By Mason Scheer
We’re always told the same thing when we’re young: Don’t play with your food. It’s still socially unacceptable in our older years. But, there are loopholes.
A variety of restaurants feature one or two nights a week devoted to Game Nights. Typically it’ll be a sports bar, or any other place that sells chicken wings. But here in Austin, one of my personal favorite trivia nights happen right around UT campus, at Mellow Mushroom.
Well, most of the time it’s my favorite.
Tuesday night is Trivia Night. It was usually a ritual between my friends and I. Right at 8 in the evening, your entire table is given an answer sheet and a pencil. After a brief rundown of the rules (mostly just no cheating and no yelling out answers) the host asks the first question. Broken down into three rounds, questions range from pop culture to history to sports to science and everything in-between. After each round, the host collects the answer sheets, tallies the scores, then passes them back out and announces the correct answers and standings.
The prize? Top three teams are rewarding for their trivial knowledge. 3rd place walks away with a mystery prize, usually whatever the staff can randomly find. 2nd place gets a $25 gift certificate to Mellow Mushroom, which isn’t a bad thing to have on date night. But 1st place is the real prize, especially for enthusiasts of proving you are smarter than the common man about things with no real ramifications. A specific T-shirt that cannot be purchased. It tells the world just exactly what you did the night before: I Won Trivia at Mellow Mushroom. I personally have 3 of these shirts, in three different colors.
I was going for my fourth this past Tuesday, and I was greatly disappointed. A new host was in command, and right away, I could tell she was not clicking with the audience. The first round, usually a 20 minute process that includes rule breakdown and introductions, took nearly an hour. The problem? The host.
She was 3 beers into the 4th question. Ever been to the party where the drunk girl demands everybody’s attention? It was that, with a microphone. She’d stumble through a question, then go on a long tangent about things completely unrelated. Making inside jokes that only one staff member who wasn’t in work that day would get. And to top it all off, she wasn’t funny. It would have been different if what she was saying was funny or clever, that could have easily been forgiven. But she wasn’t. And refused to stop.
It got so bad that before the third round started, several teams had already walked out. She was called into the back, and afterward her demeanor changed completely. Seems like a manager knocked some sense into her about people leaving.
In the end, after a tie-breaker, my team walked away with 3rd place. I got a plastic recorder for my troubles, and my teammates got a variety of gas-station toys. We only missed 6 questions out of 40 (there were 4 rounds this time), so it was plenty close.
Overall, I would highly recommend Trivia Night at Mellow Mushroom. It’s a fun bonding experience, with great food. But if you see a red-haired woman take the microphone, ask for the check. Some things just aren’t worth it.