New Deck Tavern is an Irish pub and restaurant located at 3408 Sansom St., Philadelphia, PA, 19104. New Deck opened in 1986 and seven years later, they implemented a new game called Quizo. Quizo, a general knowledge trivia game, was brought to Philadelphia from Ireland by Pat Hines and Sean McLaughlin and soon after to New Deck. For the past 30 years, Quizo has been running every Wednesday night at 8 p.m., excluding the COVID-19 lockdown. On Quizo nights, the restaurant doesn't allow reservations because of the high demand of people. Instead, they let customers play from anywhere in the restaurant. During the school year, when they are busiest, they can have more than 20 teams. On New Deck Quizo nights players can be in teams of up to eight people, where they compete to earn the most points they can in four rounds with 10 questions each. At the end of each round, teams bring their sheets up to be scored by Dennis McGlynn, the quizmaster. At the end of the fourth round, the team with the most cumulative points gets a $50 New Deck gift card and second place gets a $25 gift card.
New Deck’s welcoming staff and enjoyable environment is what makes the restaurant so appealing for people. Tiko Mkheidze and Mia Shelton, two members of the well-known Patty’s Baddiez Quizo team, love the environment of the restaurant. Tiko and Mia, who met through Quizo, are now very close friends who have become one of the top-winning Quizo teams. Tiko said one of her favorite memories at New Deck was when “[our] whole team wore matching shirts that we designed, with our team's name on it (Patty's Baddiez). We also gave one to Pat, the bartender and namesake of our team.” Mia echoed this and said her favorite memories were “[seeing] the look on Pat’s face when we surprised him by all wearing the t-shirts [and celebrating] my birthday [on Quizo night when] we all came for trivia and Pat made me a delicious birthday drink!” These two graduate students at the University of Pennsylvania give an example of how New Deck and Quizo bring people together.
“I have a deep appreciation for New Deck Quizo, not solely for the game itself, but for the vibrant community and rich culture that surround it. It's the opportunity to connect with individuals from diverse backgrounds, uniting to tackle questions that span a wide spectrum, be it sports, history, or any other topic, that truly resonates with me,” Tiko said.
Not only does New Deck offer a night full of fun while playing Quizo, they offer the ability to forge new friendships and to join a nice and rich community.
Quizo is a part of what makes New Deck the place it is. Dennis, the host, has been hosting Quizo at New Deck for the past two years. He’s also friends with Pat, who still creates the Quizo questions for New Deck every week from Ireland, where he currently lives. To prepare for hosting Quizo, Dennis reviews the questions beforehand. Sometimes the phrasing may be off or leave room for interpretation which some players try to take advantage of. When asked about an interesting Quizo night story, Dennis shared a story of when one of the questions had a missed second answer.
“I asked a question about which head football coach led Alabama to six national championships, thinking the only answer was Bear Bryant. I forgot about Nick Saban, but all of the players didn’t. It felt like the entire bar was revolting against me and yelling me down. I discovered the mistake and adjusted scores. It was a crazy moment, but it really showed me how passionate everyone is about the game.”
Many people that go to New Deck Quizo nights are returning players who are very passionate and competitive about winning. Despite how competitive the environment can get, everyone who's there goes to have a fun time and that’s reflected in the atmosphere. When my team went to New Deck for our first Quizo night, we experienced this fun and energetic community. The restaurant was filled with laughter and groups of people all enjoying the same thing, playing Quizo. I noticed the connection Dennis had with many of the players that night and asked him what his favorite part about playing Quizo. For him, it’s “the students that make it all worthwhile.” He said he “loves everyone at New Deck and all of the players.”
The majority of recurring Quizo players are students. For many of them, Dennis knows them throughout their whole time in school. They build such a bond through this game that many of them say their last goodbyes to him before it’s their last Quizo game — some of them even want a picture with him. For Dennis, “even if it’s an hour or two a week, it’s nice to think I’ve been a part of their college experience.”
New Deck has a wide selection of food and drinks available for purchase. When I went, I had an amazing chicken sandwich and shared cheese fries with my team. Everyone I went with enjoyed their meals, especially the fries we shared. Some great promotions they offer on Quizo nights are Strongbow cider for $5.50, Miller Lite pitchers for $14, and awesome cheese fries for $8. They also offer happy hours from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday. A night at New Deck is filled with fun games and an amazing dinner, all in one place.