COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — Some might know Midtown Coffee House in Uptown Columbus for its specialty drinks and sandwiches, but others know it for its trivia nights. When husband and wife Angie and Mike Maldonado opened their coffeeshop in 2014, they had no business background; two years later, they were hosting regular trivia nights.
Originally, when trivia nights were introduced by Mike Maldonado, 52, the format was different than it is now. The owner and former Army serviceman said he played with a variety of formats, including one in which patrons could “phone a friend,” before today’s trivia night took form.
“It kind of morphed into true trivia,” Mike Maldonado said, explaining a series of employees took on the responsibility for trivia nights after him.
Midtown Coffee House’s current trivia master is Phillip “Flip” Gettings, 18, who has been working at the café since September as a kitchen and bar employee. He said his favorite thing about running trivia nights is getting to interact with customers who come in for the event at 7 p.m. on Friday nights.
“It’s cool getting to sort of, like, connect with people over a shared love of a piece of media,” Gettings said.
He and Mike Maldonado explained Midtown’s trivia nights are special because they have specialized themes and are family-friendly, setting them apart from similar general knowledge events at local bars.
Gettings told WRBL a lot of thought goes into his theme-choosing process each month.
He said, “I want to do stuff that’s popular and people would enjoy it, but I also like to do a lot of stuff that I enjoy as well.”
The employee explained he likes to cater to casual and super-fans alike by asking questions in a range of difficulties. He said he often dives into IMDb to find subject matter for his toughest TV and movie questions.
Mike Maldonado added things get especially fun when they choose a topic where different generations can help each other, like “Disney Movies” or “Top Gun,” which have old and new components.
Turnout for trivia night is usually between six and seven teams made up of three to five guests, usually local high school and college students or families, according to Gettings.
Sometimes, he noted, attendance is even higher, such as 14 teams for their “Friends” trivia night on March 17. Gettings mentioned there was also an occasion where so many teams showed up that some guests had to compete from outside the café.
“If you’ve ever been here, it’s just a fun atmosphere, especially when people are getting into it and the competition is fun to see,” said Mike Maldonado, who noted although sometimes things get a little crazy, it is usually a laid-back and casual trivia event.
He said, “That’s what I envisioned, just people hanging out and having community and just getting to know each other.”
Participation in trivia night costs $5 per team, regardless of size, and prizes go to first, second and sometimes third place. Upcoming topics include Star Wars the Clone Wars this Friday, April 21 and Phineas and Ferb on April 28.
Midtown Coffee House is at 1342 13th Street and is open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday and Saturday and 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday. The coffeeshop is closed Sundays.