How to Host a Trivia Night at Your Bar or Restaurant

how to host a trivia night

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Hosting a trivia night at your bar is one of the best ways to attract customers to your establishment and create a fun social activity for your area. There is a lot of flexibility with how you structure the event, and you can make it a recurring event to make it more successful. We’ll go through what a trivia night is for this article and how local bars can create their own trivia night for maximum success.

What is a Trivia Night?

Trivia nights or pub quizzes are a kind of game night that is hosted by a bar. Multiple rounds are structured across different subjects like general knowledge, history, pop culture, and more. People can play in teams and buy drinks on trivia night, making a fun social activity with friends.

The bar appoints a trivia master that announces the questions to the audience and provides the answers so teams can score themselves and a winner can be announced. Bars give out prizes to the winners and usually run these events weekly. If you are looking into how to open a bar and you are wondering how to attract customers, trivia night is one of the many options.

Why You Should Host Trivia Events at Your Bar or Restaurant

There are many ways your restaurant or bar benefits from events like trivia nights, such as:

  1. Marketing: A trivia night is an excellent event if you’re trying to come up with restaurant marketing ideas. You can advertise your bar and attract new customers to your establishment.
  2. Recurring business: People keep coming back for trivia nights, especially with a good host. You can create an opportunity for regular business each week with events like this.
  3. Social idea: People are always looking for opportunities to socialize more, and trivia events are best for attracting many demographics.
  4. Boost sales: Alongside the trivia event, you can create different deals and discounts to drum up sales and hold trivia events on slower nights to make more money.

Hosting a Trivia Night in 11 Simple Steps

So how do you run a trivia game event? Here’s our complete guide on everything you need to know to have the best trivia nights at your bar or restaurant.

1. Look at Trivia Night Themes

Trivia night themes are a great way to attract more people interested in more niche topics. You can rotate different themes across the month to bring in as many people as possible. Theme nights can be on:

  • Science
  • General trivia
  • Pop culture, movies, and music
  • History
  • Geography
  • Politics

2. Make Sure You Have Everything You Need

There are a few items you’ll need to make trivia nights a success, such as:

  • Score sheets
  • An answer sheet per team
  • Pen and paper
  • Sound equipment like a mic and speaker, depending on how big the bar or restaurant is
  • Questions and answers for the trivia host
  • Bonus round structures and a tiebreaker question

3. Advertise Your Trivia Event

Local businesses advertise trivia events through many methods to bring in more foot traffic and build awareness about the event. Here are some ways you can promote your event:

Make Trivia Night Flyers

Flyers are one of the most popular ways to advertise your event, and you can leave them at various other businesses and bulletin boards around the area. For example, you can make a trivia night invitation flyer using templates and designs and have them printed.

Create a Facebook Event

Facebook is always a good way to reach people. Create a Facebook event and invite regulars to start with. You can encourage them to invite others and mark the day on their calendar, so they remember to attend. Add more content like a blog post, so people know what to expect.

Advertise on Instagram

Social media is one of the best ways to reach customers, so take full advantage of it. Post about the event on your official Instagram, and create reminders via Instagram stories to encourage people to attend. Also, make sure to post stories and posts from trivia events on your Instagram page so people continue to attend!

4. Make the Rules

Trivia game rules can be as complicated or simple as you would like them to be. There are many ways to play trivia and structure the game, so make sure you have a game plan beforehand. Try to develop clear rules without being too time-consuming or confusing to encourage people to continue coming.

Generally, most trivia games are for a set number of rounds, including open-ended and multiple-choice questions with a maximum number of points that teams can earn on all the questions. Teams switch answer sheets after each round to score one another. Teams with the highest number of points win. Include bonus points and tiebreaker questions for an extra point. Also, make sure to have a ‘no cell phones’ rule to discourage cheating.

5. Think of Trivia Night Question Topics

You can come up with question topics for each round and make up your own questions as needed to ensure a good mix. Some trivia night topics can include:

  • Scientific discoveries
  • TV trivia
  • Local history
  • Countries and continents
  • A famous TV show
  • Random facts
  • Harry Potter
  • Famous people
  • Pop culture
  • Music
  • A picture round
  • Language, literature, and art

How many Rounds Should a Trivia Night Have?

A trivia night can have many rounds, but think about how long it’ll take before going for too many rounds. Most trivia nights have anywhere between 3-6 rounds. However, the structure of the pub quiz is usually designed with the total amount of time as a consideration.

6. Create Brilliant Trivia Night Questions

Now that you’ve established some themes for your trivia night questions, it’s time to write questions themselves and create an answer sheet. Again, try to mix more challenging trivia questions and easier ones to keep a good balance and keep everyone motivated.

Some example trivia night questions include:

Who was the author of the Russian classic War and Peace?

Leo Tolstoy

What country won the very first FIFA World Cup in 1930?


In these examples, each answer would get teams one point. However, you can create question formats where teams can score multiple points per question.

You can also find ready-made quizzes available online with the correct answers to use for your trivia night on websites. Some options include Literature Trivia Night Questions, Science Pub Quiz Questions, American Sports Quiz.

How Many Questions do You Need for a Trivia Night?

Most rounds have about 5-8 questions per round. You can also include bonus rounds with obscure questions for extra points.

7. Choose a Host for Your Trivia Nights

A host is critical for a trivia night since they’ll be the ones running through the questions and answers with the teams. You can hire an MC if you’re looking for something a little more official. However, you can save some money by choosing a host from your staff to operate the trivia night.

8. Set Up Your Trivia Night Event

Set up your bar for the event by moving tables together and bringing in extra chairs. Ideally, tables should be just far apart enough to prevent cheating but close enough that people can strike conversations with one another.

9. Organize the Teams

Once you’ve explained the rules and how many people are allowed on each team, ask the trivia players to organize themselves into teams and prepare their answer sheets.

10. Sort Out Trivia Night Team Names

To make it easy to identify trivia teams and scores, ask each team to come up with a name for themselves. They can then inform the host of a trivia night to keep track and encourage guests to get creative! Some ideas for trivia team names can include:

  1. Trivia crazy
  2. Nerds for trivia
  3. Fun facts
  4. Einsteins
  5. Beer for trivia

11. Reward the Winning Team

As an incentive to keep everyone playing, it’s important to have fabulous prizes and fun rewards for the winning team, so they get into the spirit of the competition. Some rewards can include a discount voucher on purchases, a free drink for each team member, gift cards, or a small cash prize.

Trivia Night Tips

If you’re still unsure how to run a successful trivia night, here are some additional tips to make the event a success:

  1. Advertise the event as much as possible
  2. Make sure the rules are easy to follow, and the trivia game does not take up too much time
  3. Ask for feedback after the event to understand what guests want to see
  4. Keep people entertained! Engage with the audience and make jokes to keep spirits high
  5. Announce the scores after each round to keep the competitive spirit going
  6. Create breaks in between so people have time to get drinks, go to the restroom, or just chat for a bit

Image: Depositphotos

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Myra Nizami Myra Nizami is a staff writer for Small Business Trends and has been with the team for 3 years. She is also a freelance writer and researcher with a Bachelor's degree from Cornell University and a Master's from Kings College London.