The pub quiz comes to Argentina
comment 7 Written by on April 6, 2011 – 3:55 pm


If you are English, you take the concept of a pub quiz for granted. For this reason, I didn’t explain in much detail to my Argentine housemate when I took her along to her very first one in Buenos Aires. We were halfway there on the underground before I explained the system of questions and answers, points and score sheets. “You have brought me to an exam?!” she said, a look of horror soon turning to a plea for escape. “On a Sunday night! Why would you do that?”

As I tried to calm her panic and assure her she didn’t need to “revise” beforehand, it occurred to me that a pub quiz is quite a hard concept to push until you’ve tried it. I tried to invite another Argentine friend a week ago and from the look she gave me I may as well have had a big ‘L’ based on my forehead. “But it’s fun!” I insisted. “It’s general knowledge!” Her expression didn’t change.

Let’s face it, pub quizzes are a bit geeky, but for all the brain cells the average Brit loses in their local pub over the year, there needs to be at least one method of retaining the remainder.

That said, all the Argentines that I have convinced to take the plunge have become the most enthusiastic players of the night. Afterwards, they have been the ones begging for the next date to be set.

I have been to a few one-off pub quizzes in Buenos Aires over the past few years, but now an English chap called Jonathan – whose day job is running free BA tours via Buenos Aires Local Tours – has started a monthly one at Bar La Cigale. It’s done in the English tradition but with questions geared to an international audience of locals, travellers and expats. There’s a good few questions linked to South America and, specifically, Buenos Aires too. The next one is on Monday April 11. Check out the new site for further details and dates.

It’s bilingual (on demand), and as teams are assigned on the night, at the last minute, you can come alone and always find people to play with. And remember: no one knows all the answers, it’s about teamwork and working to each others strengths. There is plenty of guesswork too.

If you’re Argentine and you’re still unsure as to what a pub quiz actually is, you can find a explanation here. But basically it involves a bunch of people in a pub, spending the night drinking and getting over-excited/over-competitive over a bunch of questions like these:

  • Who was the youngest Beatle?
  • Which sport has the largest playing field in area?
  • What colour is Homer Simpson’s car?
  • On which day of the week did Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbour take place?
  • The colours of which national flag were taken for the colours of Buenos Aires team Boca Juniors?
  • In which Colombian city did Tango God Carlos Gardel die in a plane crash in 1935?
  • How old was Kurt Cobain when he died?
  • “It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.” Is the first line of which novel?
  • In which computer game did the Italian Plumber Mario first appear?
  • In the TV show Friends, what is Joey’s last name?
  • In which country is the most northerly point of the South American mainland?
  • In Internet speak what do the letters URL stand for? [Note: No one knew this one so we are clearly not that geeky]

Photo: Flickr Creative Commons by Naveen Roy

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7 Responses to “The pub quiz comes to Argentina”

  1. I will eventually beat your team Vicky. I’m one of those argentineans who are now really hooked on Pub Quizzes. C ya on the next one!

  2. Hahaha. I love that you’re a convert too! See you there on Monday!

  3. I’ve thought quite a lot about the appeal of the pub quiz. How can a night in the pub interrupted by general knowledge questions be more enjoyable than, well, just a night in the pub.

    Let me just speak for myself. I’m not a *naturally* gregarious person. The prospect of socialising always fills me with a certain degree of fear, particularly if I know they’ll be strangers present. I mitigate this in the time-honoured British way: by drinking far too much far too quickly, and flaming out before midnight.

    What always unnerves me most is the idea of (say) four straight hours of uninterrupted conversation. What if I have nothing interesting to say? What if other people have nothing to interest me? What if I end up sitting there thinking I’d rather be at home watching re-runs of Mad Men?

    This is one of the reasons why I, and people like me, enjoy pub quizzes and things like pub quizzes. It brings some structure to the evening, which is no longer a blank canvas that must be filled. Sure, I still get to talk to my friends and drink and laugh and all that. But I don’t have to focus on doing that *all* the time, because every so often everyone hushes and listens to the next question, then haggles over the answer and so on. Then we chat some more, then we get more questions.

    There are many other reasons why the format works, but I think that this is one of the most interesting which I why I raised it.

    By MattyC on Apr 6, 2011 | Reply
  4. VIcky is right – it’s great to be able to introduce as many people as possible to the concept of a pub quiz. The first time can be a little daunting as it may be unclear what to expect, but once bitten…

    Next week will be the 5th quiz in La Cigale and it’s great to see a crowd of regulars returning, but we’re always looking for new converts too.

    And what Vicky somewhat coyly fails to mention is that she is actually the unofficial reigning champion and is yet to be in a team that did not win! Can somebody come along and take her crown?

  5. Cheers Matt. I never thought of it like this, but you’re dead right. That’s why there is always such ‘buena onda’ when people stay on for drinks afterwards. It all flows very nicely (the booze and the easy conversation). Can you make it tonight?

  6. I wish I could make it tonight, but sadly it’s not going to work out. But I’m making it a top priority for next month.

    By MattyC on Apr 11, 2011 | Reply
  7. Team Herald is gagging to take on whichever team Vicky Panadero is on, but sadly we work Monday nights…

    By SorrelMW on Apr 11, 2011 | Reply

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