The Fix for Local Trivia Addicts
There's a certain satisfaction to being given a question — of any distinction — and arbitrarily knowing the answer to it. The little rush of the lightbulb going off in your brain, the anticipation of waiting for the correct answer, and the pride in the aftermath of finding out you and the officials align is really something else. This, in a nutshell, is trivia, and it's no wonder why some people are addicted to it. Thankfully enough, these days, trivia fiends don't have to accidentally wind up in the Cash Cab by stroke of luck, nor are we forced to take our smarts to the realm of online rounds on the app Trivia Crack with strangers in order to get our fix. Wednesday nights at the bar Cooter Brown's in Uptown New Orleans has just the thing local trivia junkies have been searching for. As a seasoned veteran (of admittedly three months) of Cooter Trivia Nights, I'm willing to share my own ins and outs of the fine, fine sport - even if that means strengthening the competition. So, without further ado, here's what to expect on a Wednesday Trivia Night at Cooter Brown's (with maybe a few tips and tricks peppered in here and there).
Arrival Times and Best Tables
From what's advertised, trivia officially starts at 8 pm. I am going to tell you now: do not arrive at 8 pm if you want to get a spot; don't even arrive at 7:30. The truth is, if you want a decent table (or any table that's inside), you should at least arrive an hour early. All too many times, my friends and I have shown up past 7:30 pm for a Trivia Night, only to find no tables that can fit the lot of us, which is a major bummer. The stress of scrambling for a table when other patrons leave isn't worth it. In all honestly, I highly suggest getting to trivia sooner than later.
Once you've made your swift - early - arrival to Cooter's, you're sure to be greeted by one of their lovely bouncers. Most likely, because it's Wednesday, the bouncer will be a twenty-something year old with a nose ring and single studded ear. Tell him I say hi - or don't, actually. Once you're in the building, your next big challenge of Trivia Night at Cooter Brown's is finding the right table, or any table for that matter. From the selection of seating in the tavern, some tables are best for privacy from rival teams, others are good for hearing the questions as they're read, and all the rest are decent in a pinch. The booths in the back of the establishment are good for the former, but it's hard to hear the questions from that area. The long tables directly in front of the trivia stand are perfect for audio, but you'll be bumping elbows with rival players. And, lastly, the tall tables with or without barstools are decent enough to play but may be uncomfortable for the entirety of your team. My personal favorite of all the seating options is the booths at the front, but these go quickly - on any night - hence the importance of showing up early.
Fuel for the Game: Food and Drinks
Quite possibly, the most important thing about trivia is keeping your head clear, and what better way to do that than adding food and drinks to the mix? You may not believe me when I say that a place called Cooter Brown's not only has a kitchen, but also serves really good food out of said kitchen. With a menu boasting yummy fried goodness to house salads and po-boys, this isn't your run-of-the-mill, originally frozen pub food. Everything that comes out of Cooter's kitchen is made fresh to order, and it certainly shows. My personal favorite sharable is the freshly battered fried pickles, or if my appetite is calling for a meal, the shrimp po-boy is delectable. One of my friends gets the chicken tenders and fries each Wednesday, and you seriously can't go wrong with that classic option, especially when they pair it with some of the best honey mustard I've ever had. Either way, the vast menu is bound to have something for you. Take a peek, if you please.
The real must at Trivia Night is grabbing a beverage from the bar to help lubricate the cognitive abilities, as we all know alcohol does. My own go to is a simple, inexpensive tequila, soda, and lime, but I've been told that that's a feral drink order. So, I'm not suggesting that to you. The back bartenders can whip up an incredible dirty Shirley (the drink of the summer), which I highly recommend, or if you're looking for a cold draft, the beer list is long and fruitful. I'm sure one of the bartenders could point you in the right direction for your own personal tastes.
The Competition Process
The competition itself during Cooter's Trivia Night is however serious - or not serious - you make of it. The basis of Wednesday nights at Cooter Brown's is first assembling your team. It can be as large or small as you'd like, but my suggestion would be about four to seven people. Obviously, it pays to be more selective with your gang of trivia members, but it's just as fun to simply have your closest friends around making good (or bad) guesses at strange questions. Choosing a name for your team can really set the tone for the night, along with many more Wednesdays to come. Some recurring team names include, "Cooter Corner," "Cooter, I hardly know her," and even a few simple, alliterative ones like "Raunchy Roosters." Whatever you and your team choose, the name is what really unifies your group, for better… or worse.
After you've submitted your group name to the trivia desk, they'll hook you up with a couple goodies: a sheet of paper showing about ten rounds of three questions each with possible point values, a bunch of small cards to write your answers out, and a mini red pencil. At the beginning of each round, the speaker lists three categories that pertain to each question for the round. These can be anything from science, history, literature, music, advertising, television, and much, much more, which is why it pays to have a fairly knowledgeable crew. From there, the announcer gives the questions chronologically, and your team has the duration of a song or two to come up with your answer, assign a point value based on confidence, and turn in the slip of paper. After about five rounds, the announcer lists the team rankings, which can take a while because there's often thirty or so teams packed like sardines in the building. Wherever you may be on the leader board, don't fret. In my opinion, trivia night is all about having fun and working together, and either way, if it's really bothering you, my friends and I have met multiple guys who swear they're team comes in second place every Wednesday. There's no way they can all be telling the truth, but when you're a confident man trying to impress a pretty girl, honesty flies out the window. Maybe you can borrow a bit of their confidence as well.
Trivia Night offers two prime times for your team to redeem yourselves if you're struggling: the halftime question and the final question. These questions have a lot more moving parts and a greater pay off value if you get them right. At the end, the top three winning teams are awarded with coveted "Cooter Cash" to go towards there next visit to the bar… admittedly, my team has never made this esteemed ranking, but we've left happy each night. Wherever your team finds themselves at the closing of Trivia Night, I do hope you got a few good laughs with your close friends, some healthy conversation, and maybe a little pride in knowing arbitrary answers to out-of-the-blue questions… maybe, just maybe, I'll see you next Wednesday. Until then, adieu, and study up.