The best pub quizzes in Dubai

10 best pub quizzes to try in Dubai. Go on, test your brain power

There’s nothing more fun than a pub quiz to break up the working week, and Dubai has plenty of them. So much so that quiz veterans have their favourites. While some people like their quizzes packed with general knowledge and popular rounds such as sports trivia, others prefer the unusual and quirky tasks involved. Whether it’s a straight-ip question and answer quiz or a get your hands dirty plasticine type of challenge, there is an array of choices for all quizzing tastes.

Bidi Bondi

Quizmaster James Philips hosts this Monday night trivia bonanza, which is packed with tricky general knowledge questions and plenty of random science and nature stuff. It’s popular and the teams are competitive, meaning there’s a real chance of being booted off a table often occupied by a group of regulars, so make sure you arrive early. As well as a picture round of some description, there is also one in which you’re given the first letter of a word that you have to guess in the context of a sentence. Prizes include meal vouchers for Dhs400, Dhs200 and Dhs100, as well as a ‘Who am I?’ bonus round for free drinks.

Toughest question of the evening: What Arnold Schwarzenegger movie is also the word to describe the division between the dark and illuminated parts of the moon?

Overall difficulty rating: 4/5
Free. Mondays, registration from 7.30pm, starts 8pm. Bidi Bondi, between Shoreline Apartments 3 and 4, Palm Jumeirah (04 427 0515).

Carter’s

At more than a decade old, Carter’s is a relative dinosaur by Dubai standards, and the pub quiz is refreshingly old school. It’s a simple six round structure – movies, music, geography, people and places, a picture round, and the classic all-or-nothing wipe-out to close – although that’s about all that’s simple here. A large, cavernous venue, several of the teams competing appeared to flout the no-phones rule quite openly – although we’re not sure we blame them faced with these beguilingly difficult questions. The three top teams walk away with vouchers worth up to Dhs700. No, we didn’t win – but we didn’t join Team Google either.

Toughest question of the evening: What is the highest European capital city? (Not including Andorra la Vella, which is capital of Andorra, a principality...)

Overall difficulty rating: 4/5
Free. Mondays 8.30pm. Carter’s, Wafi, Oud Metha (04 324 4100).

Crown & Lion

This popular English pub isn’t quite as busy during the weekly pub quiz as it is for the Premier League football matches it screens live, but the crowd is large enough to promote a healthy amount of competition. Over three rounds, brains and speed are tested against music (name that song and artist), sport and general knowledge, and the quizmaster keeps an eye out for mobile phones to prevent cheating. Prizes include meal vouchers and free drinks at the pub itself, with first prize (on our particular visit) of a table and bottle in the hotel’s Chameleon Club.

Toughest question of the evening: How many confirmed kills did Rambo have in all four films? (We lost the tie-breaker on this question and came second).

Overall difficulty rating: 2/5
Free. Mondays 8.30pm. Crown & Lion, Byblos Hotel, TECOM (04 448 8000).

Girders

This is a weekly pub quiz with a difference. Heavily based on music, Girders’ incarnation is hosted by a quizmaster and a guitarist on the stage, who at the start of each round plays a cover version. Following this, the first question will be to name the song and artist, with further related questions throughout the round. But don’t worry if music isn’t your forte, as there are also some pot luck general knowledge questions thrown in for good measure. It’s a popular format, with quiz-goers enjoying live music combined with a workout for the brain. And with the top prize being free brunch at Girders, your music knowledge could really pay off here.

Toughest question of the evening: Mars has two moons: true or false?

Overall difficulty rating: 3/5
Free. Mondays 8.30pm. Girders, JA Ocean View Hotel, Dubai Marina (04 814 5590).

McGettigan’s JLT

The weekly iPaddy Table Quiz is one of the more unusual quizzes we’ve been too, which might be why it’s so popular. Be sure to ring ahead to book a table as the place can get pretty packed and it’s obvious who the regulars are. Hosted by the Irish bar’s resident DJ John Hayes, the quiz has six rounds that include everything from general knowledge, a celebrity picture round, a rather odd vegetable round and (our least favourite) the maths round. In between rounds, teams can try their luck at a giant Jenga game to win on-the-spot prizes if they manage to choose a coloured block. While the witty quizmaster did look out for mobile cheaters, it’s pretty easy to sneak a look at your phone if you’re seated in one of the bar’s cosy corners. Prizes include brunch and dinner vouchers across the McGettigans portfolio. Expect a general knowledge quiz, which culminates in a monthly contest where the winning teams (top three) from each week compete to win an iPad.

Toughest question of the evening: What country has the currency Togrog?

Overall difficulty rating: 4/5
Free. Tuesdays 8pm. McGettigan’s Bar, Bonnington Hotel, Jumeirah Lakes Towers (04 356 0560).

