NYC Trivia League Goes Virtual – In Person

NYC Trivia League games, formerly played with pen and paper, are now played virtually through smartphones. One night that I attended a trivia event at The Mayfly, I was accompanied by my friend Khadija Muzaffar, who played trivia there virtually for the first time. Photo by Alexa Shahrestani

If you walk into a New York City bar this week, you might stumble upon the scene of multiple groups gathering around a single phone at their table. This phenomenon can be attributed to the New York City Trivia League, which hosts trivia events six out of seven nights of the week at a total of 60 bars in different boroughs. 

When COVID hit and in-person events had to be put on pause, the trivia league began hosting games remotely and virtually until bars reopened. Now, slight changes have been made to the game’s setup to prevent the spread of COVID amongst players and hosts who have returned to the scene of trivia nightlife. The game, which was previously played with paper and pen, is now able to be played entirely online – you just need a smartphone and a QR code. One player from each team scans the QR code and enters a password specific to the bar they are playing at to access a site that hosts the entire six round trivia game. 

Although the setup of the game has changed, the excitement and competition remain the same, with regulars showing up at The Mayfly and Mama’s Bar (pictured here) each week to play trivia. 

Trivia host Mandie Jenson guides the trivia players through six rounds of trivia by announcing each new round and question. Photo by Alexa Shahrestani

Mama’s Bar gets crowded for trivia every Tuesday night. Players sit at the bar, fill the surrounding tables, or, when there’s no space left, stand to participate in the trivia game. Photo by Alexa Shahrestani

Members of trivia team “Scooby Doo Mystery Incorporated” work together at Mama’s Bar to answer trivia questions. Photo by Alexa Shahrestani

One round of trivia is the picture round, in which trivia players look at pictures provided by the trivia league and answer questions associated with them. This is the only part of the game where multiple team players can use their phones in order to look at the photos. Photo by Alexa Shahrestani

At The Mayfly, members of trivia team “Grape Expectations,” who were the winners of the night, collaborate to answer a trivia question. Photo by Alexa Shahrestani

Trivia team “Bratwurst soirée” works together to answer questions in a round of trivia at Mama’s Bar. Photo by Alexa Shahrestani

At Mama’s Bar, Todd Fellerman watches as teammate Reuthanak Tap reacts to trivia answers being revealed by the game host. Photo by Alexa Shahrestani

Reuthanak Tap and Todd Fellerman celebrate success as the answers to trivia questions are revealed. Photo by Alexa Shahrestani