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Pub Quizzes

CAMRA works tirelessly to preserve and protect pubs, one of our most cherished national institutions, for all future generations.

Our latest campaign aims to highlight the amazing work that pubs do to foster community spirit and encourage social interaction – and so here we celebrate a very popular pub activity – the pub quiz!

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To celebrate the ongoing staying power and importance of the pub quiz in your community, we’ve pulled together a few interesting facts, and encourage you to get on down to your local and enjoy a pub quiz or two this year!

Did you know that the first pub quizzes are thought to have originated in northern counties of England, when local quiz fans organised informal quiz nights at their local pubs?

These were likely influenced by the array of quiz shows that aired on radio and then TV from the 1940s onwards.

Pub quizzes as we know them today, are thought to have come into being in the 1970s.

This was as a consequence of Burns and Potter – a company that produced quizzes, as part of a marketing strategy for pubs, to encourage more customers into pubs on quieter nights of the week. Today pub quizzes and pub quiz leagues are in existence all over the world!

The World’s Biggest Pub Quiz is organized annually by Pub Aid.

In 2020, it will be held from 8-12 March, and over 1300 pubs have already registered to take part and raise money for charity. Find out more here.

Pub quiz team names have also become a competitive sport – in wordplay – some popular beer-related handles include The Three-Must-Get-Beers, Know it Ales, Smarty Pints, Beer Today, Gone Tomorrow, Quizzic-ale and Blood, Sweat and Beers!

Do you have a favourite beery pub quiz name?

Pub quizzes have appeared in many a TV show too – who spotted these ones?

Minder – In an episode from 1993, called ‘I’ll Never Forget Whats’ername’. Arthur Daley chooses Marty ‘Brains’ Goldblum, a man with an encyclopedic general knowledge, to captain the home team, when The Winchester pub takes on a rival pub on quiz night. Needless-to-say things don’t quite go to plan!

Gavin & Stacey – In the second episode of the first series from 2007, there was a pub quiz that Gavin and Stacey attended with a rather inebriated Smithy as the compere. Oh dear! Actually, you can now put such Gavin & Stacey knowledge to the test, as there are lots of Gavin & Stacey Pub Quiz nights occurring all around the country. That’s lush!

And last year, real-life pub quiz teams were pitted against each other in Al Murray’s Great British Pub Quiz.

Did you play the pub quiz machine? A regular fixture in your local pub from the late 1980s, pub machines still exist, but the lure of bigger lottery jackpots, as well as the growth of smartphones and food-led pubs, has seen them disappear…

Many were based on popular TV quiz shows such as Blockbusters and Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?

Over the years, there have been many great real ale pubs with quiz nights listed in CAMRA’s Good Beer Guides.

Did you know there are only five pubs that have been listed in all 47 editions of the Good Beer Guide – a fact that may come in handy at a future quiz night! And two of the famous five have a weekly quiz night:

The other three are:

  • Queen’s Head, Newton, Cambridgeshire
  • Square & Compass, Worth Matravers, Dorset
  • Star Tavern, Belgravia, London

One of London’s toughest and longest-running pub quizzes, at The Cock & Bottle in London’s Notting Hill, was given the impressive description of ‘devious’ in the Good Beer Guide one year!

This year’s Guide mentions quiz nights at 774 real ale pubs across the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland.

Many pubs have celebrity owners or celebrity regulars, but Ma Egerton’s pub in Liverpool has a celebrity quiz master! Its Monday night pub quiz is regularly compered by the actress Tina Malone.

Ma Egerton’s also gives card-carrying  CAMRA members a discount on real ale!

Finally, for all pub quiz lovers – if you are ever asked: What is Zymocenosilicaphobia? 

The answer is, of course, the fear of an empty beer glass!

For more great beer information, or to help devise your own killer pub quiz questions, why not check out CAMRA’s Beer Knowledge book, available from the CAMRA Shop for just £5.

To find real ale pubs with quiz nights in your area, check your branch website/contacts. 
Here are a few examples from: 
Cheltenham branch 
North Sussex branch 
Lincoln branch 
Mansfield branch 

There are also websites that list pub quiz locations such as PubQuizzers and PubQuizzy (Scotland only).

Finally, here are a few pubs with quizzes and good ale recommended recently by our members: 

Glue Pot, 5 Emlyn Square Swindon SN1 5BP: very busy on a Wednesday night, and always has a question relating to Tanks (the Landlord’s Regiment).

Plough, 12 High Street, Shepreth SG8 6GP: a very good quiz and currently county Cider Pub of the Year.

The Eagle, 144 West Street, Boston PE21 8RE: a Friday quiz, allegedly the hardest in town! This pub (Castle Rock) also accepts CAMRA Real Ale Vouchers.

The Latchmere, 503 Battersea Park Road, Battersea, London SW11 3BW: excellent quiz night on Mondays, and has an award-winning theatre upstairs!

The Prospect Hotel, Douglas, Isle of Man IM1 1ET: dating back to 1857, this pub has a popular Wednesday quiz night.

Happy pub quizzing!


Combatting loneliness

Pubs play a vital role in tackling loneliness and social isolation and are one of the last few places left, where people can come together to socialise outside the home.

Our latest campaign aims to highlight the amazing work that pubs do to foster community spirit and encourage social interaction all year, including the Christmas period.

Don’t Miss

CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide 2020

The Good Beer Guide is a “must-have” for beer lovers. Fully updated, with listings for 4,500 pubs across the UK, all entries have been selected by CAMRA members. The only book with detailed information on the UK’s 1,800 breweries, the guide features a foreword by Brian Cox and contributions by Emma Inch, Jodie Kidd and Roger Protz.

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