Nightlife Spotlight: Test yourself at the Purple Pub

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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Are you serious about trivia? Then the Purple Pub is the place for you.

The Pub, at 65 Spring St., a longstanding staple of Williams College and Williamstown since the 1970s, is well known for its Wednesday trivia nights, which, according to Pub Owner Thierry Breard, is the most popular event the pub has, attracting 100 people each week — 80 percent of whom are trivia regulars.

Despite its longstanding connection to the college, students only account for 25 to 30 percent of the pub's customer base when school is in session, according to Breard, which was not what he had in mind when he took ownership of the pub in 2010.

"Williams is not your average college," he said. "I get more college professors, some business owners; it's primarily local."

Prior to the current iteration of the pub, it was owned by Mary Michel until 2007, when it burned down in a fire that destroyed two other businesses at 47 to 53 Spring St. It had a three-year hiatus, in which property owner and Williams College alumni Mark Paresky was looking to re-establish it, and in 2010, it did.

And although Breard continues to retain much of the original Purple Pub regulars, his iteration is much different than the original.

"The atmosphere is very different," Breard said. "That restaurant was about a quarter of the size of mine. We focus more on high-end pub food."

According to Breard, the pub serves 21 draft beers, 17 of which are craft beers. It gets particular attention when the Williamstown Theater Festival is in session, which, unlike other venues, Breard notes he didn't have to adapt his menu to.

"Pub food is expected to be served quickly," he said, speaking of the on-the-go theater crowd. "They know what to expect."

Throughout the years, Breard has tried hosting live music at the pub, to varied success, but it has been his Wednesday night trivia events that have taken the stage.

"It's really fun," Breard said. "People come just to be a part of the atmosphere, and have a good time."

The pub's trivia is tailored for the intellectual crowd in and around Williamstown, but that doesn't mean you have to be a professor to attend. It's hosted by Breard's friend, Brian Flagg, who works for the Pittsfield Suns. As such, Flagg tries to craft challenging questions.

"You might have a question about philosophy that a philosophy professor might get, and the next one could be about hip-hop," Breard said.

If you go

What: The Purple Pub

Where: 65 Spring St., Williamstown, Mass.

Trivia: Wednesdays from 7 to 9 p.m.

Price: No cover charge

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