This decent boozer benefits from its near monopoly in the local area, which has no other drinking den that could be called a pub. Its large catchment area pulls in a diverse crowd, but the core business goes to twenty-something drinkers not cool enough for the nearby Gallery bar and not desperate enough for Lately’s across the road. The décor is fairly uninspiring, almost Wetherspoonian, but candlelit tables make the most of an otherwise average space.
Name and location of pub:
The Railway (West Hampstead, NW6). As you’d expect, it’s right next to the railway, or at least the Tube. Just turn left out of the station and you can’t miss it. Quiz night is Sunday (8.30). We advise booking a table, as space is limited.
Quality of beer:
A small range of bottled beers and a couple of real ales. Rounds can be rather pricey. Londonist paid over a fiver for a large wine and an orange juice. Ample compensation is given in the form of extremely cheerful Aussie bar staff, and ad hoc table service; a simple but welcoming touch that was much appreciated.
Type of quiz:
General knowledge, plus a spot-the-celebrity photo round. Questions were an admirable mixture of general knowledge, silly pop trivia and fiendish trials of deduction, appealing to all heights of brow. Rather bafflingly, however, they seemed to run out of questions. ‘Which actor narrates Little Britain’ cropped up a couple of times. The best round is called Connections, in which the answers to four questions all have something in common (in this case, Tom Baker, Ken Dodd, William Gladstone and George Stubbs).
Length of quiz:
2 hours, with frequent musical interludes.
Size of teams:
No limit. We had 12. We were much hated.
How hard was it?
Some toughies. It all comes down to the Wipeout round. Get one question wrong here, and you lose all points for that round. Most teams were in the 30-40 out of 60 range.
How did Londonist do?
We won! And with the highest score ever known in The Railway: 58/60. It was all thanks to a risky wipeout gamble involving Nicolas Witchell and Ronald Reagan (and our team size helped).
Most interesting/baffling questions:
Which town in Lincolnshire/Lancashire (tricky to deduce which of these the host was trying to pronounce) has a lawnmower museum?
Name the only five countries with only one syllable in their names.
Which 1960’s British film was written and directed by Ken LOCK and starred David Bradley? Answer: KEYS. (Slight diction problems failed to throw us off the scent.)
And it got even sillier, pronunciation-wise: Which Labour party leader SLEPT on a beach and got his trousers wet? Answer: Neil KINCOCK.
Best team name:
All That Glitters Is Not Gary. Topical. Very topical.
We also got a few laughs (Sweaty Fact Hunt), given added comedy value through antipodean pronunciation.
A gallon of beer for the Champions, redeemable at next week’s quiz. This is where having a team of 12 isn’t such an advantage.
A bottle of champers was also awarded for best team name.
If you know of any premier pub quizes that you think Londonist should visit then please email us at the usual address and let us know.