HOME > Chowhound > Not About Food >


Rude to complain when a xmas party gets noisy at a restaurant?

This is definately not your romantic restaurant scene and a lrg group of women were enjoying their xmas party (seperated from the major restaurant by a partitian). This guy and his wife come in and sit - within minutes goes over to this group and complains that they are just too noisy and "could they keep it down"? I was shocked and actually felt bad for the party group. If he wanted a quite night out, first I wouldn't have chosen this chinese restaurant and second - toughen up, it's the holidays and folks are having their xmas parties. They were only laughing. It's not like they were drunk and behavior was rude. I wish I said something to him! "Happy Holidays Scrooge"!

Any thoughts?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I would have sent him a drink. It's Christmas. And as you stated, not a romantic restaurant.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Janet from Richmond

      Janet, great idea, meet him head on with some class and kindness and make him feel like the smuck he was for insisting on quiet. If I had witnessed it I would have sent him the drink with two olives with instructions to plug his ears with them.....

    2. He was a bit out of line. A Chinese restaurant can get noisy, and as you said - if he wanted a quiet night, that was not the place.

      Did management go over to the larger group and ask them to lower their voices?

      6 Replies
      1. re: LindaWhit

        Didn't go to management at all, in fact wasn't seated more than 5 minutes and up he went to speak to this group.

        We happen to be leaving same time as this group and they apologized to us "if we were too noisy" and we said "absolutely not, sounds like you were enjoying your party, we love that - maybe they (that guy) shouldn't have come out if they were looking for a quiet ambiance". They were appreciative of our comments.

        When he complained I did hear one say "guess this is the last time we'll have our event here" - which is not good for business. 18 vs 2

        Hopefully our comments changed their mind realizing it was just this one jack a@@!

        1. re: lexpatti

          Misread what you originally wrote - I cannot believe that he went over the the group and asked them to be quiet! I hope your comments help change their mind as well!

          1. re: lexpatti

            I would much rather sit next to 10 laughing ladies, than 4 Teens dropping the "F" bomb every other word.

            1. re: gryphonskeeper

              Dont' get me started on the movie theatre................. I hesitate to go anymore - this is one place that should be completely quiet!

              1. re: lexpatti

                this is precisely why I do not go to ANY rated PG and above movie anymore.

              2. re: gryphonskeeper

                I completely agree on that one, gryph!

          2. I expect Chinese restaurants to be a bit noisier no matter what time of year it is. It's just an environment where groups like to gather and share food, while other types of restaurants are more suitable for the intimate, romantic dining. Maybe it's just my area, but the good Chinese restaurants typically have the decor of the average HS cafeteria, and while the food is amazing, nowhere does it scream "Romance!"

            1. News Flash To all the Sensitive types, Whiners and Complainers......

              The belief that it is a privilege for any establishment to serve you when your presence is made....you would be wrong because due to the fact you are merely a guest and the world does not revolve around you. The businesses welcome you and should do whatever they can to accommodate your wants and desires if possible....but taking care of business personally by voicing your displeasure directly to the group, and not through the management, was simply RUDE and a selfish act.

              1. i think this dude was pretty lame, *and* rude, if the folks were just having a nice party and not being drunk/obnoxious. heck, even if they were being drunk/obnoxious, there were other things he could have done-- requesting another table further away from the large party, for starters.

                1. In situations like these, I always smile, say, "Of course!" and then carry right on as we were.

                  1. As someone who is bothered by loud noises, especially loud "crowd" noise - it is painful and makes it impossible for me to hear someone speaking to me even a few feet away - I can understand where this guy is coming from. It's not always about wanting a quiet night out so much as wanting to be able to hear your dining companion and not have ringing ear pain from loud outbursts and people talking over one another. I don't think it's fair to say that either someone has to go to a quiet romantic resto or too bad, they just have to deal with however much noise other diners want to make.

                    Ideally, he would have found another table, left the resto or asked the resto to intervene, if the party was really too loud. What he did, though, doesn't seem particularly rude to me - he told the group that they were being noisy and asked them to keep it down - totally within his rights, imo. It's easy to get caught up in the party and not realize how loud you're being and whether it's carrying to the rest of the resto, so perhaps another group would have welcomed the information that their noise was carrying and was making it uncomfortable for another diner.

                    I think it's good that you didn't say anything to the guy - compounding a rude act with another rude act doesn't help anyone.

                    1. I think it depends on how loud they were and whether the guy could hear his own conversation. But he should have addressed it to the restaurant and asked to be moved, not talked to the group directly.

