Take On the Challenge of Mint’s Trivia Night

Cyd Abnet, Scarlet Staff

Mint, the Vietnamese restaurant located at 77 Maywood Street, hosts a trivia night every Thursday from 8pm to 10pm. Around 7pm, customers start filtering in for a bite to eat before putting their full focus on the trivia task at hand. The menu features a variety of dishes, the most notable of which being their selection of traditional Vietnamese pho and banh mi. Other options include the barbecue pork bao, scallion pancakes, summer rolls, chicken with sticky rice and pan-seared dumplings. For dessert, the matcha tiramisu is not to miss. If you’re over 21, they offer a variety of different alcoholic beverages including sake, seltzer and signature cocktails to enjoy during the trivia game.

After finishing your meal, it’s a good idea to mentally prepare yourself for the challenge ahead. The trivia game is hosted by Bruce, a man who lives and breathes pub trivia. The event consists of five rounds, each with five questions. The questions within the round increase both in difficulty and in point value. At the end of the round, there is a musical bonus question that fits within the round’s theme. Bruce will play a song, and you must write on your sheet the band’s name or the title of the song depending on what the trivia gods dictate.

After hearing the categories for each round, you can select a round that you’d like to count for double points. There is also a half-way round in which you’re given a sheet of paper with fill-in-the-blank questions in order to give those who are struggling an easy point grab. No one is made to feel less than or like they’re not smart enough to play. Obviously, there are those who win the prize of a gift card to Mint and those who do not, but there is no shame in losing. Everyone is just excited to be there as a community.

The final question is a two-part question, and you can wager up to 40 points depending on how confident you are on your answer. If you get both parts of the question right, you get your wager added to your total. If you only get one part correct, your total stays as is. Between each round, Bruce comes around and collects your answer paper and pokes good-natured fun at the customers in order to build camaraderie. Nothing about the night feels like competition, even though there is a gift card at stake. The energy is light, the music is good and the food is even better.

During my first Mint trivia night, which played out much like the one I’ve described above, I made a few fatal mistakes that hindered my gameplay. I am going to share them with you so that you don’t make them as well. The first was not trusting my gut on my double-point round selection. My lovely roommate was very confident about her choice of the ‘Tom or Thomas’ category, but something in my heart told me to choose the ‘8-letter v-words’ round instead. I trusted her, but I should’ve trusted my first instinct. We only got two answers correct, and ended up putting Tom Hiddleston down as the actor for Draco Malfoy. No points to Gryffindor.

My second fatal mistake was in the size of my team. We were only two people, but the other teams were much larger and doing much better than we were because of the sheer mass of knowledge that was available to them. Two people are not going to know as much as five to ten people. Simple math. The people on your team don’t have to be especially knowledgeable or scholarly to be good at trivia. It takes a wide variety of different random facts that nearly anyone might have in order to corner the trivia market.

My final mistake was not getting to know people at the other tables. It seemed like an environment that was excellent in which to meet like-minded trivia people. However, I just sat at my table like a goober and didn’t make eye contact with any of the other cool people there. The culture of New England is to keep to yourself and not talk to anyone you don’t know, but how else are you supposed to make friends except through small talk at a local trivia night? Beats me. Get out there and talk to the people.

Overall, my experience at Mint’s trivia night, while flawed due to my own personal shortcomings, was enough to make me a Thursday night regular. I will be amassing a larger team and making sure to get more social during my time there, but despite losing abysmally, trivia night at Mint was wicked fun and will now be an essential part of my week. Maybe I’ll see you there next time.