Rock 'n' Roll Trivia at Hattie's Hat

Joe Mabel, 2007.

The Bar: Ballard staple Hattie's Hat may physically relegate their quiz to the back of the restaurant, but right around an hour before the official starting time, Hattie's Highway to Rock 'n' Roll Trivia makes damn sure it won't be tucked into a corner. Blaring rock 'n' roll classics from the likes of the Rolling Stones and Tom Petty, Quizmasters Tracey and Megan (or DJ Shug and DJ Cookies, if you prefer) make themselves known, beckoning bar customers with "Crazy Mama" like a gloriously geeky siren song.

The Quiz: (Tuesdays, 8 p.m., $2 per person) Four rounds of 11 questions were separated into two themes by a short half-time, all wrapped up in an awesomely over-the-top answer sheets (in full color!). While themes rotate every week, all Hattie's quizzes feature a double-point challenge question at the end of each round to satisfy even the most discriminating trivia snobs in your group.

While originally Rock 'n' Roll trivia at Hattie's Hat was known for its strict focus on music, new hosts have since established the night as Hattie's Highway to Rock 'n' Roll Trivia with a bit more creative breathing room in mind. Megan says that despite the fact that questions are no longer strictly focused on music, there is still an emphasis on the subject as they delve into organically linked categories such as the stunningly melodramatic films of John Waters.

Another detail the duo want to press home is that one of their personal goals is to make sure everyone leaves with some kind of prize. While first place gets the cash pot and second gets a chunk of bar certificates, Megan and Tracey don't stop at the usual rewards. Keeping with the night's trivia theme of John Waters, every end-of-the-round question earned not only twice the points, but also a plastic dispenser egg with a Divine quote inside! For example, one team received a quote, and was give the opportunity to recite proudly for the audience:

You know who I am, bitch! I'm the filthiest person alive, that's who I am!

Personally, I ended up with a bottle of Tabasco sauce. Everyone wins!

The Host(s): Tracey and Megan have hosted Hattie's bawdy proceedings since the beginning of last summer, splitting the 40-question load evenly. While the two met through DJing metal nights at neighborhood clubs, Tracey and Megan are nearly diametric in both personality and question formation. While the raven-haired Tracey was ready and willing to spice up her more conventional questions with personal anecdotes and a vulgar magnetism, the blonde Megan preferred the produced approach of picture and audio rounds to do most of the speaking for her. The result is a combination of two uniquely compelling approaches to trivia that might not always mesh perfectly, but certainly never bore.

The Verdict: It might have just been the cliche-ridden nature of half the week's parody music theme, but despite Tracy and Megan's wildly different styles, the inevitable answers of "Weird Al," "Spinal Tap," and "Tenacious D" all showed up more than once; this was a detail that wasn't exactly easy to miss, given the fact the quiz only had 40 questions. I would've probably chalked this up as a pretty damning flaw at most other trivia nights, as it more or less gave the indication that neither host communicated very well (read: at all) while writing questions. While I chewed over this idea, I just happened to reach in my pocket and remember the bottle of Tabasco sauce that I'd been rewarded for reasons I couldn't even properly remember. Simply put, the chaotically rewarding nature of the Rock 'n' Roll quiz combined with a solid and confident presentation easily surpassed the nitpicker in me.

It was this detail that made me realize exactly how effective the hosting duo were in playing to a crowd they had a lot of love for, rather than just trying to stump a bunch of random schlubs. In the end, for better or for worse, the trivia nights that put more of an emphasis on building a community than building a particularly tricky set of questions are usually going to be the most memorable ones; Hattie's Hat is very memorable. All in all, if you're looking for more "pub" than "quiz" in a Tuesday trivia night, Tracy and Megan bring a frenetic pace to Hattie's Hat without having to sacrifice an unforgivable amount of substance.

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