No matter where you live in Dubai, you’re never more than a short taxi ride away from a quiz night. With prizes including food and beverage vouchers, brunches and iPads up for grabs, trivia nights are a hotspot for brainiacs, know-it-alls and useless knowledge buffs. If you think you know your Kardashians from your Jenners, the difference between mitosis and meiosis, and can answer questions like, ‘In the human body what is the hallux’ (the answer is ‘big toe’ in case you’re wondering), then you might just stand a chance at winning. Even if you do turn out to be the weakest link, it’s still a good excuse to mingle with pals and take advantage of some sweet happy hour deals. Here’s our pick of some of the city’s perkiest pub quizzes.
Arabian Ranches Golf Club
An eight-round, fun but semi-serious, quiz that mixes your Mozarts and your Rihannas to great effect. Packing out Ranches bar, the crowd were friendly and welcoming, at least until we beat the table next to us – who aced the impossibly difficult history round, no less – because we knew that it was actually Bruce Willis and not John Travolta who voiced the baby in Look Who’s Talking. We’re not proud. Standouts were a crafty music round peppered with red herrings to hook you on (we still say that was Santana and not Fleetwood Mac) and a climactic accumulator finale with a maximum tally of 55 points that can see you rise from last to first place, provided you’ve got either the guts or the desperation to go for it.
Maximum team of six. Tue, 8pm start. Ranches bar, Arabian Ranches Golf Club, www.arabianranchesgolfdubai.com (04 360 7935).
Crown & Lion
Quizzers really need to mentally prepare for this trivia night – not because it’s particularly tough, but rather it’s agonisingly long. Lasting just over two and a half hours, we noticed the crowd’s interest dwindling after just one. The six rounds covered everything from general knowledge and geography to TV and movies, sport and maths, as well as a picture and music round. For those who don’t have a kids, younger siblings, nieces or nephews, the picture round, which involved identifying video game characters, might prove rather difficult. Questions were fair, but the quizmaster simply took too long between rounds to ask them. Some teams even dropped out before the end and headed for the door. Prizes are decent and include food and beverage vouchers for the bar, with extra bottles of grape thrown in for bonus tie-breaker questions.
Weirdest team name: Spit the Dog and Clouds
Free. No rules on team sizes. Mon 8.30pm. Crown & Lion, Byblos Hotel, TECOM (04 448 8000).
This JBR sports bar hosts a music quiz night every Monday led by quizmaster Cameron and DJ Pele. Each week, there’s a different topic, and during our visit, it was American music. The expertly formatted evening of six rounds each kicked off with an American song followed by a few questions on each – covering everything from geography to film and pop culture. Somehow, even a random long division maths question popped up for good measure. There was also a mash-up round consisting of six US songs and one picture round on US cities. The picture round was a breeze, but we found the rest of the quiz quite difficult. It wasn’t too packed on the night we visited and the age range of contenders sided towards an older crowd. Quizmaster Cameron was on the ball – occasionally noseying around to catch any potential cheats. We managed to stay away from Google and came in fourth out of 11 teams, falling short of grasping the first prize of a Girders brunch for four people.
Hardest question: (A song is played). In which city did this famous singer die? It’s the same city that is home to the Millennium Stadium. (Cardiff.)
Free. Maximum team of six. Mon 8.30pm start. JA Ocean View Hotel, The Walk, JBR (04 814 5590).
This lively Irish spot attracts a big crowd on a Tuesday, not only because it’s quiz night but also because it’s ladies’ night. Ladies get three free drinks vouchers to redeem on glasses of grape or mixed shorts – so half the room is already winning before the quiz has started. The pub is quite small, so it’s best to arrive early and secure a table. Lasting just over an hour, the quiz has five rounds which included general knowledge, a Family Fortunes-style multiple choice round, a music round and two picture rounds, which were pretty fun. During our visit, we had to guess the names of Ben Affleck films based on movie posters. Luckily for us, we had a movie buff on our team. Prizes include drinks and meal vouchers. One lucky punter also has the chance to win a spot prize of five free beverages during the bonus round, which certainly helped keep the crowd engaged on our visit. The competitive spirit is all good-natured, and after really putting our brains to the test, this quiz make’s our top two favourites.
Hardest question: Who is the patron saint of mountaineering? (St. Bernard of Menthon.)
No rules on team numbers. Tue, registration from 8.30pm, 9pm start. Fibber Magee’s, Saeed Tower One, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 332 2400).
