• Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

robert brown

Noisy Restaurants

85 posts in this topic

Exactly right.

Many restaurants seem to encourage this by setting the "background" music at too high a level which forces conversation to be loud.

I'm just saying it probably is a legitimately large market they are catering to and not just the product of marketing imagination. We're not necessarily the people those places are after in the first place. The people those places appeal to are there to see/hear and be seen/heard and wouldn't want it any other way.


It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For people who dislike noisy restaurants, I don't know how you survive at clubs. The quietest clubs are still louder than the noisiest restaurants. I'm not a fan of noise but it also doesn't bother me all that much.


PS: I am a guy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Shalmanese...It's very simple! We don't go to clubs!! heehee.

I haven't been to a club since I was stuck working in one 10 years ago. And I don't miss the noise- or anything really for that matter.

I think intentional noise is ridiculous. I don't expect a church or a pulic library either. I think there must be a happy medium! I guess I'm just not that guy's target demographic!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wonder if the anti-noise demographic largely represented here consists of, shall we say, seasoned diners.

Full disclosure: I was born in 1963.


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I generally agree with not having a restaurant designed for noise, but as the WSJ article points out, sometimes "too noisy" is an unwanted byproduct of the design aesthetic that some owners then try to overcome using various techniques. As I mentioned, I am a regular at one such open plan restaurant in my town, website with the sound is here. When it opened, some complained of the noise and acoustic tiling was reportedly applied to the ceiling, but to me it has not changed much. That said, going there often enough for its other fine points seems to have outweighed the noise factor. By the way Chris, I was born in 1960, and haven't been to a club since college! I would be interested in any chef or owners' opinions, especially those that opened up in a space that they liked aesthetically, but had noise issues.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nosiest restaurant I have ever been in is the N9NE steakhouse at the Palms Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. It's crazy loud. Think of a night club that serves steaks. But that's the crowd The Palms wants. The younger crowd that likes the nightlife/club scene. How were the steaks? They were really good. So, if you like nightclubs and loud music and a party scene and want a steak to go with it, go to N9NE.


Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"
jmeeker@eGullet.org

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Birthday-1955. But amazingly I still end up in a club occasionally. And they are too damn loud! But I thought this 30 years ago too, though I didn't object as much as I do now. Noisiest restaurant... Palm in Manhattan... Jet-engine-loud the night I was there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To my mind if I want some place that is exceptionally noisy I'll go to a bar/wing/rib type of place.

Depending on the restaurant some background noise is OK, but outside of a bar type place i want to hear myself think.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In my clubbing days I hated the sore throat I woke up with the next day due to having to shout at people. Soooo, as you can imagine, I really dislike noisy restaurants. At a club, part of the purpose of the noise (and the darkness) is to minimize the ways people can look and sound unattractive. I don't see why that needs to be the case in a sit down restaurant. A pleasant background buzz is nice; not being able to talk to my companion(s) is not.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wonder if the anti-noise demographic largely represented here consists of, shall we say, seasoned diners.

Full disclosure: I was born in 1963.

1967, and I'm in complete agreement with you. My clubbing days (as well as my lead-guitar-playing days and a noticeable bit of my hearing) are all behind me for the most part, and these days I really dislike a noisy dining room.


John Rosevear

"Brown food tastes better." - Chris Schlesinger

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For people who dislike noisy restaurants, I don't know how you survive at clubs.

I guess it depends on the venue--if I'm going somewhere to hear music, that's what I want to hear. If I'm at a restaurant, I don't want to hear everybody else in the restaurant yakking away. That's not what I'm paying for.


"I think it's a matter of principle that one should always try to avoid eating one's friends."--Doctor Dolittle

blog: The Institute for Impure Science

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Texas Roadhouse, a chain restaurant, has one of the best steaks in town. Although we've decided to make it a point to explore other places we sometimes hear about, TR is the nearest to our home and is always packed. I'm surprised OSHA hasn't shut it down for the noise level alone.

The noise is part of the "schtick", along with Polaroid birthday pictures on the walls, peanut shells on the floor, etc. Oh, and don't forget the waitstaff, occasionally performing a country line dance, each and every one of them with an incredibly bored look on their faces. There is no time when the place isn't extremely loud.

