Pub quizzes can be a popular draw on quieter nights. We visited the Abel Heywood in Manchester to find out how its themed quizzes have helped put the pub on the map.

 Q1. Who was Abel Heywood?


Pub-goers in Manchester may be most familiar with the name as that of the new boutique pub and hotel that has been attracting hundreds of people to its themed pub quizzes.

The orignial Abel Heywood was dedicated to producing affordable newspapers and carrying out public works in the 1860s and 70s. But unless the next quiz they run is on the subject of "radical publishers and mayors", the name will remain better known as this Hyde's pub in the city's Northern Quarter.

Deputy manager Olivia Allen runs the pub with her brother Alex and the fortnightly quiz with her "Quizzly Bears" partner Katherine Molyneux. The quiz has proved so successful it has run at other pubs in the estate.

Q2. What makes this quiz different?

Well, they are all themed, for a start. The team launched with one about American sitcom Friends, which proved to be almost as popular as a Rachel haircut was in the mid-1990s. "It ended up being a complete sell-out and we did it over the pub's two floors," says Olivia. "We got 135 people coming to that and then the next one was Harry Potter."

Others have followed, including Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Alan Partridge, and Back to the Future.

Rounds are a mixture of straight questions on the topic, picture rounds and the slightly more obscure. The Partridge quiz included a "smell my cheese" round, where quizzers were blindfolded and had to guess the cheese on their plates, in reference to one of the show's famous lines.
Customers are encouraged to make suggestions for future quiz themes.

Q3. What can you win?

 


As you would expect of a quiz that puts the emphasis on fun, the prizes are in keeping with the rest of the event.
Olivia explains: "There are first and second prizes, usually a little bit of alcohol and something themed to the quiz. For our Manchester quiz we had a Manchester Cluedo edition.

"We do spot prizes such as best tweet, so we get people to tweet us throughout using the hashtag #AbelsQuiz. We also do best team name and booby prize for last place, though nobody normally claims that one."

This also means that entry is inexpensive, with teams paying £2 per person or £10 for a team with a maximum of six people. All proceeds go to charity.

Q4. Does the encouragement of using phones for social media not lead to cheating?

Olivia says this is combatted by running through questions fairly swiftly and taking in answer sheets to mark after the first couple of rounds. This speeds up marking and provides a time slot for customers to engage in social media activity.

"We have been getting more tweets with that window and people don't get their phones out during the quiz," says Olivia.

Q5. What's in it for the pub?
"The quizzes are usually on Wednesdays and without the quiz, depending on how big it is, the difference tends to be around £2,000 to £2,500. We notice a massive increase in food sales. Our chef Jamie has been theming the menus to the quiz. Recently 60 per cent of people ate before a quiz," says Olivia.

As well as the increase in turnover the quizzes create noise on social media and encourage both repeat and new customers through the doors.

Q6. What next?
The quiz has developed a corporate string to its bow with local companies booking their own quizzes at the pub.

Olivia says: "It's a great space for a quiz, whether they want us to do it or they want to do it themselves. They book the space and we take on food and drink."