Wherever you are in Dubai, you’re never far from a pub quiz. Though their popularity has dwindled elsewhere in recent years, it seems this city has never had more venues offering you the chance to put your mental faculties to the test with a round of mid-week trivia. From Oud Metha to Dubai Marina, we’ve visited a raft of quiz nights around town in bars, pubs and even restaurants, and have narrowed it down to some of our favourites. As most of them take place on Mondays and Tuesdays, it may take you a few a weeks to work your way through the list, but you’re bound to have plenty of fun (and be severely tempted to cheat) while doing it.
Quizmaster name: Rob Kaye.
This feast of trivia features five rounds including current affairs, music, a pictures round, general knowledge, and a ‘connection’ round (the answers to nine questions are linked, giving the answer to the final one).
Best for... Anyone in search of a bargain night out. First prize is Dhs500 worth of food and drinks, while there are bonus rounds where players can win yet more hop-based beverages. It’s also Dhs32 for margaritas all night long.
Free. Every Monday, 8pm-10pm. Rydges Plaza, Satwa (04 398 2222)
Quizmaster: Dubai 92 radio presenter Geordiebird – who’s recently taken over from Aussie host Jono.
Consistently popular, you’d be wise to book a table here in advance. Rounds range from ‘guess the celebrity baby photo’ to current affairs, so keep your eyes on the newspapers in the days leading up to your visit. Some of the questions can be impossibly obscure, so we’d recommend roping in those slightly odd friends who often corner you with bizarre, unsolicited facts.
Best for... Those with an encyclopeadic knowledge of the weird and wonderful, and info that would be utterly useless in any other scenario.
Free. Every Monday, registration by 7.30pm (we recommend booking earlier), quiz starts around 8pm. Shoreline Apartments, Palm Jumeirah (04 427 0515)
Quizmaster: DJ Olli.
This head-scratcher involves five rounds: general knowledge, a mystery round (which was ‘world flags’ when we visited. Look up the flag of the Maldives – you’ll be surprised), sports, ‘guess the people’ and ‘guess the song’. Quizmaster Olli takes his job seriously, and a snazzy PowerPoint presentation means you don’t have to constantly ask him to repeat the questions. The venue is mellow and friendly (although the person on the phone who took our reservation was far from either of those), and serves great food. A top prize of Dhs700 in ‘Wafi money’ also means your dinner may be free.
Best for... Dinner with your trivia.
Free. Every Monday, 7.45pm. Wafi Pyramids, Oud Metha (04 324 4100).
Quizmaster: Shane Craven.
Though not the most talked-about quiz in town, this seems to be a well-kept secret among Marina residents, and was so busy we were turned away on our first attempt. Presented via PowerPoint, there are eight rounds covering everything from history to music, and each team gets the chance to play their joker for double points in one round. There’s also a wipeout round where you can lose points for wrong answers. It’s worth noting there’s a happy hour from 7pm until 10pm, by the end of which the crowd is noticeably more fearless. Feeling confident? Enter the league and you could win a big prize after the Christmas quiz at the end of the year. The Yacht Club hosts a similar quiz on Wednesdays in the Sports Lounge.
Best for... More mature quiz-lovers.
Free. Every Monday, registration by 7pm, quiz starts 7.30pm. Dubai Marina Yacht Club (04 362 7900)
Quizmaster name: Ali at Easy Tiger.
This fantastically varied event features general knowledge, pictures, music, video observation and even a Plasticine modelling round. Charismatic quizmaster Ali is firm but fair, and the questions are tricky enough to make you think, but not so tough that you’re left feeling like a reject from University Challenge. The rounds are interspersed with Pub Bingo (to win free drinks) and there’s a beverage prize for the best team name; even if you don’t win the quiz, you’ll still get a crack at the big prize thanks to the Play Your Cards Right finale. The quiz coincides with Fibbers’ ladies’ night, so girls get four free clear spirits from 8pm.
Best for... Creative types: they’ll love the Plasticine modelling.
Free. Every Tuesday, 8pm (although may be delayed if there’s a football match on). Fibber Magee’s, near Crowne Plaza Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 332 2400)
Quizmaster: DJ John Hayes.
The quiz features eight rounds, plus one picture round and one music round. The others are all general knowledge and can get repetitive – the quizmaster could do with mixing them up a bit. On the plus side, if you finish in the top three, you’ll be invited back for the grand final at the end of the season, with the chance to win an iPad.
Best for... Those who don’t take quizzes too seriously. It’s quite hard to hear the questions, and there can be a lot of teams taking part (more than 30 on our visit).
Free. Every Tuesday, registration at 7pm, quiz starts around 8pm. The Bonnington, Jumeirah Lakes Towers (04 356 0560)
Quizmaster name: DJ Phil.
This quiz follows the tried-and-tested formula of a music round followed by a general knowledge round. There’s nothing particularly new here in terms of original questions or innovative rounds, and none of the questions are particularly hard, but on our visit we somehow still managed to score among the lowest of nearly 20 teams (shame on us). Sneaky tip: the tables are pretty close together so it’s relatively easy to pinch answers from other teams while they’re discussing the questions – though of course we can’t condone this (or guarantee they’ll have the right answers).
Best for... Gathering with friends and mindlessly taking turns to shout out the answers to fairly run-of-the-mill questions.
Free. Every Tuesday, 8pm-midnight. Media Rotana, TECOM (04 435 0000)
The Underground Pub
Quizmaster name: DJ Daisy.
Music lovers will enjoy this quiz: it features six rounds, two of which are music-oriented, as well as general knowledge (though there’s no current affairs round), sports (those who are not British will fail epically), entertainment and an unusual food-tasting bonus round, which we particularly enjoyed. Our only gripe is that after booking a table, we were phoned a total of six times to change the quiz starting time prior to our arrival. What’s more, we ordered some ribs but they were severely overcooked, leaving them almost inedible.
Best for… Thirtysomething Brits with an interest in music and football.
Free. Every Monday, 8.30pm (although time is subject to change). Habtoor Grand Beach Resort & Spa, Dubai Marina (04 408 4221)