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Why a TV in every restaurant?

e
escondido123 Dec 23, 2011 05:27 PM

Is it just where I live, or is it now mandatory to have TVs in the restaurant if it has a bar? There's a decent wine bar that serves lunch and dinner. Not a fancy place but not a dive at all--usually more women than men at lunchtime. Last time I went for lunch both the TVs were on with cooking shows...I assume they turn it to sports later. Then last night went to an opening of a new place with a bar/lounge separate from the dining room and pretty upscale. Again, two TVs going in the bar--on opening night and no BIG game. Is this how's it's going to be from now on? And will they start having them outside--for now the safe haven for those of us who go out to not watch TV? (I understand BIG game nights but all the time?)

  1. mucho gordo Dec 23, 2011 06:13 PM

    If they're watching the game they're going to drink more and possibly order some food. TV is good for business.

    8 Replies
    1. re: mucho gordo
      e
      escondido123 Dec 23, 2011 08:38 PM

      I understand that. So what are the folks who want to eat without a TV supposed to do?

      1. re: escondido123
        mucho gordo Dec 24, 2011 05:58 PM

        Just eat and don't let the tv distract you. The sound is usually kept reasonably low so as not to disturb.

        1. re: mucho gordo
          e
          escondido123 Dec 24, 2011 09:56 PM

          Two huge TVs staring down on everyone are not easy to ignore. I think I will vote with my feet...out the door.

        2. re: escondido123
          f
          FoodPopulist Dec 27, 2011 09:12 AM

          Eat in a restaurant without a bar.

          1. re: FoodPopulist
            e
            escondido123 Dec 27, 2011 10:43 AM

            There is no place where I would go out to dinner in my city that does not have a bar.

            1. re: escondido123
              ipsedixit Dec 27, 2011 08:29 PM

              McDonald's?

              1. re: ipsedixit
                e
                escondido123 Dec 28, 2011 05:34 PM

                I would not go there for lunch, let alone dinner.

          2. re: escondido123
            Pedr0 Dec 29, 2011 08:17 AM

            I really hate TVs in bars/restaurants too. Looks tacky as all hell even with the volume off.

            In NYC there are plenty of places to don't have them but I always check Yelp when somebody suggests somewhere new. There's a listing just below the name of the restaurant that indicates whether there are TVs or not.

        3. Veggo Dec 23, 2011 06:26 PM

          In rural areas of Mexico, the extra price one often pays for a great meal is TV Azteca blasting a soccer game in one ear, and Telemundo blasting the latest narcotrafficking news in the other. It makes one wish for Bose sound-canceling headphones with the antojitos.

          1. c
            Cheez62 Dec 23, 2011 09:24 PM

            "So what are the folks who want to eat without a TV supposed to do?"

            Not eat in the bar?

            1. chicgail Dec 24, 2011 06:52 AM

              I find that really scary.

              Where do you live that every restaurant has a TV? I live in a big midwestern city and TVs are in bars and some inexpensive restaurants. I've seen them in Thai restaurants. But never in upscale or even mid-level restaurants.

              I have the same reaction about TVs in cars. I saw a car yesterday with TWO TVs going with cartoons, one on each side of the back seat. I was appalled. Has it gotten so that we - and our children - can't live without TV even to ride in a car? Or eat dinner out with friends?

              8 Replies
              1. re: chicgail
                e
                escondido123 Dec 24, 2011 09:14 AM

                I came back to the title and realized I forgot the word "bar" after restaurant, so it's not every place but oh so many in my downtown north of San Diego. Some are just one big space so there's no bar versus restaurant, wherever you are you can see the TV. There are also places that have a "bar" menu that cannot be ordered in the dining room so that means only going when you want a "formal" meal. (I noticed the last two times that no one was watching the TVs because there wasn't a GAME on just sports programs.)

                1. re: chicgail
                  j
                  Janet from Richmond Dec 24, 2011 10:06 AM

                  Here in Richmond, VA it is not uncommon for their to be a tv or tv's in the bar area of a restaurant in all ranges of type & price.

                  They are in the bar area and depending on what's going on it may have sports on or news. It keeps people in the bar, eating more, drinking more, socializing more.