From the hilariously inventive team names and enthusiasm of players, to the quirkiness of questions in each round, this pub quiz was loads of fun. It comprises six rounds – including a not-so-general knowledge round, an audio round and a visual round – with ten questions in each. Don’t let the bizarreness of these put you off. On our visit, the rounds got much easier as the night progressed. The winning team get a brunch for four and the grand finale prize is an iPad. Well worth a night out for. With no cap on team numbers, it’s a bit unfair if you’re competing against big groups and it’s just you and your other half.
Weirdest question: It went something like, ‘What is a kisa chanoyu festival?’ We still don’t know.
No rules on team numbers. Tue, 8.30pm start. McGettigan’s, Bonnington Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Cluster J, JLT (04 378 0800).
This crowded weekly quiz allows teams of four to six to compete for bottles of grape and meal vouchers each week, as well as a grand monthly prize if you attend every week. Unfortunately they don’t disclose what that prize is. Consisting of five rounds – a picture, logo, video and two general knowledge rounds.Questions were themed in the style of a TV game show. Think Wheel of Fortune and Family Fortunes with plenty of buzz rounds. Be sure to get in early as the bar is small, so tables fill up fast. Questions were moderate to hard, but overall, the competition was’t too tough and there was a bit of friendly banter. The bonus questions at the end of every other round offer up to ten points, which could leave you trailing behind or help you leap frog other teams.
Strangest round: The video round. We had to watch a scene from a movie then answer ten questions based on our observational skills. Let’s just say we should have paid more attention instead of ordering that third drink.
Six maximum per team. Tuesday 8pm. Le Méridien Dubai Hotel & Conference Centre, Al Garhoud, www.dubliners-dubai.com (04 702 2455).
The Underground pub
This popular and lively quiz gets booked up days ahead so if you even think you want to get a team table, call in advance. On the night we visited there were more than 15 teams. There was a fun vibe to this quiz, and the event is MC’d by Radio One presenter, Danny C who kept the night moving at a good pace and played some cool pop tunes throughout. There were a mix of die-hard pub quizzers and have-a-go teams, which kept it fun and light-hearted. The standout round was the plasticine creative round, at the very start of the quiz. The theme for the plasticine was displayed on the TV screens that are dotted around the venue, and teams had until the fourth round to complete their masterpieces. It was a fun bonus round worth five points, but you never know when those points will come
Rounds were on topics such as geography, general knowledge and sport, and there was a music round and a word association game, which got the grey matter working in a more abstract way. Teams each have a ‘joker chip’ so if you think you’ve aced a round you can submit your chip with your answer sheet and double your points. The winners walk away with pride in their outstanding trivia knowledge and vouchers for dinners and brunch at the hotel.
Weirdest Team names: Linford Quizties, Les Quizables and Google It.
Maximum team of seven. Wed, 8pm start. The Underground Pub, Habtoor Grand Beach Resort & Spa, Dubai Marina (04 399 5000).
This generic quiz is a lively and busy one, and tends to pack out the bar with lots of very good, big and competitive teams. It has five rounds, which included general knowledge, ancient history, entertainment and a music round at the end. There’s also a bonus round – on our visit it was to make a playdough model of someone driving around Downtown Dubai on a Segway (we’re not convinced that everyone there wasn’t an architect, your average pub quiz-goers can’t all be that good at sculpting playdough). The bonus round prize was a bottle of bubbly, while the main prizes included brunch for eight at nosh or Dhs1,000 worth of drinks. Competition for said prizes was fierce, but staff were only half-hearted when it came to checking for cheating. Most questions resulted in its-in-the-back-of-my-mind-I definitely-know-this-one frustration, but they weren’t particularly difficult, so you do have a fair chance at winning.
Weirdest team name: Watch me quiz, watch me nae nae.
No rules on team sizes, but one point is deducted for each team member at the end. Mon 8.30pm start. Mövenpick Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Cluster A, JLT (04 438 0000).
Taking place on a Tuesday at 8pm and hosted by Quizmaster Rob Edge, this new weekly trivia night promises a night of general knowledge questions, sports and more. Unfortunately, when we dropped by we were greeted by an empty bar with only one other patron. Thinking we were in with a chance of winning, we were disappointed when the staff told us it wasn’t on – without any explanation. Just be sure to call ahead to confirm its actually happening.
Grand Excelsior, Al Barsha (04 444 9999).
One of the longest-running quizzes in the city, Spike Bar welcomes teams on Mondays at 8pm for rounds hosted by quiz master Phil Richardson. Prizes include vouchers for outlets within the Emirates Golf Club, such as the ProShop (if you’re not a golfer, at least you’ll get a great Christmas present for someone out of it).
Emirates Golf Club (04 417 9999).