                      I wonder, though, how people would feel if it had been a group of toddlers/children who'd been playing at the same volume.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: chowser

                        I think that if I walked into a restaurant wanting a quiet evening, and saw a major party in progress (of people of whatever age) I would rethink my choice. I know that's not always possible, but in that case, I would agree with making the request to the restaurant to be moved away from the group.

                        I do think this is the time of year to anticipate excess merriness in many places. Better to look for places that are not hosts to such events if you want a bit of quiet. And just now I see I'm also agreeing with jfood below. Woot.

                      2. He walks into a restaurant where a party is already in progress, stays, sits gets up and tells them to pipe down? First word that comes to mind is yutz. But maybe he was the same guy at the NW gate this morning who told the counter lady on a full flight to move three other people so he could sit aisle-aisle in consecutive rows with his family, no middles allowed. Hello, I have arrived.

                        When you arrive at a restaurant at this time of year and there is a private party, do a snagglepuss and exit stage left. jfood did this at his favorite MSP restaurant two weeks ago. The service and the attention would probably not be as he was used to and he would rather come back then ruin the restaurant's reputation in jfood's brain.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: jfood

                          I try to assess the situation before I sit down because I like to converse with my dining companions too. I probably would have left also, or at least requested a quieter table. Either I've been lucky lately or I'm getting better at defensive dining. But once you are seated and have food in front of you it gets trickier. In October I had to endure an old gent's excessive cologne or after shave when he was seated right next to us. Ugh. I had no time really to make a fuss and move, and I was too hungry to just get the food to go. Sometimes it seems like dining out is like eating raw oysters or clams. Once in awhile you just get a bad one. :)

                          1. re: givemecarbs

                            Agreed, timing is everything. The OP's situation was one end of the spectrum, the guy walked in and expected everyone to cater to him, so it was within his power to leave.

                            Last month jfood was finishing a great meal at the bar in MSP and two guys walked in playing "dueling colgnes". Jfood was so glad he already had the bill in front of him. It would have been impossible to stay and enjoy.

                            1. re: jfood

                              He he! I hear ya jfood! That is one tune I wouldn't want to dance to!

                        2. It was a group of young women (19-25 years) and to be honest, only when they all laughed did it get noisy. We were closer to the group then this couple but we have a different attitude - they were happy and laughing, playing yankee swap. Positive in our opinion, not negative. And we had easy conversations between us that wasn't effected by the group.

                          9 Replies
                          1. re: lexpatti

                            Sorry for the threadjack, but what on earth is "Yankee Swap"?

                            1. re: kali_MM

                              i think the guy was totally rude too - u want quiet, go someplace quiet!
                              A yankee swap is also knows as a pollyanna gift exchange - each person brings a gift, then take turns opening the gifts. you can either pick an unopened present or steal one that someone else has already opened. they can be quite hilarious.

                              1. re: jujuthomas

                                For some reason I always called this a dog party. I have absolutely no idea why. On a semi-food related note, one of the most amusing items I saw was a caviar gel. It was some sort of beauty product, but I am not sure what it did, exactly. I still remember this from a party I went to at age 9, so it really made an impression.

                              2. re: kali_MM

                                We play an even funnier Yankee Swap (was told this was the original): everyone wraps something from home they no longer want but haven't gotten rid of yet (something you would donate or put in a yard sale). If there are 15 guest, you have numbered folded up 1-15 papers. Everyone picks a number. Starting with who has one, open a gift. #2 opens a gift and decides if they want to keep or trade with #1, and so on - until the very end - #1 gets to go one last time.

                                We call it recycled Yankee Swap. One man's trash is another Man's Treasure!!! Gets pretty funny - for many years this one bloomin onion maker showed up.

                                1. re: lexpatti

                                  here in the northern midwest, we call this same game a "white elephant party" :)

                                  1. re: lexpatti

                                    We've always referred to it as the non-PC "Chinese Auction". I like the term Yankee Swap much better and will start using that forthwith! It's always funny to see which item becomes THE item that everyone wants & steals; it's not always the one you think it will be!

                                2. re: lexpatti

                                  So funny - that's exactly how I envisioned the scene. Because it wasn't sustained, but rather, busts of noise, it's especially unfair to expect the guy to assess the situation and go elsewhere immediately. The women weren't just doing "normal" resto activities (eating, drinking, conversing), they were playing a game (a noisy game, at that) - that's outside the realm of what most people would expect going into a resto and I still say the guy was totally within his rights to expect them to keep it under control and use indoor voices.

