From left, Darrell Grisham, Maria do Ceu, Casey Anderson, Leo Clare do Ceu and Michael Phillips work hard to answer a question during a recent Trivia Night with Lesly at Aqus Café Foundry Wharf.


Residents Unwind, Socialize and Challenge Minds at Trivia Nights

by Yovanna Bieberich, Argus Courier

Think you know it all? Prove it. From game shows and board games such as Jeopardy and Trivial Pursuit, folks of all ages never tire of challenging each other to a duel of random knowledge.

In Petaluma, this love of trivia games has led to the creation of trivia nights at venues such as Maguire’s Pub and Aqus Café Foundry Wharf. The trivia nights serve to satisfy enthusiasts as well as provide a light-hearted opportunity to socialize.

Instead of individuals playing against individuals, trivia night participants are split into small teams that work together to answer questions. Participants may form teams of their own, or show up and join a team. The questions are usually themed, with a series of questions divided into rounds.

“Trivia is fun because it taxes the brain a bit,” said Wendy Taylor, who has participated in both Maguire’s Pub and Aqus Café trivia nights. “It’s fun to try to remember what you know. There’s the joy of remembering and the agony of when you’re told the answer and realize you knew it, but couldn’t remember it in time to answer.”

Taylor was introduced to the Maguire’s Pub Quiz through a friend who invited her to check it out.

“I went and had so much fun that I joined a team, and was doing it every week,” said Taylor. “It’s been three years now. It’s great, and there’s this friendly rivalry between teams. It’s relaxed and there’s always a lot of laughter and fun. You forget your troubles for a few hours. It’s also very social. My boyfriend, Mark Yuwiler, and I met because of trivia. He was on a rival team.”

“Trivia night is a combination of something fun and relaxing, as well as social, to do after a long day,” said trivia-night regular Mark Yuwiler. “There’s also the fun of bragging rights if your team wins.”

While trivia can certainly be a competitive sport, the emphasis at Maguire’s Pub Quiz and Aqus Café’s trivia nights is having a good time.

“We focus on the fun aspect of playing trivia, so ours is not as competitive as other trivia nights might be,” said Aqus Café owner John Crowley. “You’re not going to win big money, but you’re going to have fun. We have young kids to 90-year-olds who come.”

Life-long trivia buff Lesly McCullaugh helped get trivia night off the ground at Aqus Café last September. While many trivia nights borrow from formats designed specifically for public trivia nights, McCullaugh creates all the questions herself — often including Petaluma-specific questions. The cost is $1 to play.

“I do it more in the vein of how trivia started for me in England with trivia nights in pubs,” said McCullaugh. “Everybody pays to play, and they put that into a paper cup. The team that wins gets the paper cup. I also do a bunch of spot prizes. It can get really intense, but we have a lot of fun.”

While friendly competition and fun reign at trivia nights, the one thing that’s not tolerated is cheating — that means leaving the smart phones and other devices turned off.

“There’s no using cell phones to look up answers,” said McCullaugh. “I had someone question me on an answer that he said he ‘Googled.’ The fact he looked up the answer got him ‘86ed.’”

For details, call 762-9800. Aqus Café’s Trivia with Lesley is held the third Thursday of each month. Call 778-6060 for information.