                  1. re: Janet from Richmond
                    e
                    escondido123 Dec 24, 2011 12:15 PM

                    If the sound is not on and it's not a big game how does having a TV turned on encourage more socializing rather than less? Maybe folks who come to drown their sorrows and not talk to anybody, but aside from that I don't understand.

                    1. re: escondido123
                      j
                      Janet from Richmond Dec 25, 2011 04:48 AM

                      People will talk about the game as it's happening. Depending on the signficance of the game, the popularity among those watching, etc. the sound may be turned on.

                      As an example.....we're not into soccer, but then the World Cup Final was on, we went to a local Italian restaurant (not super casual, not super fancy, but has three tv's in the bar area) and watched it with soccer fans (and had pizza, apps and Peroni).

                  2. re: chicgail
                    f
                    ferret Dec 28, 2011 09:50 AM

                    I have zero problem with video players for kids. I was a little appalled when I first saw a family using one in a local Thai restaurant but then I saw how their child (3 or 4) was able to sit still through a meal which their parents obviously enjoyed. It's nice for the child, the parents and the other customers who don't have to listen to a kid whining.

                    My kids are older now and we didn't have the technology when they were young so my wife and I just took turns keeping the kids from tearing the restaurant apart. Kids are kids and can't be expected to have an adult's attention span, even during a short restaurant meal or even a car ride.

                    1. re: ferret
                      Jay F Dec 28, 2011 03:15 PM

                      I wouldn't mind if those video players (movies, games? I don't know which you mean, exactly) were silent. But they're not. They're annoying, and that being the case, I can't believe it when parents whip them out when they bring their tykes to a restaurant.

                      Of course, your video players are probably the silent kind that no one else in the restaurant is forced to listen to.

                      1. re: ferret
                        livetocook Dec 28, 2011 06:07 PM

                        We bring in our ipad for our 2yr old. She can barely sit down for a full meal at home let alone while we are out. She does incredibly well when we our out but, after 45 minutes of trying to get her to sit still and be quiet a parent can run out of ideas quick. We don't let her watch something with volume it's usually a kids puzzle app or angry birds. She does quite well with that, reading the menu when we order, eating, and(watching them flip pizzas if it's an open kitchen. Of course we pick family places. :))

                        1. re: ferret
                          Bill Hunt Jan 5, 2012 05:51 PM

                          Never thought about the "entertain the kids" aspect, but then we have none, and 99% of our dining is in restaurants, that are not traditionally "kid friendly."

                          Thanks for the perspective,

                          Hunt

                      2. linguafood Dec 24, 2011 09:04 AM

                        I fucking hate TVs in bars, especially if they're not 'real' sports bars. Restaurants? I'd probably leave right away. The idea of leaving the house for 2 hours without being able to stare at a TV must be really, really scary to folks. Perhaps a cultural thing.

                        Germans are crazy about soccer, but unless the local team is playing or an important tournament is on (EuroCup or WorldCup), you won't see TVs at bars. Restaurants? Please.

                        But then, I find that there are TVs almost anywhere these days -- doctor's offices, car dealerships, cars. Ugh.

                        20 Replies
                        1. re: linguafood
                          h
                          hazelhurst Dec 27, 2011 09:41 AM

                          I'm with you. I think it is often a security blanket for people...I've seen people ask for such-and-such a game to be put on and then they don't watch...or, maybe, watch fitfully. A friend of mine who used to work at LSU was thrilled when the power at the local joint, The Chimes, went out and the Forty-two TVs they've got shut off: He'd say. "Ah! Maybe now conversation will break out!"

                          1. re: hazelhurst
                            linguafood Dec 27, 2011 09:47 AM

                            Dontcha know -- conversation is for communists!! :-D

                            1. re: linguafood
                              h
                              hazelhurst Dec 27, 2011 09:53 AM

                              You remind me of a friend's affection for the Italian Communist Party which, he says, is charmingly ineffectual. They get a group together (in my friend's scenario) at some trattoria and plan it out: "OK, today we work on the Central Economy, the Workers Controlling the Means of Production, and the withering away of the State plus the overthrow of the status quo.....after lunch." Then they get drunk on wine and grappa, fall off their chairs, and have to try again the next day....with the same results.

