At the Wednesday night Pub Quiz at Bloomfield's Brillobox, there's one way to resolve a brawl if things get ugly.
"Arm wrestling," says Dave Mansueto, the bearded quizmaster and host of the trivia night since its inception four years ago. "In the event of a tie," he tells the buzzing crowd of trivia enthusiasts, "get ready to fight for it."
But while it may take some brains and some brawn to win, participating is simple and free. With a maximum of seven people per team, patrons find a nook and devise a team name (i.e. "Taco Pie" or "Crabby Patties").
If you have a large group, get there early to grab a comfy booth -- and to peruse Brillobox's killer draft list. I suggest the citrusy Avery IPA from Colorado, or the Mojo Nitro for $6.50: The nitrogen-infused beer keeps a creamy head like Guinness and hits hard with a roughly 7 percent ABV. (And if you're hungry, try the baked macaroni-and-cheese, made with gruyere and three other cheeses.)
Once the event begins, normally sometime after 9 p.m., Mansueto presides over it with a microphone and laptop, leading groups through two rounds of questions ranging in topic from "sporty-heavy" to "nerd-heavy" and "hipster-heavy." The categories are devised by "the brains," Daniel Wollenberg and Corey Tveten, and usually include a "name that tune" and a "video/visual challenge" round. (This week, it was "name that moustache.")
The ambiance alone is worth the trip. On a screen in the back is projected that gothic '70s film classic, The Bloody Pit of Horror. Leafless tree branches, dotted with fake-flower lights, hang over the bar.
On this night, there's no need for tabletop feats of strength to determine a winner: "Moonlight Sex Accident" racks up a convincing victory. (Finishing a lackluster, but appropriate, 12th place: "Fat Kids Are Harder to Kidnap"). Mansueto confesses that he'd have enjoyed a good arm-wrestling bout.
"It makes sense, that dichotomy," he says. "A very brainy thing to do devolves into something animalistic."