The Bar: Roosevelt Way's Atlantic Crossing, 2009 winner of Evening Magazine's best neighborhood bar, might scare a few trivia geeks away with its Sounders gear, flaunted allegiances to soccer clubs, and proud touting of itself as an official MLS bar--but Crossing doesn't serve the same kind of sports-intensive trivia night that you'd expect from a similarly football-friendly sports bar like Kangaroo and Kiwi. Atlantic Crossing actually offers a well-balanced batch of questions that probably leaned more toward film than any other category.
The friendly neighborhood sports bar was primarily built for masses of screaming humanity to throw their arms up at any given moment without having to worry about knocking too much crap over, so trying to seat teams in a way that doesn't put them in direct earshot with each other is pretty futile. However, Quizmaster Carlos recognizes the issue and provides all teams with extra scratch paper for teams not so good with pantomime. It might not seem like the most inventive solution, but I've yet to have see another packed-tight quiz offer the same courtesy.The Quiz: (Sundays, 7:30PM, $5 per team) Atlantic Crossing holds four rounds of ten questions. Thirty of the questions are fairly cut-and-dry, while Carlos uses the first ten to experiment with different formats. Although the first round has been known to dabble in audio rounds or mix-and-match, this week offered a picture round for Best Picture Oscar Winners. Despite apparently not being a weekly feature, Carlos managed to put together one of the better picture rounds I'd ever seen -- selecting stills that weren't as eyerollingly obvious as General Patton in front of a big American flag, but still iconic enough for those who had seen the movies to put the right answer together (most of the time).
Carlos seemed very comfortable with stiff competition, prepared with a series of "deathmatch" tiebreakers for the final three teams who had all tied for first place. The Lookout had a similar preparedness for tough and likeminded teams, and both bars came off as a great place for intermediate-to-expert trivia fans to challenge themselves.
The Host: While Carlos held the fort this week at Atlantic Crossing, the pub has actually taken to alternating hosts since last week. While I can't speak personally for the other host's chops, Shane seemed perfectly charismatic from the little he showed up this week.
Carlos has a long history with Seattle pub quizzes, claiming that the reason that Atlantic Crossing's trivia night stands apart from the many other nights around the University District is his enthusiasm and experience. Carlos has filled in for trivia hosts for many bars from Kate's Pub in Wallingford to Magnolia Village Pub to Greenwood's Ould Triangle, and got his start hosting trivia at the University District staple Dante's.
The Verdict: Carlos has enough familiarity with a well-oiled trivia night to put together a crowd-pleasing night that finishes early enough on a Sunday to accommodate early risers too often alienated by long-winded hosts who might not pack up shop until 11 p.m. Unfortunately, drinks at Atlantic Crossing can get pretty pricey, and there were no drink specials to ease the pain. However, if you're looking for a higher-quality trivia night, I'd highly recommend eating the higher bar tab and giving the Crossing a chance.