Thomas Faust (ex-pat files)
Favorite Spot for Quizzo: New Wave Cafe
Neighborhood: Queen Village
Address: 3rd and Catherine
I am: An architect/urban designer who loves the last 20 minutes of the 1995 movie Felony. Look it up and then thank me.
Years in Philly: 3
Current home: Physically, I live in New York City. Mentally, in Philly.
My love note:
According to legend the first formal game of quizzo was played at University City’s New Deck Tavern back in 1993 and it has since become Philly’s great contribution to this nation’s slew of excuses to get drunk on a week night. Today you’d be hard pressed to find a Philly bar that doesn’t host a weekly quizzo night and just about every city in the country has it’s variation on the game.
Since it is not a bar game that revolves around the killing of brain cells, or is as prohibitively intellectual as a measured game of Jeopardy! is, quizzo is very open and appealing to a range of people. You either know the answers or you don’t, because the rules of the game strip us of our reliance on quick information via our cellphones and the internet and force us to rely on a shaky memory of long-gone social studies classes and the grab-bag potpourri of facts our teammates have floating around in their heads. Example: maybe you’re the history buff, you just nailed the question about the Yalta Conference, but you don’t know the number of movies in which Eddie Murphy wears a fat suit – good thing the guy next to you has an embarrassingly deep love of all things starring Pluto Nash, and excitedly whispers the answer before the quizmaster is finished with the obligatory third repetition of the question (you quizzo junkies know what I’m talking about). And some of the best quizzo moments come from that dynamic – in many ways you learn more about your friends than you do the trivia topics. The desire to pay off our bar tab brings out our darkest guilty pleasures that we would never utter in the light of day, but for the win? Yes, I do know that deep cut from Hootie & the Blowfish’s debut album. I know them all.
What sets Famous Philly’s Original Quizzo apart from trivia nights elsewhere is, for me at least, the neighborliness of the game. You don’t take a 30 minute subway ride to a bar full of different people every night: you take a 5 minute walk to your neighborhood bar full of locals. Over time you begin to know the opposing teams, which ones to fear, their weaknesses and strengths, when they are most likely to joker, etc. You are overjoyed when you notice that the reigning champs are missing three of their players one night and you go for the kill, and when you’re low on teammates you are OK with resigning yourself to a casual game that simply passes the time. Heck, you might even go beyond the pun-riddled team names and get to know the players’ real names. It can happen.
Besides the joys of the game itself, quizzo night is one of the best ways to get to know the bar staff, it’s the perfect night to catch up with friends over the past week, and because so many of the questions feed on our collective nostalgia for the 80s and 90s it’s a place that Generations X and Y can test their knowledge on the pop culture they lived through, or wish they lived through, and there is a real charm and comfort to that. Conversely, the game also offers a fantastic way to realize how incredibly out of touch you may be with current cultural trends. And your end of night score will bear testament to that fact.
Quizzo: The Philly-grown drinking game that is second only to a strip club in its strict “no cellphones” rule, a place where hipsters and historians, post-grads and potheads, bookworms and bros all have a chance at winning the spite of an entire bar and drinking for free for one glorious night.
(All photos generously donated by the South Philly Co-op from their recent Food Quizzo night. Shameless plug: I just recently joined and am super excited about the future store. For more info, check out their website or Facebook page)