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The Bar: Georgetown Liquor Company is the vegan-friendly hangout that has already gained a pro-gamer reputation with its three classic video-game consoles up for free

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Georgetown Liquor Company Trivia Brings Cranial Assault

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The Bar: Georgetown Liquor Company is the vegan-friendly hangout that has already gained a pro-gamer reputation with its three classic video-game consoles up for free play, a classic Bally Game Show pinball table, and a plethora of board games available for check-out. I spotted a couple of warm-up games of Trivial Pursuit, accenting the impact trivia had on tonight's crowd early on. To complete the trivia-geek-welcoming aura, GLC's servers were so ridiculously attentive that for most of the night I could barely put empty glass to tabletop without being asked if I'd like another drink.

The GLC manages to put no small amount of emphasis on its host by dimming all the lights besides those on Quiz Mistress Jenna's elevated platform, then actually bringing out a large PA for the festivities. While these preparations might seem like overkill in the primarily placid atmosphere of GLC on a Tuesday night, one will quickly realize the benefits that come with putting such a strong focus on a competent trivia host.

The Quiz: (Wednesday, 9 p.m., free to play with suggested donation)

The quiz is four rounds of 10 questions, with bonus points scattered throughout as the question difficulty dictates. The relatively compact 40-question format serves GLC well, as it's one of the few remaining bars that scores all the answers itself.

Like many other quiz nights, one of the teams that doesn't take home the grand prize is invited to suggest a category for next week's entertainment. However, Quizmaster Jenna doesn't stop the crowd participation at a single round, but usually incorporates the suggestion into the entire night's theme. For example, someone suggested "Ponies" as this week's guest category, leading to the theme "Dog and Pony Show," focusing on trivium related to dogs, ponies, and circuses. Jenna doesn't make any promises for this quiz's neat little dynamic (you try building an entire quiz around the DSM-IV that won't automatically alienate 95% of your audience), but the additional effort to really make this quiz belong to its audience is certainly commendable.

Previous themes have included "Cartoon Nation," the conspiracy-centric "Tin Foil Hat," and "Spice: What happens on Arrakis stays on Arrakis" (a theme combining Dune and the history of striptease).

While Georgetown Liquor Company's quiz has no shortage of multiple-choice questions, they're the kind of multiple-choice questions that depend far more on deductive reasoning than luck or extremely specific knowledge, without making the questions too eye-rollingly simple. One question, featured in the "Circus" round, was particularly exemplary.

What does the phrase "Dressing the House" mean?

a. Hiding any situation on the circus lot that might be illegal after a police raid tip-off is received.

b. Selling reserved-seat tickets in a pattern so that all sections appear at least moderately filled.

c. Bunting and drapery used to cover the big-top infrastructure to make it appear more permanent and safe to the audience.

d. Costuming a second-rate performer in overly garish finery to compensate for lack of skill.

This level of detail within questions naturally runs into problems when actually reading them in front of a crowd of restless drunks--but the production side of this trivia night (not to mention snappy writing) was handled so well that the audience kept focus through even the most roundabout queries.

While the quiz is free to play, there is a suggested donation that goes toward the Wikimedia Foundation. This is an awesome gesture that helps to make up for countless trivia hosts' most primary of sources, and I highly recommend throwing a few bucks in the jar or even donating now if you've ever partaken in a cheap, low-maintenance pub quiz that Wikipedia was undoubtedly instrumental in constructing. While I'm not probably not qualified to go into any of the specific economics regarding trivia nights, it's more than sheer coincidence that the online encyclopedia and pub quizzes both rose in popularity and proliferation in America on roughly the same timeline.

The Host: While Quizmaster Jenna started at Georgetown Liquor Company last December as a solo act, she began getting burnt out writing all those detailed sets of questions on her own. After that, Quizmasters Don and Jonathan began to alternate writing two of the quiz's four rounds, and the division of labor is definitely welcome if it sustains the level of nuance present in the question above.

When she's not hosting trivia, DIY-fanatic Jenna sings in the Bicycle Choir, collaborates with the Black Rock City Hardware Shoppe, and volunteers for off-kilter Seattle staples like Moisture Festival, Circus Contraption and PostWorld Industries. Although she loves hosting trivia, Jenna doesn't have any plans to expand her duties anywhere else, claiming that she loves the flexibility that GLC gives her as a host and has trouble seeing how she could host the same quality of quiz anywhere else.

The Verdict: Alongside Jenna's shockingly compelling multiple-choice questions, other great creative touches like the truly inspired "My Little Pony or Porn Star?" visual round stood out as something I simply couldn't expect to see anywhere else. Here, players match 10 vaguely dirty, usually fruit-themed stage names with 10 pictures of adorably naive cartoon horsies or hard-fucking sex thespians in a category that is probably best described as "disturbingly difficult."

Overall, this detailed, well-prepared quiz is not only a fine addition to Seattle's most entertaining trivia nights, but also a testament to Georgetown's craftiness and industrious spirit. Finally, polishing the night off with a drunken game of Donkey Kong Country is the kind of cheap yet satisfying luxury that dominated the rest of GLC's Thursday night.

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