We Give Our Verdict on Some of Notts’ Most Popular Pub Quizzes

Words: Rose Mason
Wednesday 29 March 2023
reading time: min, words

Rose Mason, in her quest to become Nottingham's leading Pub Quiz Correspondent, took a trip out to some of our favourite watering holes to see what was on offer...


A pub quiz is the perfect evening activity. Cosy with your good friends, having your Hollywood low moments and your comeback eras from question-to-question. Frustratingly deliberating the name of a song you KNOW you know. Some crisps in open packets shared across the table, a nice local pint, a pineapple juice, a cuppa?! Anything goes, and while some quizzes may be better than others, any of them will make a great evening out in Notts.

I’ve decided to embark on a quest to establish myself as Nottingham's unofficial pub quiz reviewer by trying every pub quiz around and bringing the ultimate list to you LeftLion readers. Here, we have its first edition. It’s not by any means definitive - even a little heavily-focused on south Notts - but hopefully will help you to discover something new, and manage expectations for those which don’t quite cut the mustard.

A quick shout out to two of my wonderful friends - and loyal LeftLion readers - Kiki and Josh, who have been excellent quiz buddies. Also, a disclaimer: I’ve only visited each quiz once so it’s hard to make a proper judgement, but here are the stories regardless!


Trent Navigation, City Centre

When: Sundays and Thursdays, 7pm
Entry: Free
Team name: Georgie’s Angels, 3 members
Finish position: Second-last with a score of 19, winners got 40
Rating: 6/10
USP: Tenable round

This quiz was hard, but with a very nice quizmaster. The questions were pretty complex: for example, in one question, we were supposed to guess the name of a TV show from one of the lesser-known actors' mums. Confusingly, their music intros round was easy, because they played almost the whole song, title lyrics and all. 

The quiz was pretty slow-paced - it took a while even though there weren’t that many questions - but it was a good crowd and good atmosphere with some chattiness flying around. The quizmaster was nice, funny AND friendly - which always makes the quiz nights more fun.

Trent Nav’s tenable round was a creative twist, where the top ten of a category was listed, with three or four blanks to fill in. One of ours was Mr Men listed in alphabetical order - a good challenge to root around those childhood archives.

They also had a surprise interim of sticky 13s, a game I had never encountered before this quiz journey. If you aren’t familiar, it's a version of bingo with a deck of cards. Other notes: good chips, very salty hearty portion, but the mayo definitely wasn’t Hellman's.

Trent Nav is a cool pub, enticing lots of chat about watching the football on their big screen or coming back in the summer to sit outside. They have two quizzes a week and occasionally some special themed quiz nights including music and sports focuses. Also an important note, there aren’t that many quizzes on a Thursday, so this could always be a good option. 

The Willow Tree, West Bridgford

When: Wednesdays
Entry: £1
Team name: Quizzie Rascals, 3 members
Finish position: We got 15, winners got 28
Rating: 5/10
Tiebreak question: When were Japanese coins first minted? (hint - it's not 1640)

The Willow Tree quiz is a ‘bingo quiz’ which, I was assured, meant that even though we might not get many questions right, we may still have a good chance when it turns into bingo. The bingo format was unique and fun, but the questions were pretty difficult, so it didn't make it much easier when we couldn’t check off many answers…

The pub was pretty big and we chose to sit in an area slightly away from the other quiz teams, because usually the rugby girls sit there, but this week it was just rugby girl singular (Kiki) and me. Without quite the same volume, we were a bit forgotten about and missed the chance to enter the half-time raffle. By the end, the quizmaster did come over, but gave us very little help guiding our terrible answers in the right direction, or hints on the tie break question. Obviously it’s not the best etiquette to help out your quiz teams - but when they’re struggling this much… a little pity point? 

Good news, though: this quiz had prizes of money, biscuits and wine for first, second and third place. It’s a good option for this area and for anyone doing sport at the rugby ground on a Wednesday. I would go back to this one with a bigger group, hopefully get more questions right, and have more fun with the bingo.

The Lion, Basford

When: Wednesdays, 8pm
Entry: £1
Team name: Cost of Quizzing Crisis
Finish position: 42 points, winners got 59
Rating: 8/10
Jepic question: Which two countries in the world begin with A, but do not end in A?

Everyone's favourite pub quiz in everyone's favourite pub, The Lion Wednesday quiz is the only on this list I had heard rave reviews about before going. But high expectations can be dangerous.

Luckily, we loved the quiz. It had a fantastic atmosphere; it was really busy with lots of teams, who were friendly when marking each other's sheets. The quizmaster encouraged funny team names, and with it being the week of I’m a Celeb, these names focused a lot on Matt Handcock in the jungle. ‘Eating ass not talking bollocks’ and ‘I don’t mind eating arseholes I’ve been eating BoJo's for years’ were my personal favourites. 

The picture round was logos, which was very doable and a nice early ego boost. There was a geography round (great theme), a good mix of questions, not too hard but still challenging, and we felt much closer to winning than with the previous quizzes. Their USP was the purple round - all the questions were on a purple theme, like what is a quartz stone used for jewellery, and what is Prince's sixth album name.