                                  My SO and I went to a nice dinner once at a small fine dining resto that was having a party in their "private room". During the third course of our 8 course tasting menus, the partiers fired up a karaoke machine. Not cool. I did not feel like a grinch one bit to ask the resto to figure out how to stop the karaoke noise from entering the dining room even when it turned out that the only way to do that was to nix the karaoke all together.

                                  1. re: akq

                                    i agree with part of your position-- but i think that the guy should have definitely *not* boorishly have interrupted the party (in a confrontational manner) himself, he should have asked the rest. mgmt. to intercede. if i were the mod at the restaurant, i would have offered the deuce a different table, with some comps, and tried to smooth everything over without disturbing the large party. the large party had obviously made special arrangements to have their holiday party there, and as long as their behavior was reasonable (which it sounds as if it certainly was), they have the right to have fun-- folks who arrive (most likely without res-es) after the party has already started, can be reasonable and suck it up, or they can request a different table, or they can leave-- but they shouldn't instigate unnecessary confrontations in a restaurant. definitely think this man was rude in this situation.

                                    1. re: soupkitten

                                      Agreed. Always better to ask the resto and then they can intercede on your behalf, if appropriate, or try to accomodate you in some other way.

                                3. I'm more likely to be in the group that gets shushed - it's happened more than once when I've been out to dinner with a big group of my friends. But a few weeks ago I went to dinner with a friend at a reasonably nice but not elegant or romantic restaurant and we were seated next to a table of about 12 who were celebrating a birthday and they were LOUD, as in my friend and I couldn't hear each other at all during their more raucous moments. We debated asking if we could move to another table - the place was full but tables were opening up as people left - but decided not to bother. It never ever occured to me to ask the party table to keep it down.

                                  1. If people want "quiet" dining ... stay at home.

                                    1. I think anybody who pays to eat at an establishment has a right to expect that management will take *reasonable* steps to facilitate his/her comfort. Even in places that are generally known to be noisy, one patron (or group thereof) shouldn't dominate. Groups need to be courteous about the amount of noise they generate, or hold their parties at someone's home, or a facility they can rent exclusively for the evening. (And, I'm not saying the partiers were discourteous, lexpatti. From the way you described it, their noise level wasn't outrageous, but even laughter can get really loud. I know my girlfriends and I have to make a conscious effort to "reel it in" sometimes.)

                                      *That* all said....

                                      A partition provides visual, but not aural, separation. I think there's only so much management *would* be able to do in this situation, if it doesn't have private party rooms, as it tries to balance the rights of all of its guests and the logistics of larger groups or parties during regular public hours.

                                      So, to me, it would have been reasonable for the complaining patron to ask for a different table, protected more from the noise source, and it would have been incumbent upon the restaurant to accommodate his request if at all possible.

                                      I don't think it was appropriate at all for the patron to complain directly to the group. It's just not what one does, given that it could cause a big argument or, sad to say, worse in some instances, in which cases the rights of MORE patrons are affected. Such concerns should most definitely be expressed through the proprietors. If they were unable to provide a situation more comfortable to him, then he has the right to vote with his feet.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Steady Habits

                                        Depending on where and who they were complaining to, that in itself could have been dangerous.

                                      2. I suspect he was "obeying" his self-involved wife.

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: beevod

                                          perhaps they were jealous that they did not have enough friends to party with? Sorry, that was mean. The holidays are diffcult for some people, and it's possible that the couple had issues that made their outlook less than rosy.

                                          The fact that they were the 2nd party to arrive -- the revelers already being there -- they were out of line to impose their need for quiet on other customers. Especially since the OP said that the large party was not raucus or saying things that were in bad taste. Scope out the situation, then use your brain to see if you need to relocate to another table, or another restaurant. I'm always amazed that some people feel that the reponsiblility for their comfort always rests with others, not with themselves.

                                          1. re: PattiCakes

                                            I agree with PattiCakes. Life is too short to stress about a noisy holiday party. They could go elsewhere or, I am almost certain that their home was nice and quiet!

                                        2. Some people are not happy unless they are unhappy. I agree with Janet from Richmond about sending him a drink. If you let him get to you, he wins. Don't sweat the small stuff... and from what his wife sez he is the small stuff!

                                          1. Good Chinese restauants take pride in their high noise levels. It's a sign that business is good. There are very few good quiet romantic Chinese restaurants.