                              1. re: hazelhurst
                                linguafood Dec 27, 2011 10:01 AM

                                Well, it's been proven not to be the most successful political system.

                                Fun, perhaps -- what with all the wine & grappa.

                              2. re: linguafood
                                mucho gordo Dec 27, 2011 05:45 PM

                                Yeah. it's called COMMUNE-ication

                              3. re: hazelhurst
                                Bill Hunt Jan 5, 2012 05:57 PM

                                Now, during the most recent LSU - Alabama game, we were dining in Denver. I agreed that my wife could monitor things on her iPhone, and much of the staff greatly appreciated that. She had to abstain from cheering, and could only quietly report the progress of the game (luckily, not much to report), but the staff was over her shoulder. She also had to keep that iPhone below table-level.

                                Now, and while NOT being a big fan of TV's in the restaurants (bars are different, at least to me), for the "next" LSU-Alabama game, I will either find some bar with it on their TV, or will order room service, and watch it in comfort with my feet up, the large-screen glowing, and a bottle of wine handy.

                                Heck, we passed on tickets (owner's box) for the 7th game of the World Series with AZ, as we were on business in San Francisco. There was a bar, with TV's, but we opted for the dining room. However, I kept tipping the waitstaff, when they would quietly deliver the scores to me...

                                Hunt

                              4. re: linguafood
                                Chinon00 Dec 28, 2011 02:15 PM

                                "Germans are crazy about soccer, but unless the local team is playing or an important tournament is on (EuroCup or WorldCup), you won't see TVs at bars. Restaurants? Please."

                                Not to nitpick but I was under the same impression until I ate my first meal in Berlin last fall (Dicke Wirtin). TV in front bar and restaurant area w/ eyes glued. Curious I asked the bartender which teams were playing. He told me it was just some game. Both teams were German but neither were local.

                                1. re: Chinon00
                                  linguafood Dec 28, 2011 02:32 PM

                                  Dicke Wirtin is more of a bar (Kneipe) than a restaurant, even if they serve food there. Many (working-class) bars have TVs with the national soccer league games on. Emphasis on *bars*, not restaurants or restaurant bars.

                                  1. re: linguafood
                                    Chinon00 Dec 28, 2011 03:03 PM

                                    So when you said ".. you won't see TVs at bars" you didn't mean working-class bars just restaurant bars. Ok;]

                                    1. re: Chinon00
                                      linguafood Dec 28, 2011 03:09 PM

                                      Yes, I guess I did. I guess I also don't hang out much in bars like Dicke Wirtin, perhaps b/c a soccer game might be on '-)

                                      Listen, it's fairly obvious to me that people in the US clearly prefer not to be without the distraction / "entertainment" value of a TV set wherever they go or whenever they leave the house. It's a different culture, I get it.

                                      When I go out to eat or drink, I go out to eat or drink and have conversations with the people I am going out with, and I prefer to NOT have any TVs around me -- unless I am going out EXPLICITLY to watch a game (the two big soccer tournos come to mind), b/c I don't tend to watch soccer games on my own at home.

                                      Different strokes, and a tiny percentage of US Americans -- or maybe just the OP and I -- seem to feel the same way.

                                      In any event, I stand by my point that it is far more common for TVS to be in US American bars, restaurants, sport bars, etc. than it is in Germany. Can't speak for the rest of Europe, tho I don't remember seeing TVs in Italy, France, Spain or Greece.

                                      1. re: linguafood
                                        Chinon00 Dec 29, 2011 05:41 AM

                                        I'd say that here in the US TVs are more pervasive in casual dining restaurants in general than in other places I've traveled. But then there are certain kinds of restaurants here (beyond fine dining establishments) where TVs are not at all common (e.g.: byobs, brasseries, tapas bars, sushi bars). Generally smaller independent restaurants will tend to not have TVs; and particularly if they don't have a bar. 
                                        Having said that finding a quiet bar to read a book or to not be distracted by a TV is tougher in the US. On a recent trip to Dublin tho' virtually every pub had a TV (some on some off). In Great Britain this was not as true; nor was it true in other countries that you mentioned in my experience.
                                        So it depends on where you go but having the expectation of no TV is less common here. 

