Two weeks ago, on a wim, I decided to see if I could find a good trivia night near my place in Cary or somewhere in the Triangle. I’ve been meaning to find a new trivia night that I could get some of my old trivia buddies to come to. We used to go to trivia on Tuesday nights at Linda’s Bar in Chapel Hill. When they lost their good host, they stopped going.

With the number of bars around Durham, Raleigh, Chapel Hill, Cary, and Morrisville, you can easily a new place to play trivia every night of the week. So for Monday through Thursday of that week, that’s basically what I did, and then I even tried a fifth trivia night the next week. What follows are my reviews of those trivia nights.

Doherty’s Irish Pub

1979 High House Rd

Cary, NC 27519

Phone number (919) 388-9930

Starts at 8pm on Mondays

Host:

  • Professional/Experienced at doing trivia Give hints if you need it when he comes around for answers

Questions:

  • Mainly pop culture (categories from the night I went: Ad slogans, comedians, name-that-muppet video slides) Music questions happen mainly if the video isn’t working, according to the host.

  • Mostly easy questions (if you know the category). I’d say the questions could stand to be a little harder (they only got hard-ish in the last few questions of the round). If you intend to win, you’ll have to get almost all the questions and bonuses right.

Venue:

  • It was a nice clean tavern with a u-shaped bar for lots of seating around it, and several more tall-chair tables. The patio was a nice place to hang out between rounds as well. A smaller trivia venue than most I’ve been to, but the crowd was smallish so it worked out.

  • Air conditioning was almost too cold, but it’s almost summer so it’s understandable. I went outside where it was a bit warmer between rounds.

Crowd:

  • 30s, 40s, and a few 50s. There were just barely enough in the 30s range for me to feel like there was a group of peers (27). I was able to pick up team members that came in after 8pm that were in their 30s, so it was a good night in terms of socializing.

  • Maybe 20-25 people in the trivia area near the bar.

Steel String Brewery

106 S Greensboro St

Carrboro, NC 27510

Phone number (919) 240-7215

Starts at 9:15pm on Tuesdays

Host:

  • Can’t make a fair judgement on this one because he was a fill-in for the regular host.

  • Trivia is supposed to start at 9pm but I changed the time to 9:15 because there was a lot of delays when getting started.

Questions:

  • First off, there’s a rule that only teams of four or less can compete for the prizes, so if you commonly bring groups bigger than that to these things, you’re gonna have to just play for fun.

  • The questions are pretty tough but not impossible. The first round had more academic questions than pop culture but you get both.

  • There’s always some connecting theme between the questions too. The second round was really tough because they were mostly obscure movies from the 90s and early 00s that were based loosely on Shakespeare plays.

  • There was a music round at the end, but I didn’t stay to review that because I was already kinda bored by the end of round 2 and the time between rounds was taking forever.
  • I left around 10:30 and they had just finished round 2 of 5, so this trivia is really for the night owls.

Venue:

  • Small space, and I like the decor. They have some nice outside seating but no trivia out there, as expected.
  • The acoustics make it pretty noisy inside.

Crowd:

  • Mainly 20 somethings with a few in their 30s I’m sure. The crowd was nosier because it wasn’t a restaurant as well as a bar.

  • Most people had large groups or their groups of 2 and 4 so there was no team to join or other people who came alone to team up with.

West End Tavern

2734 N Carolina 55

Cary, NC 27519

Phone:(919) 303-9300

Starts at 7pm Wednesdays

Host:

  • Cool host who walked around through the main area. He was an older guy so the whole trivia experience had an older sensibility.

Questions:

  • A good level of difficulty. And just when you thought you were going to come back in the music round, you have the hardest time with that. I was just glad they had a music round though.

Venue:

  • Nice and new pub. They had a nice lounge with comfy couches but we didn’t go there because it was to far from the trivia.
  • Our bartender, Ariel, was really cool and nice. She introduced herself and asked our names before trivia started.

Crowd:

  • 40s, families, maybe some 30s. Probably the least likely of the 4 places I went to to meet people my age.

Hibernian

1144 Kildaire Farm Rd

Cary, NC 27511

Phone number (919) 467-9000

Starts at 8pm on Thursdays

Host:

  • Although he didn’t know how to pronounce “archipelago” he knew how to run trivia.
  • It took me a minute to figure out his scoring rules though because he said them very quickly every time and I’d had the fatal first two sips of my miller lite.

Questions:

  • Pretty easy for me and they were general enough for groups to know almost all of them. They did questions one by one, with a song’s worth of time to answer. (I think I remember this being the style of questions for Tobacco Road Sports Bar in Durham)
  • You also bid 1, 3, or 5 points on an answer and you can only use each number once, because one round is three questions.

