Arts, Sciences and Will, The Trivia Corgi at The Lookout

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The Bar: The Lookout (Capitol Hill, 757 Bellevue Ave. E) is a small, but formidable bar off Capitol Hill, in the vein of similarly away bars such as the Summit Public House and Sun Liquor. Its titular view is a stunning shot at Seattle's skyline -- but for Trivia Tuesday's purposes, only clearly available to the hosts and 2-3 other earlybird teams. However, latecomers do have a straighter shot at The Lookout's pinball tables.

As for drink specials, the "Sumbitch" is a cheap way to blow out the cobwebs. A signature of The Lookout, a tallboy of Rainier and a shot of well whiskey may be vulgar, but most certainly efficient.

If that weren't enough, as of press time, a free round of drinks was handed out to any team who could get a perfect score on any given round. I only mention "as of press time" because, although assured beforehand that it was an unheard-of feat, two teams managed to snag the bonus almost immediately. Whoops.

The Quiz: (Tuesdays, $10 per team, $5 for one person) The night's entertainment starts unassumingly enough, with five notecards handed out to anyone willing to pay the entrance fee. If the hosts haven't recognized you, then they'll brief you on the night's format.

There are five themed rounds of questions. The first four ten-question rounds are worth fifty points, consisting of five questions that strictly adhere to the theme and another five questions that segue from the theme into more general knowledge. One question from the first four rounds may be skipped for full credit (if your team orders a round). The final round is worth one-hundred points. Five points are awarded for best team name.

One of the most admirable aspects of this quiz in particular is its adherence to its questions' themes while still being able to reach out to completely different bodies of expertise. Whichever team scores second place has the ability to choose one of next week's categories in lieu of a cash prize, which is both a great way to get people back on a week-to-week basis, and a solid exhibition of the hosts' flexibility.

For example, "Counting Crows" was this week's daunting request. Despite being physically unable to care any less about Adam Duritz and his stupid hair, the amount of varied knowledge that was fanned out from a fairly niche band kept my interest throughout. Hosts Drew and Kyle even said that this particular topic was "far from the worst."

Finally, the tie-breaker is a three-part question -- making it seem like more of a prepared contingency and less of a coin flip that most other quiz nights would be satisfied with. The hosts say that with a tight-knit crowd so familiar to their style, top teams are often in extremely stiff competition that wouldn't be serviced by a tiebreaker primarily left to chance.

The Hosts: Drew and Kyle have been co-hosting trivia at the Lookout since the beginning of this year. At first, they came to The Lookout as a neighborhood haunt, merely as a place to unwind and write questions for their regular hosting duties at The Capitol Club. Eventually, the staff started snooping and became impressed enough with what they saw to want Drew and Kyle to provide Tuesday's entertainment.

Drew is going through law school, while Kyle is revving up for his PhD in medicine and molecular biology. These wildly different career paths secure a wide spectrum of knowledge in both the arts and sciences -- although both of the relatively young hosts have enough know-how in pop culture and current events to keep the night from turning into dry examinations.

In addition to starting at The Capitol Club in early 2009, the two have also guest hosted at The Living Room and Prost! The two have also been invited to host at various fundraisers, and even a couple of faithful triviagoers' rehearsal dinner.

I'd also be remiss to ignore the third host. Drew and Kyle's dog -- Will, The Trivia Corgi -- is always willing to "trade good luck for tummy rubs."

The Verdict: Considering the word "trivia" itself is another word for the random and unimportant, it's extremely beneficial to go into the creation of every quiz with specific goals. To this end, Drew and Kyle aim to create three distinct reactions to every one of their questions: the thrill of knowing a answer right off the bat, the agony of knowing something but being unable to nail it down in your head or encouraging sociability by having to rely on another teammate's perspective.

When one thinks about it, that's more or less what every trivia host should aspire to. Too many quizzes flood Seattle's "market" that don't seem to have any purpose but to monopolize a bar's attention for a couple of hours. With two extremely sharp hosts with a devotion to audience reaction, a unique format and a dedicated following make The Lookout a pub quiz that's both incredibly accessible and worth the chunk out of your Tuesday nights.

 
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