As COVID Restrictions Ease, New Trivia Bug Infects C-Town
With students gathering every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at beloved Collegetown establishments, the trivia scene has taken Collegetown by storm this fall. Students have come together at Luna Inspired Street Food, Collegetown Bagels and Loco during the week to compete for prizes, spend time with friends and take a break from the chaos of the school week.
Trivia nights at Loco became a tradition in September of 2020. Kevin Sullivan, the owner of Luna’s Inspired Street Food and Loco, wanted to bring a socially-distanced activity to the bar as they reopened doors to patrons. He reached out to Dale Harrington — who had been hosting karaoke nights at the bar for years — and asked him if he would want to run virtual trivia nights.
“I would do a virtual trivia night from my home to Loco on Tuesday nights because we weren’t able to do anything else,” Harrington said. “I would ask questions through the PA system from home into the bar, and I had all the interactive stuff on my screen so I could see what they were answering.”
In August 2021, trivia nights transitioned in-person and DJ Dale extended his services to Luna’s Inspired Street Food on Mondays at 9 p.m..
“I think it’s a lot of fun, and I love being in person,” Harrison said. “I really enjoy the particular quiz company that I work with. I think it’s really fast paced, and I enjoy the competitiveness of it. The rapport I have with the crowd, it’s all really energizing.”
Students have expressed similarly positive responses to the trivia nights. Lucy Rittmaster ’23 first attended trivia at Luna’s over the summer. Though she hasn’t returned during the semester because of her busy academic schedule, she noted her appreciation for the events.
“I really loved spending time with my friends and just being able to have fun on Monday nights,” she said. “The atmosphere during trivia night was so fun and playful with a side of competition.”
Maya Voelkel ’22 found out about trivia at Loco from her friends, and gave it a try about a month and a half ago. Since then, she has tried to return every Wednesday night with her group of friends.
“I like that it’s a team activity, so it’s very social,” she said. “[DJ Dale] does a really good job running the trivia. He’s very engaging and creates a really fun environment.”
Two weeks ago, her trivia team won first place, which earned them the prize of a $100 bar tab. The next week, she returned for trivia and used the $100 bar tab to fund the night out.
“It definitely brought us back, and it was fun to just drink while hanging out with each other playing trivia,” Voelkel said.
She and her friends plan to keep going to trivia at Loco on a weekly basis. She has not been to trivia at Luna’s or CTB, but plans to visit CTB soon.
CTB began hosting trivia at its Collegetown location in September 2021 as an extension of its pre-COVID trivia nights at Ithaca Bakery on Meadow Street. According to Ramsey Brous, the owner of Ithaca Bakery and Collegetown Bagels, a few players from the bakery wanted to restart trivia nights and expand them to more locations as social distancing requirements eased.
CTB started the event using “Table For One Trivia,” which started its operations remotely during COVID. When Table for One transitioned to in-person hosting, Brous partnered with the company to bring trivia back to his businesses.
“Table for One is very engaged with the audience, and they’re quite fun,” Brous said. “The questions are all original, so it’s not something that’s being used in other places. Also, they’re nice to the audience while keeping it competitive.”
Brous decided to hold CTB trivia on Tuesdays, directly following the restaurant’s happy hour, to avoid conflict with the other local trivia nights.
Lauren Thomas grad, Kelly Moran grad and Abby Lewis grad stopped into CTB on Tuesday evening to share happy hour beers together. They hadn’t planned for a night of trivia, but when they heard it announced over the microphone, they couldn’t pass up the opportunity.
They played under the team name “Fire and Ice,” competing with a slew of other teams for the first place prize of a $40 gift card. Even though they didn’t win the prize, the trio saw the trivia night as an opportunity for “good beer, good times and good friends.”
“I think what’s fun about trivia is that when you’re with friends and they know something, it’s a way to get to know them,” Lewis said. “It’s like ‘how did you know the first candyman in America was that? What’s the experience that brought you to know that?’ So it’s a really nice bonding thing.”
Trivia is here to stay as Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights give students an enjoyable pause from academics to spend time with friends, engage in some friendly competition and even learn something new.
“I think it’s nice to just get a break from reality and sit there and just have a moment outside of what you normally do in life,” Harrington said.