By Angelina Bruno
Jerk Daniels, Jacques Yves Cousteau, Brews Solo and Buttons were on the lineup for Tuesday night trivia in the Library. Teams of various sizes found seats at the bar or in booths in the back of the long space, decorated with a facade of bookshelves fitting the name of the establishment. Team members huddled around their controllers trying to figure out how to sign in and waiting for the first questions to pop up on one of multiple television screens installed throughout the bar.
David Wilson, our host for the night, opened the game by stating the rules. No use of smartphones or “dumbphones” – and no shouting out the answer. With the second rule he directed a pointed, “You!” at waitress Hannah Mesches. “That was one time!” she replied.
My team of three, the Punky Brewsters, did not start off well. Like our pun namesake, a 1990s television show, many of the questions were from before our time. We answered the obvious pop-culture fare correctly, but could not catch up to latecomers and first-round champions, the Saggy Plums.
The gaming atmosphere is low-key. The Plums arrived late because they knew they could catch up to newbies like us. Tuesday night, which is bike night at the entertainment complex, was foiled by the forecast for rain, but there was still a good turnout. There were 10 teams at the peak of the night.
The sting of our loss in the first round was lessened by 50-cent wings and glasses of Angry Orchard cider for the ladies and Saranac Wild Pilsner for the gentleman of the team. These selections are on tap, part of the 20 craft brews kept nice and cold by a Perlick refrigeration system. Among other $3 bucket beers, located in an ice-filled bucket on the bar, all Saranac beers are $3 on Tuesdays. The bar has a selection of about 50 beers.
Part of the Maple Entertainment Complex, along with Iris and the Forvm, the Library is conveniently located next to the restaurant and concert venue. The bar also hosts events that correspond with many of the night’s deals. Each time one of my trivia answers was wrong, my teammate informed me that I owed her an increasing number of $1 tacos on Mexican Monday.
On Thursdays during karaoke night, I enjoy $3 Shock Tops and listen to the regulars who are surprisingly good singers. I’m not sure if it’s the Shock Top, but I constantly find myself asking, “Did they put the radio on?”
While the Library has been around for some time, its draw now is its friendly atmosphere. Everyone from the old-timers playing solo trivia and singing Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York” at karaoke night, to college kids playing trivia, transcend their differences to have a good time poking fun at one another and the staff.
For Dave Allen, a University at Buffalo grad student and regular at the bar, the Library is “a place where my group of friends started to hang out and we ended up getting pretty close with the people who work here.”
By the final round of the third trivia game, the Punky Brewsters learned to trust one another and even some very friendly members of other teams. We were able to pull out a victory (with a little help from our new friends in the sports category), and win gift cards for next time. I’ll be back to redeem.
Where: Maple Entertainment Complex, 4224 Maple Road, Amherst
Hours: 5 to 11:30 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday; 11:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday; closed Sunday.
Atmosphere: Welcoming. Wide age range, young and old and all wise-cracking.
Specials and events: Mexican Monday has $1 tacos, $3 Coronas and $5 Mojitos from 8 p.m. to close. Tuesday Trivia at 8 p.m. with Saranac giveaways, $3 Saranacs and 50-cent wings. Wednesday is Open Mic with Jeremy at 8 p.m. with $3 Stella. Thursday Karaoke with Segay starts at 8:30 p.m. with $3 Shocktops and 50-cent wings.