                                        1. re: Chinon00
                                          linguafood Dec 29, 2011 11:24 AM

                                          Still waiting with baited breath on your Berlin trip report. And by "we", I mean I.

                                          1. re: linguafood
                                            Chinon00 Dec 29, 2011 12:24 PM

                                            I reported where I ate here:
                                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/815240

                                            I can provide more details if you'd like?

                                            1. re: Chinon00
                                              linguafood Dec 29, 2011 03:06 PM

                                              I think the Europe board readers might enjoy a more elaborate response, if you care to do so. Right now, buried in a discussion about wine & food, it's a bit lost.

                                              I'd also love to find out what made you choose the places you chose, and I'd love to hear your opinion about Rogacki / Clärchens Ballhaus, especially.

                                              I'm in the process of compiling a BoB (Best of Berlin) 2011 list for my blog, and both of those places are on it.

                                              1. re: linguafood
                                                Chinon00 Dec 29, 2011 04:18 PM

                                                When I travel I don't always need fine dining, just good food and most importantly food that I can only get where I am. Having done a small amount of research I concluded that in Berlin maybe that would be the more common foods. Places like Dicke Wirten and Rogacki seemed obvious choices for things like Eisbein or  Blut und Leberwurst. 
                                                Maybe I'm wrong but my perception is that fine or very upscale dining in Berlin would be like doing so in New York or Chicago; probably fantastic but nothing I couldn't get done well in many places.

                                                Edit: I'd also planned on visiting some of the Turkish markets and restaurants but unfortunately did not (this time).

                                                1. re: Chinon00
                                                  linguafood Dec 29, 2011 04:49 PM

                                                  Oh yeah, Rogacki is a great Berlin institution, so it was a good move to check it out!

                                                  I love their lunch of fried fish and a variety of potato salads charged by weight. And the fresh & smoked fish selection is pretty awesome, if rather hefty in price.

                                                  Also agree that fine dining in Berlin won't be much different than other cities in the US... except for maybe around asparagus season '-)

                                                  Glad you enjoyed yourself!

                                                  1. re: linguafood
                                                    Chinon00 Dec 30, 2011 05:03 AM

                                                    "I love [Rogacki's] lunch of fried fish and a variety of potato salads charged by weight."

                                                    That's exactly what my wife had;]

                                        2. re: linguafood
                                          Bill Hunt Jan 5, 2012 06:13 PM

                                          Not sure how TV's factor into the society, but I can say that I seldom have an issues without them. OTOH, I have talked to many families, where they have driven their children through some beautiful areas of the US, and had to put DVD's in the player in the back seat. Some people ARE addicted to TV, and I feel very sorry for them.

                                          True dining, should not be interrupted by TV's.

                                          Hunt

                                        3. re: Chinon00
                                          Bill Hunt Jan 5, 2012 06:01 PM

                                          For me, bars are pretty much bars, and I have zero issues with almost anything in them, TV's, air hockey, pool tables, fill in the blank. It's only TV's in a true restaurant, that sort of gets me.

                                          Maybe a part of that is because of the particular restaurants, where we dine. Just cannot see Guy Savoy putting TV's in his dining rooms, but maybe I will be in for a surprise in the future?

                                          Hunt

                                          1. re: Bill Hunt
                                            e
                                            escondido123 Jan 5, 2012 06:36 PM

                                            Bill, if only I had your choices I would be a happy camper :)

                                  2. r
                                    RosePearl Dec 24, 2011 06:05 PM

                                    Where I live, televisions are in doctor and dentist offices, too. I saw a gadget on ebay, that supposedly turns off tvs. I want one.

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: RosePearl
                                      t
                                      TexSquared Dec 24, 2011 10:56 PM

                                      Just get any universal remote control (buy a cheap one at the after-Christmas sales) and always have the code list with you so you can look up what codes are needed for the TVs you want to shut off (or change channel)!

                                      1. re: TexSquared
                                        mucho gordo Dec 25, 2011 10:35 AM

                                        That's a great way to get thrown out of the place.

