How to Host a Trivia Night

Tips for Hosting a Trivia Night

With a new trivia night, you want to shout it from the rooftops. Promote the night in your bar or restaurant's current advertising and on tabletop stands. Encourage the wait staff to spread the word too. Inspire your current customers to come back with friends in return for freebies or "bar bucks." Food and drink specials on the big night can help draw a crowd in too. Now you've got people in the house, let's play trivia!

The Ground Rules: Here are some guidelines to keep in mind.

  • Keep time limits to less than a minute. Play some popular music; when it ends, time's up to answer the question.
  • Teams can write down the answers on a sheet or hold them up on a card. Illegible responses get thrown out. If you're going interactive, answers may be submitted from a device.
  • The MC is judge and jury on final answers, though there may be an appeals channel.
  • Looking up answers on a smartphone's Internet or texting a friend is so not acceptable.

MC's Role: A key part of trivia night success is to have a good host. He or she must have a strong voice, quick wit and the ability to improvise – as well as be able to read those questions and answers without stumbling.

Coming Up With Questions: You can research them yourself using the Internet and quiz books or you can purchase question packets. Whatever works with your budget and your bandwidth is fine.

Show Them the Money: Prizes always encourage people to play and come back again. These may include a free tab for the winners' table that night; restaurant or bar "bucks" to be used at a future date (which encourages repeat players) or a Trivia Cup for the winners to display next round. You can even have vendors donate prizes or offer a larger cash prize at the end of a multi-week tournament.

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