We long for another good steak place to come to town that will have food as good as the Roadhouse, but be much quieter. We'll put up with the noise if we really, really want a good steak, but it sends to other restaurants more often than not. The place is always packed, though, and although I've heard a lot of other people gripe about it, they still go.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For people who dislike noisy restaurants, I don't know how you survive at clubs. The quietest clubs are still louder than the noisiest restaurants. I'm not a fan of noise but it also doesn't bother me all that much.

Different vibe, babe.

Clubs are about the noise and the scene and the people and seeing and being seen.

Restaurants, especially expensive, high-end restaurants, are about the experience of being catered to, of relaxing, of conversing and enjoying your companion (date, friend, family, whatever) and focusing on the sensual experience of the food and wine. As well as the conversation with your dining companion. Or the quitetude of your self, if you're dining alone.

It's like comparing a mosh pit with the Metropolitan Opera. They both have their places, but not simultaneously.


--Roberta--

"Let's slip out of these wet clothes, and into a dry Martini" - Robert Benchley

Pierogi's eG Foodblog

My *outside* blog, "A Pound Of Yeast"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Last week my wife and I ate at Guu with Garlic in Vancouver. It was QUITE noisy, but in a boisterous, fun way. As the patrons order the server will belt out the name of the dish in Japanese, answered in the kitchen. The entire staff enthusiastically greets and says farewell in Japanese whenever anybody enters or leaves the restaurant, and the entire sense of the place is that the staff is actually enjoying as much or more than the customers. Remember the "Cheeseburger cheeseburger cheeseburger" sketch from SNL? Kind of like that, only with cute Japanese waitresses.

We definitely plan on going back there ASAP. :biggrin:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There's a big difference between a noise level that's fun and lively and one that makes it hard to talk. The problem isn't primarily with romantic, one-one-one, smoochy smoochy kinds of dinners; you can always just get closer. High noise levels ruin it for bigger groups. If you have a table of 6 or 8 or 10, the people sitting far apart just can't hear each other without screaming. So the dinner breaks down into a bunch of smaller, isolated conversations (either that or they actually start screaming, which of course, makes everything worse in the big picture).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Two years ago we wanted to take our daughter out for a splurge restaurant during family weekend in Walla Walla. Reservations were hard to get, but we snagged one at a new and trendy place. We walked in and sat down and the din was unbelievable. When I commented to the waitress, as politely as I could, that it was pretty loud, she simply said, "We like it that way."

Clearly there are lots of new hip restaurants that are not designed for quiet conversation. They are designed for buzz, and to send the message, "YOU WERE LUCKY TO GET A RESERVATION EVERYONE'S HAVING A GREAT TIME IN OUR FANTASTIC RESTAURANT!!!!!"

Just a wild guess, but it seems these places are often skewed to a young crowd who: A) generally type with their thumbs; B) haven't yet blown out their eardrums but are working on it; C) are used to yelling into their cellphones while walking on a crowded street.

At my daughter's suggestion, we left the restaurant so we could talk to her. We had enough of not talking to her when she lived at home before college.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think most restaurants could go without music.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

the place i work has these giant 25 foot ceilings with pressed tin tiles! its insane there can be 12 people in the dining room and it sounds like a hundred in the kitchen. i used to get nervous like omg how many people are out there did we just fill up. then i go to check and there are literally four deuces its silly. but more to the point we get complaints all the time the servers come back and say "customers are complain about the noise." wadda ya want me to do ratchet the roof down a bit? tell everyone to shoosh? i think it helps if you cut out any music its completely unnecessary when your in full swing besides people are just gonna talk over it increasing all the noise.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can only echo what others have said--I really dislike noisy restaurants. In the places I've been or eat at, it's often the volume of the "background" music that is really upsetting. I can tune out voices more easily, although I find cellphone rings, etc., and loud "cellphone voice" very annoying too. I've read that high levels of noise make people eat & drink faster. Maybe nice for those running the restaurant, maybe not so healthy for the customers.

It seems odd to me that so many musicians, always, always, no matter what the size or acoustics of a room, use amplifiers. I've heard the Tallis Scholars (acapella group that sings medieval choral music) fill a very large church with the sound of their unamplified voices. So why is it necessary, in much smaller spaces, for fiddles, drums, pianos & guitars to be amplified? If they're playing electric guitars (or mandolins, or whatever stringed instrument) it's possible to keep the amplifier turned fairly low. Sometimes I fantasize about finding a bar of the kind that Raymond Chandler & others wrote about, someone playing jazz on a piano (unamplified) w/a solitary singer singing quietly but well in a dimly lit bar.

