A rainy Wednesday evening, the early nightfall and cool temperatures tempt me to stay curled up on the couch as the safest bet for a good time. But plagued by a mid-week restlessness I decide to step out of the norm, brave the weather and head for Trivia Night at Fire on Water at 518 N. Water St.
Walking into Fire feels like a homecoming even when every face in the bar is unfamiliar. Within seconds of entering the bar, nearly every patron looks up, smiles and introduces themselves. Strangers are fast friends here.
Without a dress code, people comfortably sit in sweatshirts or with their work attire slightly rolled at the elbows. Everyone shares a similar goal -- to enjoy a bit of camaraderie.
First timers for the trivia game belly up side by side with the regulars. The bartender eagerly serves drinks to the players, reminding them that the winner of tonight's game will receive a $30 gift certificate to the bar, thus making it impossible for the few stragglers to not join the smaller teams.
At 8 p.m. sharp, the announcer of the game from Team Trivia of Wisconsin halts the music and explains the rules of the game. Using a cell phone to cheat will disqualify a participant and force him to consensually purchase a round of drinks for the entire bar. With some resistance, the crowd simultaneously houses smart phones in pockets and purses.
The game begins, and as expected, the questions are excruciatingly trivial. The competition requires players to recall the most useless facts that have been stored in the deepest recess of the brain; information learned in grade school geography and middle school social science.
Answers rest at the tip of the tongue, as participants bow their heads into their hands and furiously rub their temples praying the correct response will spill out onto the bar.
And then once again, the music stops as the leader announces the answer – the crowd collectively sighs, some in relief and others in frustration. A new level of fury is reached when a mistake has been made and it fuels the groups to charge forward demanding another question be posed.
While the tunes from late '80s play, fast scribbling of notes, hastened whispering and shuffling of the slip of the paper to the judge causes a palpable frenzy. Even late comers instantly jump into the game and quickly add their contribution of fragmented memories and miscellaneous facts.
Tension builds as two teams tie in scores in the final round of the game. The announcer taunts and teases during the song and purposefully leaves a pregnant pause before declaring the winner. High fives and hugs are shared by everyone as the victor calls to the bartender for another round. The ultimate goal achieved -- a good time had by all.
Fire on Water hosts Trivia Night every Wednesday from 8 to 10 p.m. Team Trivia of Wisconsin holds 90 live trivia contests in venues throughout the state of Wisconsin every week.
Angela returned to Milwaukee after living on both coasts and overseas. Filled with uncertainty about the move, she quickly discovered the hidden gem that is Milwaukee. The caliber of arts, music and culture as well as the ease of accessibility to it all, make Milwaukee one of a kind.After a year of acclimating to life in Milwaukee, she is now surprised she ever doubted the return home in the first place. Exploring the different facets of Milwaukee has been an adventure she never expected and is what you'll mostly read about in this blog.