                                        1. re: mucho gordo
                                          t
                                          TexSquared Dec 25, 2011 09:36 PM

                                          I didn't say I recommended doing it, just offering a suggestion :-)

                                          What I wanted to add to this was, I used to mystery shop for one of the large full-service chains in my area, and one of the things I had to check was that all TV's in the bar area had to be on (and on something "interesting" -- by their definition, live sports preferred over recorded sports or news) but the volume in the restaurant (music, or TV audio) must be loud enough to be clearly understood but not so loud that you can't hold a conversation within your table or with the waiters. Diners were not drowned out by thumping bass or screaming sports commentators.

                                          The TV's were exclusively in the bar area; if you were in the dining room you could choose to sit facing the bar area so you could see the TV's, or sit with your back to the bar area to avoid them.

                                      2. re: RosePearl
                                        j
                                        Janet from Richmond Dec 25, 2011 04:49 AM

                                        My daughter is a dentist and they have a tv in the exam rooms....I like it.

                                      3. ipsedixit Dec 24, 2011 10:38 PM

                                        I'm thinking you are in the minority in this.

                                        And in this case, like alot of things in life, the majority wins out.

                                        1. t
                                          TexSquared Dec 25, 2011 07:50 PM

                                          I guess it could be worse. You can have everybody in the bar/restaurant enjoying the same game and discussing it, or you take away the TV's and you have half the patrons staring at their mobile phones/tablets watching the game they wanted to watch all along (or of course the ubiquitous Facebook/Twitter/YouTube/Angry Birds...)

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: TexSquared
                                            e
                                            escondido123 Dec 25, 2011 09:17 PM

                                            But I am not talking about the BIG GAMES. No World Cup, Stanley Cup, World Series or the like. All that is on the tube is sports news and games no one is looking at. I certainly understand the frenzy for big playoffs and the like and would avoid such places for that reason, but an ordinary evening, where no one is watching the TV, that I just don't understand.

                                            1. re: escondido123
                                              Up With Olives Jan 3, 2012 01:20 PM

                                              When nobody is looking at the tv, this is when I turn it off with my TV-B-Gone. I would not use it in a "sports bar" or where people are actually watching but you'd be surprised how many people don't even notice it's off. Sometimes the staff does, however, especially in a low-light room where the huge tvs were providing light.

                                          2. l
                                            LikestoEatout Dec 26, 2011 04:15 AM

                                            I see TV's too often in ethnic restaurants. In one it was BBC Asia in an Asian language. Indian places have either Bollywood films or cricket. Several Thai places have Thai karaoke. All have been on large prominent TV's that are pretty obnoxious.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: LikestoEatout
                                              coll Dec 26, 2011 05:32 AM

                                              Maybe it's their way of adding ambiance?

                                            2. Bill Hunt Dec 26, 2011 06:25 PM

                                              Not sure myself. Even when one of our local teams is in some sort of playoff, or even the World Series, we never watch. Now, I have found a seat at a bar, with a TV, and watched FoxNews, or similar, especially if I have missed the news of that day, but NEVER in a restaurant. I even chided my wife for sneaking peeks at her iPhone, during the LSU-Alabama game, but as she had the entire staff over her shoulder, I could not say too much, or I'd never have gotten my next course.

                                              Hunt

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: Bill Hunt
                                                j
                                                Janet from Richmond Dec 27, 2011 05:35 AM

                                                I like your wife.....we're big college football people!

                                                1. re: Bill Hunt
                                                  ipsedixit Dec 27, 2011 08:28 PM

                                                  I even chided my wife for sneaking peeks at her iPhone, during the LSU-Alabama game, but as she had the entire staff over her shoulder, I could not say too much, or I'd never have gotten my next course.
                                                  __________________________________

                                                  I suggest eating at home on Jan. 9.

                                                  1. re: ipsedixit
                                                    Bill Hunt Jan 5, 2012 08:06 PM

                                                    Actually, I will be in a hotel room in San Francisco, and have already looked at their "in-room dining" options, plus their wine list. Wife has meetings until almost half-time, but will try to break away. We will see how that one goes...

