Metro Weekly


Smart Ass Trivia at Nellie’s continues to stand out among bar trivia nights

Smart Ass Trivia“It’s a great ‘hump day’ activity,” says Andrew Grossman. “Plus I’m friends with so many of the trivia regulars now, it’s become something of a community for me.”

A trivia connoisseur, Grossman is part of the “Erotic Photo Hunters,” one of Smart Ass Trivia’s longest running teams. Played in two hourly back-to-back games starting at 8 p.m. every Wednesday night, Smart Ass Trivia is going 7 years strong, thanks to the dedication of Andy Austin and Josh Housdan, who organize and host the weekly festivities.

Wacky and wild and, quite frankly, not as easy as you’d think, the game started years ago at the now-defunct Titan on 14th Street. If Smart Ass was a moderate draw at Titan’s, it really hit its stride once it moved to Nellie’s. “The first night we were only planning on playing in the dining room,” Austin says. “The place was so packed, we ended up having people playing upstairs as well.”

Austin and Housdan write all of Smart Ass’s questions and categories, often drawing on their roots (Michigan for Austin, Charlottesville for Housdan) their careers (urban planning, art and architecture) and their pop culture predilections (reality TV, college football, indie-pop and dance music). Winning teams — whether consisting of one person or up to eight — get tickets to concerts at the 9:30 Club, local movie premieres and sporting events, or buckets of beer or a discount on a Nellie’s tab for the night. There are also prizes for the group that comes up with the most original, outlandish name.

“I think we have a reputation for being one of the tougher trivia nights in town,” says Austin. “And that just goes back to our crowd of really smart people who challenge us to write good questions. We have to toughen up the questions to keep it challenging enough to keep the regulars in check [so] they don’t run away with it every week.”

Smart Ass Trivia celebrates its 7th Anniversary on Wednesday, Jan. 7. It runs every Wednesday at 8 and 9 p.m., at Nellie’s Sports Bar, 900 U St. NW. Admission is free. Call 202-332-NELL or visit 

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Doug Rule covers the arts, theater, music, food, nightlife and culture as contributing editor for Metro Weekly. Follow him on Twitter @ruleonwriting.

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