new questions every night.” Space is usually limited to seven teams of four and two teams of two, so it’s recommended you reserve a spot by emailing [email protected]. Walk-up teams will be seated on a first-come first-served basis, as space allows. For more information, go to rira.com. 

Best Worst Trivia runs trivia nights at other local spots, too, including Mondays at 8 p.m. at Lazzari on Congress Street, known for wood-oven pizza and small plates. Recent question themes at Lazzari’s trivia night have included ’90s hip-hop, Broadway adaptations and Scrabble. For more information, go to Best Worst Trivia on Facebook or Lazzariportland.com.

Trivia nights at Ri Ra in Portland are back. Competitors are seen here mulling questions in early 2020, before the pandemic. Photo by Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

GAME ON

Flight Deck Brewing at Brunswick Landing (formerly the Brunswick Naval Air Station) holds a trivia night every Thursday from 6-8 p.m. It’s organized by Game Time Trivia, a bar trivia company that hosts trivia nights at bars around southern Maine and New Hampshire. In Maine, the company’s other trivia nights include Tuesdays at Mill Towne Tavern in Sanford and Bissell Brothers in Portland, Wednesdays at Maine Beer Cafe in Kittery and Train’s Tavern (monthly) in Lebanon, and Thursdays at Duffy’s Tavern in Kennebunk and Feile Irish Pub in Wells.

One note of interest, Bissell Brothers kitchen is closed Tuesday, so you can bring your own snacks. For more information and a weekly schedule of trivia nights, go to Game Time Trivia on Facebook. The page has links to the various venues’ pages as well.

In-person trivia nights are back at Portland area bars and pubs, including Ri Ra. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

ROLLING ON THE RIVER

Stroudwater Distillery, at Thompson’s Point on the Fore River in Portland, began holding a Wednesday trivia night earlier this year. It starts at 6:30 p.m. and is hosted by Andrew Treebeard Fischer. Fischer, who had formerly been popping questions to patrons at trivia nights at the now-closed Brian Boru in Portland, says he tries to keep things “light and fun” and mix up the categories and the degrees of difficulty. He says people “don’t need to be a trivia master to have a chance.” Prizes are awarded, including gift cards ranging from $10 to $25. There’s also a Stroudwater tradition of giving a prize to the team that comes in second to last. There are sometimes bigger prizes from local businesses, including tickets on the Amtrak Downeaster train. For more information, go to Stroudwater Distillery on Facebook or stroudwaterdistillery.com.


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