Good pub points: the staff were lovely, the quizmaster was helpful, the pub had good food and lots of beer options. Slightly less good points: the music round wasn’t music intros, which wasn’t as fun as other quizzes, and the table was a bit sticky - but this is ‘the sign of a good pub’, according to Kiki. Aside from this, we couldn’t fault it and would definitely come back.

Building Trades Social Club, Sneinton

When: Friday evenings and potentially other evenings
Entry: £5 for an annual membership
Team name: X marks the spot
Finish position: 14 out of (maybe) 25
Rating: 7/10

Every quiz on this list was planned, except for this. I have recently moved to Sneinton, very close to the local working men's club. On a Friday night walking home, I noticed the lights were on. After a little exercise in courage-building, I buzzed the door. A few seconds of delay, enough time to think this is silly and begin to turn back, the latch clicked open. I followed the stairs to another set of doors. Opening these, I found myself in a large room full of strangers, all turned to look at me, with one saying “you’re new”.

This hesitant and nervy moment led to a great evening. Everyone was kind, welcoming and it just so happened they were mid-quiz. I sat down with a team whose name was currently X (which was later jazzed up to X marked the spot) and were stuck on a question on a large European river. I confidently said it was the Danube and was instantly handed the pen and nicknamed ‘Brains’. To my embarrassment, later on we found out the answer was actually the Rhine. 

The night continued with cheap Carlings, sticky 13s and a queue for a very nice pool table playing ex-snooker players with their own cues. Queuing to no avail, no one wanted to give Brains a go on the table and with no cash on me for more scampi fries, I headed home.

The quizmaster was nice, and allowed you to ask for repeats, though he did spoil one question by accidentally reading the answer out. It was a short quiz as there were plenty of other things going on in the evening. The questions were doable and I’m so glad I went.

The members told me how the club is for everyone, with activities like quizzes and bingo all through the week. They explained how they want to boost the club's membership and we shared some ideas about engaging more people. It felt nice to get to know a bit about the Building Trades Social Club, reminding me again how welcoming the communities of Notts can be.

The Ruddy Good Pub Quiz, Ruddington Arms

When: Tuesdays, 8pm
Entry: £1 with free roast potatoes as a half time snack
Team name: Mamma Mia Here We Quiz Again
Finish position: 41 points out of 50, winners got 44! 5 team members
Rating: 6/10
Quote: “We were robbed”

This pub quiz… where to begin. It was hectic. The whole pub is a bit mad, with various tables selling sweets, bath bombs and other knick-knacks. The quizmaster was intense, heavily cracking down on cheating and time-wasting. At times, we felt like we were school kids being told off. However, it had its advantages. One thing I particularly liked in her authoritarian quiz-hosting approach was the threat of removing ten penalty points for phone use or Googling. An effective solution to a very unspirited pub quiz habit. 

Towards the end, marking one of the last rounds, out of nowhere, bonus points were introduced for the team that shouted out the answer. Problem was, the bonus points only went to the team who remembered the question, who the quizmaster was standing near, or whoever shouted the loudest, so this impromptu idea turned the place into mayhem and really threw the scores up in the air - but nevertheless, I appreciate the creativity. 

To the quizmaster's credit, she was running the entire pub alongside hosting the quiz with a dodgy mic. Plus, she said after that she was very proud as this is the best people have ever done at the quiz, so we got our validation in the end. 

This quiz was the easiest we had done so far, which was a good morale boost. The questions were interesting and varied. We were pre-warned that the music intros round would be themed on musicals (hence our team name), and this was very fun. 

The minute the quiz was over, everyone left the pub. Not always a great sign, but it was a Tuesday - and a very energetic one at that. Overall, it was pretty fun and the hectic nature of all the confused teams yelling out for bonus points made it an even more memorable one.

Favourite of this season: The Lion. A great quiz with fun questions, a good atmosphere in a fantastic pub.

In this first venture into the pub quizzes of Nottingham, we’ve learned a few things about getting the most out of your quiz night:

  • If a picture round is given at the start, which they often are, it’s a great warm up to the quiz and gives you an idea of what you’re in for difficulty-wise.
  • The pub quiz is the perfect setting to invite and hang out with acquaintances or new friends. If your friends live in Basford or Ruddington and you’re heading out there for the quiz, invite them along.
  • Try and get a good spread of knowledge in your team with different specialities. Pub quizzes in Nottingham always seem to have a music round, so make sure you’ve got someone who knows their music.
  • Have a gander over the news before going and try to remember some details from the top stories.
  • Six members is usually the cap, but it's also the perfect number for a quiz team. Everyone can contribute but no one is shouting over each other. Maximum knowledge, minimum clashing.
  • Think of a good name (it’s something we’ve not quite figured out yet).
  • Lastly, don’t cheat - even if the answers are on the tip of your tongue. It's bad etiquette and bad vibes.

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