We blamed the weather, which wasn't that bad but something, and walked inside to get a few beers with the rest of the crowd packed inside Richmond Arms. Turns out, it wasn't the weather.
Happy hour at Richmond Arms, down on the old Richmond Strip at Richmond and Fountain View, runs from 4 to 7 o'clock on weeknights. Light beers, along with Shiner Bock, Rolling Rock and Killian's Red, are $2.50. Pitchers of the same beers are $7.50 and well drinks are $4.50. On Tuesdays, the bar lets you keep the glass if you order the night's featured beer. And the place is usually lively.
Last night, however, Richmond Arms was eerily quiet. Until a woman said something over the loud speaker.
"What hairstyle is popular with Rastafarians?"
Seemed a little random.
A couple minutes later: "What big hairstyle is named after the famous mistress of Louis the XV?"
Suddenly alarmed, we realized we'd found ourselves in the middle of a Quiz Night.
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These nights seem popular enough, but we didn't have a team (or much interest), so we made our way to the other end of the bar where we saw a group that appeared to be hooligans.
Richmond Arms is a popular place to watch a soccer game -- dark but warm-feeling, modeled after a British free house -- so you can usually find a few hooligans hanging around the place. We had missed a rowdy crowd the day before, we were told, for the game between Barcelona and Arsenal. The place probably looked like a Unicef convention.
Last night, however, these men -- late fifties with syrupy British accents, looking like they'd love to hand out a knee to someone's groin -- were simply sitting at the end of the bar drinking a few pints. They weren't too interested in Quiz Night.
We were on our second beer with the group when the woman with the microphone said that the round of questions would be about baseball, in honor of Opening Day for the Astros.
The question: "Which American author wrote A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court?"
One of the hooligans scoffed at the question, and he scoffed again when the man behind him said something about King Arthur.
"No, I'm saying," the man behind him said. "No one knew what a Connecticut Yankee was when King Arthur had a Court."
For whatever reason, things between the two men became tense, and for the first time in the history of Quiz Nights, we thought two men might fist fight.
Then the hooligan spoke: "Right, but what the fuck does that have to do with the Astros?"