And More Restaurant Noise
there was a similar article discussed in the Food section of the Los Angeles Times a few months back, about noise levels and restaurants that were installing noise reducing decor and furniture, and well there were varying differences of opinion on the LA CH boards. I'm going to put in my two cents. I don't mind loud restaurants as long as they have good food(especially ones that serve good ethnic food), but when I'm looking for a higher end restaurant I would rather be able to hear the people across from me than the ambient restaurant noise. In LA I find this problem of noise precisely more often on what locals call the "westside" as opposed to other regions in LA and I think that's largely due to the fact that most of the happening clubs and bars are in that area(I'm under 30, but as someone else mentioned above I do think that generally younger people prefer noise, except for people like me, while older people would rather have a quieter setting). Don't get me wrong there are great restaurants but even the higher end places sometimes are incredibly loud and detract from a certain atmosphere in that area of LA. I don't mind noise it's just a better restaurant owner can control and should control noise when laying out their plan and what tone they seek to set for their restaurant especially when considering what type of customers they are courting and the type of food they are serving, and remember loudness does not always mean cheery atmosphere, in fact I think it's something of an annoyance sometimes, it's not a frikkin concert after all.
This is a pretty big deal to me. Yes, I'm OLD; but I'm in no way dead or intollerant of people having fun. One of my favorite things is to hit the noisy bar after a hard day skiing. But I digress. This is about eating. Mostly, we like it quiet when we eat.
In New England (it seems), as often as not, old brick buildings are renovated. Restaurants ocupying these spaces, which often have high ceilings, seem to forget the budget for sound attenuation. They leave the brick walls bare. You end up with lots of hard surfaces, often including store-front glass, bar mirrors, pictures, etc., which only amplify the noise.
Why don't they get it? Even if I like the restaurant, if a restaurant is too noisy, plus expensive, I may not go back. If I need or want a relaxing lunch, I pick a quieter place. It seems like a restaurant is shooting themselves in the foot, or at least painting themselves in the corner for the type of clientelle they will cater to, when they do not consider noise, or even add to it with loud music and/or bad sound systems. I remember recently eating at a nice and not so inexpensive place, which has not addressed noise, at all, and they had cheap speakers and "bar" music pounding away. Mostly all I heard for the whole meal was the constant, relentless, restless native's drone of thunka thunka boom, thunka thunka boom.
I don't mind a bit of an "atmosphere" but prefer quieter establishments, especially if it's higher end. This happens more in bars and clubs rather than restaurants but my voice gets hoarse a lot at the end of the night due to me screaming so people can hear me. And I hate to strain to hear somebody and continually ask them to repeat themselves. Doesn't make for good conversation. But I think that's why some people prefer loud establishments -- so that they don't have to talk due to all the distraction.
And as I get older, I do prefer things on the quiet side. Even dim sum at Chinatown can be a bit too much at times.
I'm with you, although I tend to not like loud noises (e.g. rock concerts) in general. If I'm going on a date, I want to be able to hear my dinner companion, w/o craning my neck or asking "what?" every few times. I mean, I'll go to these whenever there is a group gathering, but I tend to dislike shouting across tables. I'm over 30, but even when I was 27, etc., I disliked loud restaurants where I have to speak above normal speaking volume to be heard.
A lot of the trendy restos now blast their music loudly, which is also annoying, too. So now, if I go to a restaurant and I feel a blaring wall-o-sound coming my way, I usually walk out and try to find another place to eat.