by Caroline Groff
Going out has become a struggle, if not an entirely nonexistent activity in the year of 2020. For many people, there is a lot that has to be examined before deciding if the excursion is actually a good idea. Are there mask requirements? Will there be social distancing? Are any of these guidelines going to be enforced? In times where it becomes a checklist and guessing game to decide if something is worth it-or just safe-to go, places like Off Broadway are trying to make the transition relatively painless, safe, and entertaining along the way. The venue on Lemp Avenue has found their short-term solution to the absence of live music in the form of their Trivia Nights Series.
With all the restriction and guidelines that we have all gotten used to, Off Broadway is like many venues that have had to close shop and have been left to find their own solutions. In June, they started their curbside pickup for selections from their bar menu. Locals came out to support their neighborhood venue and bar, but only could do so much. Especially since ordering drinks for pickup kind of defeats the purpose of wanting to get something from a bar. They later updated this to their Patio Bar Night, where they open their outdoor patio to patrons every Friday and Saturday from 6 p.m. – 11 p.m. After testing the waters for a while, Off Broadway brought the idea for trivia to fruition in early October and meet-ups after a warm reception from participants.
To get the scoop on what would actually go on during the series, and have an excuse to go somewhere, I reserved a table and stopped in for the event on a rather freezing Saturday in late October. It’s a simple process to get in with one employee checking temperatures, looking up reservations, giving you your paper and pen, then sending you on your way to the patio. Once seated by the fire it’s a bit more comfortable, but make sure to bring something warm if you’re planning to come during their November slots. To help combat the chill, they’ll serve you up a hot drink with tea and just about any alcohol you want. After getting drinks served and boosting team moral, the trivia is under way.
Each trivia night is separated into six categories with ten questions. Every night will have different categories and themes for the rounds, so you’re prospects of winning will depend on the luck of the round picks. For a glimpse at what you might be getting into, the categories on this night ranged to musicians in film, 80s music facts, and jazz history. There’s also bound to be a Led Zeppelin question in there somewhere, so if you’ve ever listened to local radio stations like KSHE 95, you’ll be on your way to a right answer.
For those worried less about the questions and more about precautions and safety guidelines, fear not. With picnic tables spread throughout the outdoor seating area, there’s plenty of room. Masks are required unless you are seated at your group’s table. Once seated they were able to sip their drinks and fight over which answers to out on their score sheet.
The entire experience is a breath of fresh air in these times, even if you’re struggling with writing down the right answers. Still, even with the warm atmosphere, it does feel a bit strange. This could be because of the vacant stage that is sat across from the bar, watching you while you order a drink, as if to remind you that “No, it’s still not the same”. Ominous stage aside, the overall positives outweigh and awkward feelings, especially when your able to support local businesses while doing it.
There are really no reasons not to go. With free entry and an open invitation to bring your own food, you’ll only be paying for drinks and leaving without any real dent in your wallet. You’ll also have the chance to win some prizes, provided by 4 Hands Brewing Co. and Urban Chestnut Brewing Co. Their newest trivia slots will be open every Thursday night of November. Anyone interested in testing their music knowledge can reserve a table on Off Broadway’s website. In a time where the future of small venues is looking bleak, any little thing you can do to show support and have some fun is always worth doing.