Konrad Foerstner, 2009.The Bar: The Great Nabob (Queen Anne, 819 5th Avenue N) is a bar that’s hard to pin down in more ways than one. It has a reasonable cocktail menu, a selection of delicious yet light Indian fare, a pool table, a couple of dartboards, a few flatscreens and walls crowded of art. Its current logo declares the lounge “Nabob,” while its Google listing is “The Nabob” and employees answer the phone with “The Great Nabob.” So much of the bar confuses me in such a wonderful way, where advertisers may gasp in incredulity but ultimately be silenced by the chimera-like Nabob’s drawing power.The Quiz: (Every Monday Night at 8 PM. $5 buy-in per team.) Four rounds of five to six questions make up the first half, while two rounds of ten comprise the second half. Eight to 10 teams usually round out The Nabob’s Trivia Night; with a loyal circle of regulars, competition for tab discounts is fierce with few outliers. The rare easy questions offered were cinched by pretty much everyone there and the scores were neck-and-neck while still avoiding any game-halting ties. This isn’t to say Nabob was one of those nights where you’d be shamed if you weren’t directly in tune with the host, it’s just a perfect step-up for those frequenters of a regular trivia night that feel like they might be becoming the proverbial big fish in a little pond.
The Host: Kevin is a one-bar triviamaster, so far sticking to The Nabob because of his Queen Anne roots and his love for the community The Nabob breeds. He claims Kirkland’s Wilde Rover, The Wedgewood Alehouse and perennial quizmaster favorite The George and Dragon as choice quizzes outside of his neighborhood(s). Kevin would like to branch out to host other nights, but considers the way some hosts just pack up their quiz and repeat it across town disingenuous.Drink Specials: Trivia usually starts almost 90 minutes past Happy Hour — but awards were a-plenty. One pitcher goes to the most creative team name while another went to the high score of the “Free Beer Round.” There’s no charity here, but plenty of ways to earn a cheaper buzz.Special Effects: Two visual rounds included the obligatory geography round (*yawn*) and a “Guess the Actor” round centered on Batman’s ’60s TV show and variety of subpar movies. The latter round seemed just a little too easy, but still managed to be a fun novelty to finish the night. The Verdict: The Nabob is a great bar that offers more than its share of choice drafts, yummy food and awesome cocktails. It might be going through an identity crisis, but really, so is Queen Anne. Quizmaster Kevin’s wit and crowd acuity brought in Seafair tourists, Eastlake yuppies and the bar staff of the elusive Targy’s alike. In the end, who cares if Nabob’s focus is scattershot when it has to play to a neighborhood horrendously stratified by huge hills, a lot of water, and wildly different income brackets. Nabob plays to a tough, diverse crowd and brings a solid night of fun out of it.