Mulleady's Pub Quiz: A Barely Hidden Gem


The Bar: Mulleady's Pub comes hot on the heels of Trivia Tuesday's review of Atlantic Crossing, serving yet another round of continental-inspired trivia. This classy Magnolia Pub respects its Irish ties not with a wall of televisions constantly set to Setanta Soccer and a UK-dominated pool of drafts, but instead with a distinctly Hibernian warmth to its atmosphere and a menu full of pub entrees more baffling to most uncoached Americans than some of the night's trivia. Sick of the same old unevenly cooked Shepherd's Pie every time you want to try dining Irish? Try Mulleady's Irish Coddle, a hefty serving of shoulder bacon and knockers (sausages, by the way, not chest bacon) semi-boiled with vegetables and served with brown bread.

While Irish Coddle is said to have been introduced to the nation's greasy repertoire primarily as a way for Catholics to get rid of all the meat before Friday, it's a great heap of comfort that suits Mulleady's laid-back demeanor just so. For the less adventurous, Mulleady's also has a delicious and acclaimed burger--with its game undoubtedly raised by the nearly neighboring Red Mill, particularly for those a fan of caramelized onions.

The Quiz: (Mondays, 8 p.m., $2 per team member): Trivia takes place upstairs at Mulleady's with five rounds of 10 questions, with two picture rounds and an audio component to mix things up. First place is always offered the night's entry pot, while second and third place are usually offered gift certificates to the bar. Following the trend of most pub quizzes' consolation prizes, Quizmaster Henry offers the last-place finishers the option to choose an "un-genius" round category for next week.

Mulleady's simple question-and-answer rounds were no slouch in terms of flair, but the first picture round was a great lo-tech interlude involving Henry pulling down a projector screen filled with crudely printed pictures cut out and taped to it. Teams had to identify 10 sets of two pictures--one picture belonged to a musical artist or band, while the second loosely interpreted one of those musicians' more popular love songs. For example, a group picture of Aerosmith coupled with a stock photo of two people making out in an elevator would add up to . . . well, a song I regret having to remember again, frankly.

Latent hatred of Steven Tyler aside, this round was a great capstone to the scrappy ingenuity and dry wit of Mulleady's trivia night. Not many trivia nights (barring tiebreaker showdowns) have the initiative to make contestants get off their asses for more than the time it takes to drop a piece of paper in front of a scorer, but Mulleady's had nearly every one of its participants up and squinting at the same set of pictures for around five minutes. Most art teachers can barely do that!

If one picture round weren't enough to solidify Henry's swagger, a second picture round stuck it. Ten pictures of notably attractive female actors or musicians were arranged across a handout with little fanfare or explanation. Only later in the game did Henry assure teams that all they had to do was identify the subjects, then offhandedly referred to the rogue picture round as a "To-Do List."

Henry continued his moxie with pithy clues thrown out with reckless abandon (e.g., "This president was nicknamed The Great Engineer . . . Dam that guy"). Groans and facetious protests came from the quiz's audience of regulars frequently, but never in a way that suggested anyone here was about to leave anytime soon. Sealing the slick nature of Mulleady's pub quiz were chic filler crowd-pleasers played in between rounds, like Herb Alpert's "Spanish Flea" and that one cantina song from Star Wars.

The Host: Henry has hosted trivia at Mulleady's for around three years now at the Magnolia pub, but also hosts trivia at Boxcar Ale House and Sweet Lou's on the side. Born in Michigan, Henry also attributes his quiz's amusing panache and wry delivery to his stand-up comedy experience in his college days at Ohio State. He claims that the toughest "un-genius" round he'd ever had to compile was one on the planet Venus. Try to think of two to three reasonable questions you could ask a normal human being about the planet Venus, and I'm sure you can feel his pain.

Drink Specials: There isn't a whole lot here for enterprising solo trivianauts (unless you're feeling extremely enterprising), but Mulleady's does offer five sessions for $10 throughout the festivities for thirsty teams.

The Verdict: Henry's sharp wit, knack for writing a balanced set of trivia questions, pleasant cadence, and a voice for radio are all bound together with a deceptive amount of experience, considering how hip the bulk of the night's questions can skew. All in all, Mulleady's has cemented itself as a place for honest Irish pub fare and trivia for people who don't have the convenience of living in an area flooded with bars like Downtown, Ballard, or the University District. I highly recommend it.

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