As teenagers across the country celebrate record success in their GCSEs, they can rest assured that the knowledge they’ve crammed into their brains won’t be wasted. They’ll be using it again in around 15 years time, when they enter the world of pub quizzes.
Pub quizzes offer a night out where you can show off how clever you are, and see your friends without actually having to engage them in conversation. In London, where people are generally more attractive and intelligent, but less pleasant company, this is ideal.
Here are my top nine London pub quizzes.
The Arab Boy
289 Upper Richmond Road, Putney, SW15 6SP
Thursdays from 8pm.
General trivia question quiz hosted by the genial Phil, who will help you with the answers during his cigarette break. Decent local boozer serving fairly good fish and chips – avoid the rest of the menu. Top prize £40, 2nd prize £20.
Bread and Roses
68 Clapham Manor Street, Clapham, SW4 6DZ
Wednesdays from 7pm
The Worker’s Beer Company’s award-winning Trade Union council pub offers a new quiz starting in September. The bar comrade I spoke to wasn’t sure whether prizes would be offered, however I suspect team efforts will be appropriately rewarded, and any disputes over correct answers will be given fair hearing.
The Dog and Bell
116 Prince Street, Deptford, SE8 3JD
Sundays from 8.30pm
I struggled to find a quiz in SE London that I could recommend, however any pub which holds an annual pickle competition is a winner, in my book. Expect geography teachers and beards aplenty amongst your fellow quizzers, but this is a lovely friendly boozer nonetheless, and a fun, general quiz. Try the shepherd’s pie.
Drayton Court Hotel
2 The Avenue, Ealing, W13 8PH
Thursdays from 7.30pm
Fantastic Victorian gin palace which looks like a castle from the outside, featuring a ¾ acre garden, a fancy hotel upstairs, and a theatre room in the basement where, if you listen carefully, you can still hear an echo of ‘Any Old Iron’. Once you’ve finished exploring this massive house of fun, there’s a pretty good quiz in the main bar, run by friendly staff. Prizes are the best kind – booze.
Expect geography teachers and beards aplenty amongst your fellow quizzers
The Eleanor Arms
460 Old Ford Road, Bow, E3 5JP
First Thursday of each month
Charming quiz offering proceeds to a local hospice. An endearing east-end boozer, which boasts that it was once transformed into a woman's clinic and creche by Sylvia Pankhurst. No trace of milk behind the bar these days - some decent ales though.
96-98 Pentonville Road, N1 9JB
Mondays from 8pm
Run by Rough Trade, and populated by teams of music biz lovies. Ridiculously hard questions, so bring your nerdiest vinyl anorak mates. Take advantage of the pub’s extensive whisky stock to help stimulate the grey cells.
44 Narrow Street, E14 8DP
Mondays from 8pm.
Gordon Ramsey’s posh pub in a Grade II listed building on the Thames. The clientele is as annoying as you might expect, given the location, and a fairly average quiz, but it’s worth it for the lush Scotch eggs on offer. First and only prize is a meal for two at the pub (which may be somewhat disappointing for three of your team, if you meet the maximum team size of five).
The Old Queen’s Head
44 Essex Road, Islington, N1 8LN
Tuesdays from 7pm
Cash and booze prizes for this standard format quiz. If you can bear the horrifically trendy locals, it’s a lovely old pub, with occasionally great music upstairs too.
Second Tuesday of every month at The Player, Soho and the second Wednesday of every month at Trailer Happiness, Notting Hill.
From the people who bring you the weekly e-zine Popbitch, a quiz equally full of salacious gossip, quirk, and naughtiness. Prizes are the freebees sent in to the Popbitches’ office: they might include concert tickets, CDs, or sex toys. I’ve several cans of Eastern European meats in my larder thanks to these lovely people.
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