Best of Tacoma 2019: Rev. Colin at Broken Spoke

Writer's Pick: Best Trivia Night

By Rev. Adam McKinney on July 25, 2019

When it comes to novel, communal activities to engage in at a bar, karaoke sure gets a disproportionate amount of attention; while it's true that karaoke's a grand old time, these days I'd happily pass over a night of karaoke in favor of some lively bar trivia. Spawned in the UK, bar trivia (more commonly known as pub quizzes across the pond) ingeniously combined two uncomplementary activities: getting boozed up and trying to remember things.

Thanks to nationally syndicated bar trivia brands like Geeks Who Drink, it's not that difficult to find a spot around town to get tipsy and answer some questions. But games like Geeks Who Drink, while fun, lack the human touch of a trivia host coming up with their own gauntlet of questions with which to test an inebriated crowd. For my money, Tacoma's best trivia host -- in charge of the best trivia night -- is Rev. Colin. Long a mainstay of the Tacoma night scene, having also hosted karaoke for many years, Rev. Colin brings an eclecticism and life to his questions, going above and beyond with clever themes for categories.

In conversation, Rev. Colin talks about the differences between independent trivia nights and syndicated ones.

"I have been to Geeks Who Drink a number of times," says Rev. Colin. "There was a group of us that went for over a year. And, overall, I like what they do, but because they're a nation-wide deal, I'm not as prone to cut them as much slack when they get something wrong, or phrase something poorly. I don't know how many people they have as writers, but on top of that they have fact-checkers, and I think there might even be another step above that before it goes out.

"One of the first times I went, they had a question about which vegetable was the main ingredient in tzatziki sauce," continued Rev. Colin. "The question had already gone out to everybody before they realized, ‘Wait, cucumber is a fruit.' So, instead of changing it, they left it as ‘which vegetable,' and made the answer garlic. Instead of changing the question they were asking, they changed the answer."

For Rev. Colin, a guy who writes his questions long-form in a spiral notebook, the challenge of coming up with interesting categories is part of the fun. Sometimes, the themes he lands on doesn't quite work out, as was the case with one category that he called "Karaoke Aboard the Titanic," in which he gargled a tune and asked teams to guess the song. Per Rev. Colin, regulars gave him flack for that round for about a year.

"I did one round that was haiku opera synopses," says Rev. Colin. "I just had the idea, and I thought, ‘Why not?' And the funny thing was that I had one team almost get a perfect score on that. I didn't realize that one of the players had, like, a doctorate in music. The team wasn't quite in last place, but they were close, and that round ended up giving them the win!"

These days, Rev. Colin is hosting trivia every other Wednesday at Broken Spoke, starting at 7 p.m. In March, the folks at Broken Spoke started keeping track of team scores for every quarter, awarding plaudits on whichever team comes out on top in that three-month period. Get a couple friends together, enjoy some great beer, and hope that Rev. Colin doesn't pull a fast one by trying to belch the titles of ‘70s movies.

BROKEN SPOKE, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., Monday-Saturday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sunday; 1014 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Tacoma, 253.212.2630,