Venue:

  • The design of the Hibernian was the best part. The lighting and the layout are really classy and cozy. I immediately liked this trivia just for the decor.
  • The only problem was that you couldn’t hear the questions unless you sat in a certain section of the restaurant. I missed potentially talking to another group around my age group because of this.

Crowd:

  • 30s to 40s. Pretty good diverse crowd for a rainy Thursday night. I think there were even some people my age there, so it might be worth a return trip to see if I can jump on a team next time.
  • Didn’t find anyone to team up with but that was mainly because you could only hear in one side of the restaurant.

Natty Greene’s Pub

### UPDATE: ### Natty Greene’s Pub is no more! But the same trivia group and host can be found at Stag’s Head on Glenwood South

Host:

  • Alex, a great host from Geeks Who Drink, a nationwide trivia group.

  • The host did a good job of running things and had some jokes to boot.

Questions:

  • These questions were the perfect level of difficulty. You didn’t have to know answers outright, because sometime there’d be other clues hidden inside the question that could help.
  • Our team was medium-sized compared to many others, but we still ended up in third place, and just three points shy of first place.

Venue:

  • Huge space with lots of room. They have several backup areas to hold trivia if they can’t do it in the usual place, which is what happened in our case. It was still a great spot.
  • The only issue was the noise. But if we focused and listen we could make out the questions pretty well. It was easy to miss one if you didn’t pay attention.

Crowd:

  • Mainly 20 somethings and some 30 somethings. It’s not too close to the NC state campus, so I can’t imagine there were a ton of college students, but there definitely were more here than any other venue.

A few more places I remember

I’ve also been to places in Durham like Fullsteam and Tobacco Road Sports bar. Even though their questions were good, I wouldn’t go back to Fullsteam because it gets waaay to hot and crowded. I would go back to Tobacco Road because they had a lot more room, but hearing has always been a bit of an issue there.

So that’s my trivia night review. As I expected, if I want to see more people around my age, I’ve probably got to travel outside Cary, even though the bars are pretty nice.

This is the first installment of my “Linksheets” series. It’s a simple, yet surprisingly rare resource that will be beneficial in outlining the breadth of a complex topic and supplying newcomers with the definitive information sources for it. My inspiration for Linksheets comes from a post that no longer exists on the web called “My Node.js Linksheet.”

My first foray into this resource is going to be a soft topic: remote work. Specifically, working in remote software development teams.

Definitive Blogs on Working Remotely

On Working Remotely (2010) by the great Jeff Atwood, the founder of StackOverflow and author of the blog “Coding Horror.”

30 Tips for Successful Communication as a Remote Worker (2010) by the phenomenal Scott Hanselman, a star on the developer conference speaking circuit and creator of the Hanselminutes podcast.

How to Work Remotely (2013) by Mark Campbell. I know less about him, but he’s a Ruby enthusiast and he has also written a very good article on remote work. HN discussion

How to Work Remotely and Travel the World (2014) by Jake Jorgovan. The lifestyle of this author is not as easily obtainable as he makes it seem, but it’s an intriguing look at how you could work remotely while living a life of adventure.

Real-World Examples, Case Studies, and Tips

How Atlassian Does It: 3 Tips for Remote Teamwork (2013) A deep look into the lessons learned at Atlassian, a wildly-successful ALM tooling company. Obviously, they use their own tools internally and recommend them, so there’s bias but the advice is solid.

Making Remote Work Work: An Adventure in Time and Space (2014) MongoHQ’s trials and tribulations in remote software development. Learn from their experience and scroll to the end for some practical tips.

Fog Creek’s Ad Hoc Remote Work Policy, or, Working From Grandma’s House (2013) A top-notch example of one tech company’s remote work and vacation policies.

How We Use HipChat to Keep the (Distributed) UserVoice Team in Sync (2012) A really helpful piece that shows you some of the best ways to effectively use chatrooms during remote team collaboration.

Tools (My Picks)

Addendum – Aaron Boodman’s setup description on usethis.com has a few Unix-y tools that are popular in the developer community as well. Usethis.com is a great site btw.

Pair Programming

Pair programming is another big topic on its own, but it’s an especially useful tactic in remote teams. Here is just one fun article that groups various pair programming styles into different personas.

Practical Styles of Pair Programming (2010).

Tools to Convince Your Boss

Remote: Office Not Required (2013) by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson. DHH is the creator of Ruby on Rails and the founder of 37signals.

How Remote Work Changed My Life (2013) by Justin Jackson. An insightful, personal account of how remote work had a hugely positive impact on one developer’s life.

Companies That Embrace Remote Work

Not Yahoo