NEW YORK CITY -- A few weeks ago, the highlight of every week was bar trivia at Frank Mac's on the upper west side. Wednesday night meant getting together after work in a bar full of people and joining our friends for two hours of brain-bending nonsense.
One might think with the stock market, healthcare system, and economy on the brink, all the pillars of American society are in great peril. But alas! The pub trivia scene in New York City remains bustling with life, even if the streets do not.
"It's a real shock and adjustment to not be able to go to bars and host as usual," says NYC Trivia League host and head writer Meredith Lark. "So we're just doing what we can to make it work."
Instead of dozens of hosts running games across the city every night of the week, now one host broadcasts questions to the entire city on Instagram Live four nights a week. Teams can play from home using a link posted on NYC Trivia League's Facebook page to access a Google Form used to submit answers.
"We've built such a wonderful community," Lark says. "It would be a shame to see it disappear overnight. So we want people to keep on playing and having fun."
Since its founding in 2011, NYC Trivia League has expanded to 120 bars in New York City. Hundreds of teams compete year-round, and each season typically ends with a massive tournament between the top teams called the King's Cup. Our squad - "Nobody puts Baby Yoda in A Corner" - took part in the last season-ending tourney a few months ago.
The online games have been evolving and improving throughout a few test runs. Lark believes NYC Trivia League has figured out an effective online format through those trials.
"We do four rounds of trivia, each round has 10 questions and each question is worth one point."
The answers are always multiple-choice, true or false, or short answer fill-in-the-blank. Games will run every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday for the foreseeable future. The advent of videoconferencing software like Zoom and Google Hangouts makes collaboration with teammates from a safe social distance surprisingly easy, and fun, as you'll see above.
"Seeing teams that I recognize in multiple living rooms playing with one another, it's heartwarming," Lark says. "It seems like people are finding a bright spot in their day by playing with us."
So give your digital ID to the imaginary bouncer, follow us inside the virtual pub (you can wear sweatpants), and check out the game night with NYC Trivia League!