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For the patrons of Barney’s Beanery, attending Trivia Night is a no-brainer

Digital screens advertising the trivia night in Barney’s Beanery are pictured. Visitors can participate in the competition every Tuesday night. (Christine Kao/Daily Bruin staff)

By Sharla Steinman and Gabrielle Siegel

May 30, 2023 1:10 a.m.

Over the last decade, Barney’s Beanery has become a staple for the Westwood community through its Tuesday trivia night.

Beginning at 8:30 p.m. every Tuesday night, the full-service restaurant and bar turns into a showdown of speed as groups compete to answer questions and play games that test participants’ cognitive skills. On May 23, Trivia Night Westwood featured four rounds of trivia, including matching cities with their respective skylines, guessing celebrities based on photos and answering random knowledge questions.

For third-year neuroscience student Sophia Jenny, that Tuesday was her first time participating in the event. She said she looked forward to the atmosphere of the event after hearing about it from friends.

“I always pass by here and the energy’s really infectious, and everyone always talks about it,” Jenny said. “Everyone always talks about having a great time with friends.”

She added that it was a fun way for her and her friends to exercise their competitive side and have a great night.

Daniel Ostrander, a Big Happy Trivia employee who hosts the trivia nights at the restaurant’s six locations, said he enjoys working at the Westwood location in particular. He added that the staff and the attendees make the experience memorable for him.

“The people who play – they write little messages on the cards, they draw little drawings, they ask little questions, they shout out during the game. You can just tell that they’re having a really good time,” he said. “They like being here, which charges me up and then charges them up, and it’s just a good feedback loop.”

He added that some of his most memorable trivia night moments included iCarly actor Nathan Kress competing and a Halloween-themed game for UCLA graduate students.

(Christine Kao/Daily Bruin staff)
Participants competing in a picture-based question are pictured. (Christine Kao/Daily Bruin staff)

Trivia nights are among the bar’s busiest nights, as it’s packed with reservations, said AJ Sacher, the director of operations at Barney’s Beanery.

“Trivia is awesome because it occupies this different sort of sector and appeal,” he said. “I think our success in being able to have a very consistent, fun night has made it a really busy night.”

Sacher said he thinks Barney’s Beanery is an ideal location for trivia for many reasons but added that he thinks the space is one of the most compelling features of the bar.

He said the layout of the restaurant, as well as the booth and table styles, allow friends to feel like they are in their own space despite the restaurant’s large size.

Sacher added that over the years, the bar’s Westwood location has implemented a video aspect to Trivia Night so that the game can be played anywhere in the restaurant.

Jenna Rheinhardt, a fourth-year microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics student, said she enjoys going to the trivia nights at Barney’s as a way to destress and be with friends. While she initially came to the event because of her friends, her knowledge of random facts such as medieval weapons has proved useful, she said.

“It’s fun,” she said. “We’re all smart people. It’s stupid facts.”

To keep up with the demand, which often results in long waits and a line by the door, the restaurant has encouraged people to make reservations and stay organized in the line outside to ensure people are able to have a good time.

While Barney’s Beanery has other themed nights such as karaoke and daily happy hour specials, trivia night motivates guests to also come on other nights and enjoy the fun, Sacher said.

“They’re having their own individual positive experiences with the company, and they’re going to keep coming back not just for trivia,” he said. “They’re going to come back on other nights because we’re clearly doing something. … I think that buzz that you feel when you walk in and everybody’s there for trivia is probably the best part about it.”

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Sharla Steinman | City and Crime Editor
Steinman is the 2023-2024 city and crime editor. She was previously a city and crime contributor. She is also a fourth-year political science student.
Steinman is the 2023-2024 city and crime editor. She was previously a city and crime contributor. She is also a fourth-year political science student.
Siegel is a 2023-2024 slot editor. She was previously a 2022-2023 Copy staff member and has contributed to News, Sports, Prime and Photo. She is also a fourth-year communication and Spanish student from Lincolnshire, Illinois.
Siegel is a 2023-2024 slot editor. She was previously a 2022-2023 Copy staff member and has contributed to News, Sports, Prime and Photo. She is also a fourth-year communication and Spanish student from Lincolnshire, Illinois.
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