The Bar: Most cloisters of Capitol Hill natives will put Liberty on the tippy-top of their list for their choice of 15th Avenue East's best place to drink things, one widely known for its amalgamation of sushi and fine cocktails. Others will assign Canterbury Ale and Eats to the top of the list for amazing pub food and a wide variety of games, digital or otherwise. Teetotallers may choose Victrola for their amazing Americano and entertaining swath of board games. However, after experiencing the Hopvine's trivia night, I have to say this bar has been unfairly overlooked in spite of its various delicious vegetarian-friendly entrees, its impressive selection of locally flavored drafts, and its friendly layout.However, this column doesn't exist to extinguish local feuds, but rather to mercilessly brutalize them against another set of criteria. Here, Hopvine Pub's many booths are ideal to heated inter-team discussion, much like the Pyramid Alehouse without all the mass of non-trivia-participating humanity ruining it for you. This is a good thing, because Tuesdays are usually pretty packed at Hopvine, and the usually bloodthirsty 10-15 teams that Trivia Night can attract builds quite the ideal situation for answer snipers.
The Quiz: (Bi-Weekly Tuesdays, 8 PM, $3 per team member) Five rounds of ten questions each made up the Hopvine's quiz; few surprises make up the format of one current events round, three randomly selected categories, and an audio round. There was an interesting quote round where teams had to identify a trite saying to either Brett Favre, Dr. Phil, or a fortune cookie -- but these sorts of trick-laden categories usually end up being much more fun to write than they are to actually answer.
Prizes are similarly simple: First place takes the entire pot while second place takes a free pitcher of beer. The cash might not be very evenly distributed, but while most other trivia nights are intent on sending as many people home happy as possible, the idea of snagging the whole sweaty wad of your enemies' cash is ever alluring.
The Host: Erin has been hosting at Hopvine for nearly a year and a half now, formerly part of a solid core of quizmasters that eventually whittled itself down to whomever was the most committed. Originally, trivia at the Hopvine was a much more occasional affair, with hosts only having the resources to put one show on per month. Now that Erin has taken the reins, the Hopvine's quizzes stand at a much more viable second and fourth week of the month.
Drink Specials: Unfortunately, there were none to speak of here. The Hopvine makes a healthy living on square meals and hearty brews, so you're barking up the wrong tree if you're looking for a good place to unleash a wild card in your subconscious.
The Verdict: While perfectly fine for a quiet Tuesday night's entertainment, Hopvine Pub isn't exactly the most groundbreaking trivia night in Seattle. Anyone that offers an American State Flags category should be immediately suspect: a surprising amount bars with trivia nights seem to fall on the exact same laurels, with the well-rated Chapel Bar being no exception (they busted out the same trick just this week).
In addition, it should always be a pretty big red flag when you see a substantial amount of two-to-three-way ties--and Hopvine's final standings were very much flooded with them, particularly for the final three slots. It's a worrisome sign when most of the competing teams are either getting all the same questions right or wrong. The competition element of trivia nights is universally important. Unfortunately, while far from being the worst pub quiz in Seattle, Hopvine has quite a while to go if they're going to be anything besides a local favorite.