82 Fourth Ave., Park Slope, Brooklyn; Sundays, 8 p.m.
It's not uncommon to find upward of twenty teams competing here, where the questions are hard ("What term describes any system of government where power is divided among four individuals, but usually refers to the system instituted by Diocletian in 293, marking the end of the Crisis of the Third Century and the recovery of the Roman Empire?"). But in accordance with the vibe of the bar, which specializes in American microbrews, the atmosphere remains genial. (Questions are displayed on three sizable screens in case the noise level gets too genial.) There's a bonus round that involves blind identification of a beer on the menu, which means that trying many beers is not just debauchery but also strategy. (The answer, by the way: tetrarchy.)
Black and White
86 E. 10th St., nr. Fourth Ave.; Tuesdays, 8:30 p.m.
This Tuesday-night game has been running eight years now and continues to draw strong: On a good night the bar is packed, with around ten teams of six competing for pride (and free drinks!). The hosts rotate regularly, so there's always a chance you'll run into a bad night, but almost everyone who signs up takes the responsibility seriously. The show wraps up around 10:30 to make way for a D.J. Show up a little early to take advantage of the happy-hour special from 6 to 8 p.m., where all drinks are $2.
65 Fourth Ave., Park Slope, Brooklyn; Wednesdays, 9 p.m.
Located just across the street from Pacific Standard is another perennially packed trivia night, helped in no small part by the lure of a $100 bar-tab reward for first place. Winning is the best, but not only way, to sample the 23 microbrews on tap or 100 bottle offerings. Like their neighbors, Cherry Tree also pops the questions on a screen, making sure you don't miss a word.
1465 Third Ave., nr. 83rd St; Tuesdays, 9 p.m.
Veteran quizmaster David Jacobson has garnered a loyal following on Tuesday nights at this Upper East Side Irish pub. Since the bar started offering trivia four years ago, the crowds have gotten so large that the bar owners had to start removing the pool table and adding tables and chairs in the back to accommodate them. First prize is a $50 bar tab.
325 E. 14th St., nr. First Ave.; Wednesdays, 8:30 p.m.
Crocodile Lounge is best known for offering a free personal pizza with each drink, but the Wednesday trivia nights deserve attention, too. The bar's generosity is present here as well: First place gets a $50 bar tab, second $30, third $10, and the quizmasters also dole out free shots to the random between-round questions.