Almost forgot: some time last year, someone at the Boston Globe reviewed some restaurant & the noise level was mentioned. I wrote to the reporter, saying something about noise levels & didn't it bother anyone but me? She responded saying that of most of the comments she'd gotten that concerned noise-every single one of them complained about noise levels--a few indicated they were either happy about noisy restaurants or wanted even more noise. I think a fair number of people just put up with it.

Usually if I ask for the "music" to be turned down, I get strange looks, or "we can't do that." If everyone hasn't ordered, sometimes we just leave (if I'm alone, I leave). I have friends who are starting to suffering hearing loss, and in a loud restaurant (or bar) it's becoming impossible to hold a conversation w/them w/out really raising my voice. That's not fun. So I eat out much less frequently.

Maybe my friends, family & I aren't the demographic that matters--but I'd think that in many parts of the US, times might still be hard enough that losing any customers would matter to restaurant owners & managers.


Edited by azurite (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Definitely a trend which, as Winston Churchill would say, "up with which I will not put". One of the best Pacific rim fusion restaurants in Honolulu is wonderful at 6:00 PM and almost intolerable at 7:30 as the noise level increases. I plan my visits accordingly. Likewise a wonderful well known steak house in downtown Las Vegas has a nice dark wood/library ambience and plays wonderful classic jazz tunes, but the music gets louder and louder as the night goes on. What's up with that?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Being unable to tune out any background noise at all--ever--I find loud restaurants physically uncomfortable. 'Loud' even in the 'fun and lively' sense. Or 'loud' in the sense it attracts noisy groups of diners. I'll tolerate it for good food but I won't want to stick around.


Chris Taylor

Host, eG Forums - ctaylor@egstaff.org

 

I've never met an animal I didn't enjoy with salt and pepper.

Melbourne
Harare, Victoria Falls and some places in between

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Being unable to tune out any background noise at all--ever--I find loud restaurants physically uncomfortable. 'Loud' even in the 'fun and lively' sense. Or 'loud' in the sense it attracts noisy groups of diners. I'll tolerate it for good food but I won't want to stick around.

I have a similar problem (if it's too loud, it's like being slapped, repeatedly, across the eyes). But I won't even tolerate unpleasant noise levels for good food, because I can't enjoy the food: If a place doesn't have at least some quiet time, I won't go (unless it's a question of not inconveniencing friends who've included me in a dinner invitation).


Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Clearly there are lots of new hip restaurants that are not designed for quiet conversation. They are designed for buzz, and to send the message, "YOU WERE LUCKY TO GET A RESERVATION EVERYONE'S HAVING A GREAT TIME IN OUR FANTASTIC RESTAURANT!!!!!"

Just a wild guess, but it seems these places are often skewed to a young crowd who: A) generally type with their thumbs; B) haven't yet blown out their eardrums but are working on it; C) are used to yelling into their cellphones while walking on a crowded street.

i

I agree with you. This new hip restaurants are designed for the young yuppie crowd which are normally not that loyal as when there's a new place that is better and more hip, they will move there. If you plan to open a restaurant avoid this criteria. as most people I have noticed like to dine in a place where they don't have to shout their orders, wait for the attention of the wait staff as they are busy doing some else.

I myself like to dine in nice quiet settings. where I can take time enjoying my food, without having the impression that they are people waiting for my table and the waitstaff waiting to get me out of the door

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd say I'm probably on the younger side (born in 1979) and I still hate loud restaurants. But then again, I never liked clubs either. If I have to text message my dining partner because I can't hear them from across the table, I'm not going back, don't care how good the food is...


If you ate pasta and antipasto, would you still be hungry? ~Author Unknown

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Apparently in NYC, noise is a goal and not an accident. I can believe it, some recent meals I've had there have been painfully loud. Jet engine loud. So loud that one must literally shout to be heard.

This is desirable?

Maybe Bloomberg should stop harassing soda drinkers and get working on an actual problem.

http://www.grubstreet.com/2013/07/adam-platt-on-loud-restaurants.html

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.