Fibber Magee’s

Fibber’s has been open more than 18 years and long-term expats report it having a quiz most of that time. The night we visited the usual host was replaced by quizmaster Kevin and around 15 teams tested their wits in a mixed bag, which included name that caricature, guess the movie poster, name that tune, general knowledge, family fortunes and a clay modelling round. Judging by our surprisingly accomplished performance (second place) this could be one of the easier quizzes in town. Most of the music and film questions were from the ’90s and ’00s, so if this is your era you’re in with a good chance.

Toughest question of the evening: How many time zones does Russia have?

Overall difficulty rating: 2/5
Free. Tuesdays 8.30pm. Fibber Magee’s, Saeed Tower One, Sheikh Zayed Road, www.fibbersdubai.com (04 332 2400).

Dubai Marina Yacht Club
The Yacht Club’s weekly quiz does not take place in any of the venue’s bars, but in the separate Al Dana function room. Still, there is fluid bar service during the quiz, and beverages are very fairly priced too. The quiz night is a popular affair, with some 15 plus teams turning out, including regular participants. The crowd tends to be mature expats. The average evening is composed of eight rounds, including a music round, with the aid of comic video clips, picture rounds and a final wipeout, where incorrect answers will wipe your total score for the round. The top seven teams receive prizes, starting at Dhs50 vouchers for food at neighbouring YOTS Sports Bar and upwards in value.

Toughest question of the evening: Which islands did Christopher Columbus originally name Las Tortugas?

Overall difficulty rating: 3.5/5
Free. Mondays 7.30pm. Dubai Marina Yacht Club, Dubai Marina (04 362 7900).

UBK

This popular quiz is hosted by big Rossi from Virgin Radio, who does a good job of keeping things moving humorously along without getting on folks’ nerves too much. There are four rounds: on our visit categories were potluck, science and nature, celebrity and music. Average team size is about four with a good mix of young and old, male and female (there’s no limit to team size but a point is deducted for every member before the final scores). There’s a no-phone policy, but there was only one point during the evening when Rossi actually went on ‘cheat patrol’. There’s also a bonus round to win a bottle of bubbly – on our visit this was for the best team name, but other times it involves doodling pictures or some other creative challenge. Winners get brunch for eight at UBK, while second place get drinks vouchers worth Dhs1,000.

Toughest question of the evening: Where does a Troglodyte live?

Overall difficulty rating: 4/5
Free. Mondays 8.30pm. UBK, Mövenpick JLT (04 380 000).

The Underground

This weekly quiz is fun from start to finish. It follows a traditional format with geography, general knowledge, music, sport and picture rounds, plus our favourite, the plasticine round. On the night we visited, we were challenged to create something related to magic. While our efforts were awarded, we were simply one of about ten teams to create a rabbit popping out of a hat – not exactly original. Radio One presenter Danny C and Ross MacDonald keep the quiz flowing with lively banter and upbeat music. The crowd is a mixture of all ages and team sizes, ranging from just two to around ten people (a little unfair if you ask us). Prizes include brunch vouchers and food vouchers for the Habtoor resort.

Toughest question of the evening: One of the visual questions about country flags was pretty tough..

Overall difficulty rating: 3/5
Free. Wednesdays 8.30pm. The Underground, Habtoor Grand Beach Resort & Spa, Dubai Marina (04 399 5000).

Spike Bar

The Club Quiz at this smart golf club is a friendly, social affair. Many of the punters have just finished a round of golf or are regulars at the club. The quiz master, Phil Richardson, is friendly and has a warm banter with the crowd. There’s little or no Googling of answers as the bar manager surveys from the top of the stairs, and the quiz attracts some solo players as well, who come to enjoy the buffet spread and the social vibe. On the night we visited the rounds were animated movies, sport, people, arts and general knowledge. The game allows for a ‘joker’ to be played, so if your specialist subject is animated movies then you can tell Phil in advance and your points will be doubled on that round. There are prizes for the top three teams, which is a nice consolation, with the winners scooping Dhs400 worth of vouchers.

Toughest question of the evening: What popular pet is referred to as a cavey?

Overall difficulty rating: 3/5
Free. Mondays 8pm. Spike Bar, Emirates Golf Club, Emirates Hills (04 417 9999).

The good and the bad of team names

Ten best Dubai pub quiz names
1. Agatha Quiztie
2. Risky Quizness
3. Carter’s Farting Martyrs
4. The Quizzy Rascals
5. Norfolk ‘n’ Chance
6. Quizteam Aguilera
7. Trivia Newton John
8. Natural Born Losers
9. Two Degrees and an A Level
10. Universally Challenged

Ten worst Dubai pub quiz names
1. Bloke at the bar
2. Can we go home now?
3. No Name
4. Them in the corner
5. The Muppets
6. Oh no, my pen’s running…
7. The Mental Blanks
8. Quiz Team
9. The Lads
10. The Girls

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