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Apr 25, 2008 11:09 PM

Loud music in NY restaurants

Do people play extremely loud music in NY restaurants because they want you to drink, not talk? Is it supposed to make the place seem more trendy? This is targeting my age bracket, but, frankly, I think it is ridiculous. What? All one wants to do on a Saturday night is guzzle down drinks and strike a pose.......

The music at Otto when I went out last spring was insanely loud. I was actually disgusted, because I couldn't even catch up with my friend who I was with. Is it always like that at Otto? I know Lupa wasn't like that....
You won't even hear music at an Italian pizzerias in Italy, because everyone is socializing - whether a person is with her grandma or friends a pizzeria is about interacting with other human beings.

Maybe this is just a pet peeve!

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  1. I've noticed that I eat faster when the music is louder -- just like I exercise harder with fast pumping music -- no Manilow for me. I was at a charity event last week where the music was blasting. I noticed how quickly I ate compared to usual and had to take a break at some point because I felt like I was running a marathon.

    There may be some subtle marketing things at play that we're unaware of. Perhaps Otto wants to turn over tables quicker by having the customers eat faster. I also think when music is louder, people are less aware of what they're consuming. So maybe some people consumer more food and drink than when it is quiet.

    However, I've eaten at Otto numerous times and never found the music loud. It is a noisy, loud boisterous restaurant. But I always thought the music was kept at an appropriate level. Does it change later at night or something?

    1. Pet peeve of mine, too. There's some places I won't go to even though I'm dying to try the food because I've been warned about the noise. I can't see paying those prices for an unpleasant dining experience, not even able to have a conversation with the people at my table.

      The Washington Post food critic has added "noise level" to his ratings and most of them are somewhere around "lawnmower." Yikes!!!
      He just did a Sunday magazine section article on the topic and found that many new restaurants are being designed to include the noise as part of the ambiance.
      Their target audience thinks that's the buzz of a trendy, successful place. Some of the people he interviewed said they disliked quiet places because nearby tables could overhear them or - get this! - they felt like they "had to talk." Many of the places they loved were restaurants on my "never again" list. Tragically noisy.

      I grew up with great restaurants that had a natural buzz, even noise, of people having a wonderful time. You could tell that an entire room full of people were enjoying themselves. Laughing and even talking really loud as the wine flowed. Many didn't even have music.
      I guess it's like the Italian restaurants you're talking about or old NY places. It wasn't artificial.

      The new places are trying to program "buzz." No wonder they're just trendy. Here today, gone tomorrow. Maybe nobody is really having fun. Everybody wants natural and organic foods but they're willing to put up with fake and plastic ambiance.

      1. Batali has this nasty penchant for loud music in his restaurants, which he tends to defend pretty strongly. He also has sort of sad (fratty) taste in music.

        1 Reply
        1. re: cmballa

          Yes, Batali does like to show off his square taste in music. Keeps me out of his joints.

          Grownups should know the difference between a nightclub and a restaurant. It *is* sort of sad, all that artificial grooviness.