Monday nights at the downtown Cornucopia are busy. According to bartender Danny, most people come for the Monday night trivia which started about a year and a half ago.
Located at 207 East 5th Avenue, the downtown Cornucopia is adorned with decorative alcohol bottle lights, dark red walls and candles. It serves typical bar food, from burgers to sandwiches, has a full bar, cocktail list with prices ranging from $6 to $7.50 and of course, beers on tap.
On a Monday night, the only available seats are at the bar, and even those are all taken at some points in the evening. Every table is full, mostly with people playing trivia; couples, groups, and girlfriends alike.
As the questions are read off by Keith, Danny’s roommate, the bar silences to a level where it’s nearly impossible to hear the person sitting next to you. Luckily, at the end of the round, Keith always extends an offer to repeat questions. A nicety that is consistently taken advantage of.
Keith began his trivia hosting at Villard when the current host, a journalism student who had started Villard trivia to do PR, left. These days he only hosts at Cornucopia, and he says he spends about 10 to 20 hours preparing for Monday night.
Each round has its own theme, from music to presidents, and the questions are notoriously hard. At one point Keith asked “What brand of cigarettes does Obama smoke?”and the music round on Monday the 27, 2011 included everything from SOS to Jackson 5 and John Mayer.
While teams, with such names as “diminished Cassidy” think of answers, the rising noise level is matched with party music from Keith’s library. And as he reads off the answers the excitement in the room is marked with “Oooh’s” and “No’s,” clapping and cheering.
The top scorers of each round send a representative to Keith, who devises a new competition for each round. Sometimes it’s chugging a beer; sometimes it’s throwing a paper airplane. The winner gets the honor of spinning the prize wheel, for things like T-shirts and food.
Some people walk into trivia night not knowing what’s going on. One guest June 27, James said “When I first walked in I saw a guy with a mic and thought, ‘Oh sh** it’s karaoke.'”
Though full, the bar only runs on two bartenders. Nonetheless, both take the time to learn names and chat with guests sitting at the bar as others yell “I got onion rings!” and water drips onto the bar from the vent which pushes a constant cold breeze through the room, reminiscent of a late spring evening in Oregon.
Trivia nights at Cornucopia run from 9 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. and coincide with the Monday night special: a burger, fries an a micro-brew for $11.99. Players are welcome to join at any time, though to win the grand prize, a $40 gift certificate, they must be present from the beginning, since the scores are cumulative. Bartender Danny says, “Our trivia night is better than anyone else’s.” (Though other local bars with trivia like Eugene City Brewery might have something else to say about that.)