Barfly - SOUTH
We all have that friend who likes to brag about their useless knowledge, like which Madonna single from 2004 topped the charts – in Uganda. Or that buddy who loves to share all the gritty drama of the 1919 World Series. Or that friend who memorizes shampoo labels or that sister obsessed with dinosaur teeth or that neighbor who can recite the title of every Disney movie ever made in chronological order. For those of us who have (or are) friends like this, winning the acceptance of strangers can be a daunting task, but winning free booze can be easy if you put all that unnecessary knowledge to good use by setting your sights on SOUTH. SOUTH Santa Monica Sports Bar and Grill (or "Bar SOUTH" as the locals call it) hosts a Trivia & Fun competition every Wednesday, collecting know-it-alls from throughout the Santa Monica community to battle wits in a spacious venue located (appropriately) between Stanford and Berkeley Street on Wilshire. The categories vary widely, so you'd be smart to bring all of your OCD friends together for this team contest, because, while the conversational cacophony and rambling randomonia might prove nauseating, you could totally kick ass at Jeopardy earn a free round of shots by winning SOUTH's brainy battle royale. Or, if knowing stuff isn't really your thing, you could just go to drink.
Here's some trivia for you: Barfly hates sports bars. As a rule, I'm opposed to purpose-built bars whose built purpose isn't to get me hammered out of my mind, and I'm especially bitter about sports bars because they usually offer the antithesis of great bars: they're over-illuminated, they're overcrowded, and they're overflowing with cliché menus, grumpy servers, and bro-y ignoramuses. Contrarily, what SOUTH offers is room to breathe, the best bar food I've ever had, and an extremely welcoming staff. In short, sports bars always seem like they're trying too hard to give you a frat party vibe, and all SOUTH is trying to give you is a place you can count on for a good time.
That's not to say that SOUTH is any less a sports bar. It still provides the perfect atmosphere for a variety of sporting events if your hormones haven't settled since puberty, and includes countless big screens without the usual lack of elbowroom and beer selection. The location is far enough outside of Santa Monica's downtown to offer ample street parking, but close enough for most SaMo residents to simply walk there – which is great, because you'll want to stay ‘till close. Specializing in bar specials, SOUTH accommodates those of us who couldn't care less about the Playoffs by hosting Bourbon and Bluegrass Tuesdays, Trivia Wednesdays, Karaoke Thursdays, and Beer Pong Saturdays.
I went on a Wednesday, when my vast intellect was called upon in case the subjects for that night's trivia tournament happened to include honey badgers, urban slang, stuff you can put on waffles, or places girls should have hair (answer: eyes and up only, breezy – fo' sheezy). The environment was immediately effervescent as teams struggled for superfluent supremacy, falling silent as the questions were read and bursting into commotion to debate the right answer. Competitive? Absolutely – it is a sports bar after all, and we're talking about a free booze prize here. But the pressure was more "ha-ha" than hostile, and the dozen or so teams that crowded around their party's tables were laughing as much among themselves as they were among rival teams. Running the show was question master (and SOUTH owner) Adam Milstein, who provided the queries, tallied the answers, and kept the tension friendly with comical commentary and by awarding a bucket of beer to the team with the wittiest name (the winner? "I just broke up with my Japanese girlfriend, but it's okay – there's plenty more in the sea").
I probably would have been much more help to my team if I could stop shoveling SOUTH's absolutely divine, absolutely bottomless pulled-pork nachos into my mouth, but I take the designation "bottomless" as a personal challenge (and apparently my useless knowledge is exactly that). Which was fine really, because we all had a great time, learned each other's nerdy preoccupations, and got very very drunk – which, if you're in a bar competition, is the same thing as winning.
This is definitely the best place to spend your Wednesday nights (and to keep your trivia from being just trivial) so whether you're a fan of hoops or a fan of hops, SOUTH will keep you in the game. On the real, yo. Holla.