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Best of the CRANDIC Spotlight: Andrew’s Bar Exam

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A team competes in Andrews Bar Exam trivia in pre-pandemic times. — courtesy of Andrew Juhl

In 2014, Andrew Juhl attended a bar trivia event at Old Capitol Brew Works. The organizer was planning to step down after the next event, so Juhl offered to take over, and Andrew’s Bar Exam was born. Over the next six years, it grew to weekly shows at 21 venues and monthly shows at another 13, with 14 active hosts and scorekeepers. That included Big Grove Brewery, winner of the 2020 Best Trivia Night category.

Of course, that was all pre-pandemic. This year, Juhl has taken the game online. Andrew’s Bar Exam does public events and private parties, as well as charity events—19 as of November, bringing in over $130K for partner organizations (all told, in the six years since its inception, Andrew’s Bar Exam has raised over $500K in more than 100 charity events).

Juhl answered a few questions for Little Village via email.

Why bar trivia? What sucked you into this scene?

I just kind of fell into it. At first it was just a little bit of fun, a few free drinks, and some extra cash in my pocket. When I realized I was pretty good at writing and running the shows, it turned into a side hustle.

What’s the most rewarding thing for you about running trivia?

When people have a legitimate great time, laughing hard and having fun. The charity aspect makes me feel like I’m doing something positive with the skills I have. And I’ve also made some of the best friends I’ve ever had doing these shows.

Andrew Juhl discusses schedules and scorekeeping with his fellow hosts during the COVID-19 pandemic. — courtesy of Andrew Juhl

How have you pivoted in COVID-times?

We went online on April 1 after three closed test shows with regular teams to work out kinks and get feedback on best practices. We’ve now done about 170 online shows, including closed events (corporate parties, team-building, etc.).

What’s your favorite kind of quiz to write?

I like movie trivia and honestly probably have too much of it in my games. But it comes to me easily, and I don’t have to factcheck myself as often. I also like music trivia/Name That Tune.

What subject stumps you?

Sporps. Other than Hawkeye football, I don’t watch it. I don’t retain names. I don’t understand the draw. I don’t understand why people care. It’s just not my thing. I respect that it’s a lot of people’s thing, but it befuddles me. As a consequence, when I write sporps questions, they’re almost entirely too easy or impossibly hard — nothing in between.

This article was originally published in Little Village issue 289.

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