Monday, August 6, 2007

Trivia From Hell

The Dixie Grill
116 Market Street

Wilmington, NC 28401

(910) 762-7280

Hell's Kitchen
118 Princess Street
Wilmington, NC 28401
(910) 763-4133

IF YOU'RE WONDERING what to do in Wilmington on a Monday evening around, say, 7:30, I have a suggestion: trivia!

Now, trivia is by no means a new entry on the ever-growing List of Ways to Waste Time and Money In a Bar, but Hell's Kitchen throws a few loops at you. The four-round, category-style trivia session at Hell's has the expected questions with answers of a single theme, and it has its off-the-wall questions of entirely unrelated nature and suspect relevance. Then, there's the "Before and After" category (of Wheel Of Fortune fame) where you're given, say, "Sloppy _____ Montana" and expected to guess, "Joe." Harder than you might think. And debuting this evening was a "multimedia" category--audio tracks, on this night, of television show theme songs; you try and guess the show.

If these challenges aren't enough to draw you out, there are a couple other reasons to choose Hell's: first, its menu of bar fare is delicious; second, my brother is the host.

Adam, a.k.a. The Nooche (riffing off a shortened version of Iannucci, our middle name, our mother's last), has, I've been told, on Monday nights turned a handful of Hell's devotees into a packed bar of dedicated teams of trivia-goers vying for the obligatory bar tab and occasional other prizes.

Highlights from this particular Monday evening were topped by the array of nostalgia-inducing theme songs, that of Inspector Gadget and the opening monologue from A-Team being the most creative inclusions. Of the questions, three favorites (I'll save answers for the comments page):

- Name the third member of the Apollo 11 trio that did not moonwalk alongside Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin.

- Identify the Byzantine city that fell to the Ottomans in 1453 by its name in 1454.

- Which American president was the first to formally change his name to its informal version.

Even more delicious than relishing a challenge of intellect with my brother was the massive crab cake sandwich paired with Hell's much-loved sweet potato fries. Remembering that beer costs $3-per-pint outside of New York: priceless.

How did our team fare? Well, Mint, Mom, Elisa and I, along with a friend of my brother, ended in a six-way second-place tie. The tie-breaker: what was the year, on this date, that the first execution by electric chair took place? Our official guess: 1921 (Mint insisted 1890 would be closer.) The answer: 1890. So, Mint was right--but 1921 was closest! Unfortunately, another team also guessed 1921. Did we correctly identify the tie-breaker's tie-breaker, the year Andy Warhol was born? Nope. But from third place there's still room to move up. Maybe next Monday.

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