                                                    Worst case, I find a bar in the hotel, and camp out, demanding that the bartender turns the channel away from "The Family Guy," or whatever, to the game.

                                                    Hunt

                                                    Hunt

                                                2. rockandroller1 Dec 27, 2011 10:55 AM

                                                  I've been complaining about this for a long time now, but you and I are in the minority apparently. Where I live, even at very upscale places, there is literally almost NOWHERE you can go where there aren't TVs at the bar. Almost nowhere. I go out for lunch a lot and prefer to sit at a bar when I do it instead of a table, and there are TVs almost everywhere unless it's just a takeout joint. There's a really upscale Italian place near where I work where I "treat" myself for lunch now and again but it's really annoying to have this million dollar looking bar with a kick ass wine list and beautiful decor and then these giant TVs staring you in the face. Nobody talks, they just watch the TV and eat. I don't care that nobody talks, per se, I'm not going for conversation, but it's just depressing. And yes, they're in all the doctors and dentist office waiting rooms now too, I hate it.

                                                  21 Replies
                                                  1. re: rockandroller1
                                                    linguafood Dec 27, 2011 01:53 PM

                                                    We should start a movement!!!

                                                    1. re: linguafood
                                                      Veggo Dec 27, 2011 01:56 PM

                                                      In which case they will put TV's in the restrooms, also.

                                                      1. re: Veggo
                                                        linguafood Dec 27, 2011 02:21 PM

                                                        I could groove to TVs in restrooms, actually.

                                                        1. re: Veggo
                                                          Bill Hunt Jan 5, 2012 08:08 PM

                                                          Well, we WOULD need TV's to follow the "movement," right?

                                                          Hunt

                                                      2. re: rockandroller1
                                                        e
                                                        escondido123 Dec 27, 2011 03:29 PM

                                                        I understand the reasoning for BIG games, playoffs etc. But the rest of the time, why not just a DVD of waves on the beach, Paris at night or whatever would be appropriate for the particular restaurant. (I was at one at lunch time and they had on a Travel show where folks were digging up and eating bugs...so appetizing.)

                                                        1. re: escondido123
                                                          f
                                                          FoodPopulist Dec 27, 2011 04:36 PM

                                                          That would cost extra. And I think that would look tacky. If there is no sports, I would rather have the TV on a news channel with the sound off and closed captioning on.

                                                          1. re: FoodPopulist
                                                            e
                                                            escondido123 Dec 27, 2011 05:17 PM

                                                            I don't think it can get much tackier than a TV, so how about a work of art on the TV when nothing else is on?

                                                            1. re: escondido123
                                                              Veggo Dec 27, 2011 05:24 PM

                                                              You would favor a still Monet over a lively Al Jazeera broadcast?

                                                              1. re: Veggo
                                                                e
                                                                escondido123 Dec 27, 2011 05:54 PM

                                                                Where I live they would sooner show cows being slaughtered than Al Jazeera.

                                                                1. re: escondido123
                                                                  f
                                                                  FoodPopulist Dec 27, 2011 07:06 PM

                                                                  I'd rather watch cows being slaughtered than look at a video of a fireplace or a painting. I prefer a dynamic environment to something with the vitality of a nursing home.

                                                                  1. re: FoodPopulist
                                                                    e
                                                                    escondido123 Dec 27, 2011 07:12 PM

                                                                    Since a TV is an inanimate object, I would think when one has gone out they would want to interact with other people rather than staring at a TV. Otherwise, why go out?

                                                                    1. re: escondido123
                                                                      f
                                                                      FoodPopulist Dec 27, 2011 08:22 PM

                                                                      I can talk to someone and keep an eye on the television at the same time. I can also walk and chew bubble gum simultaneously.

                                                                      When I have eaten out in a large group in a private dining room, there has never been a TV there.

                                                                      1. re: FoodPopulist
                                                                        e
                                                                        escondido123 Dec 27, 2011 08:26 PM

                                                                        And I would hope that if you're eating in the private dining room you could have it turned off. Unfortunately, I do not have the budget to eat in the private dining room so will just have to deal with what there is. Oh well, there are worse problems in the world that's for sure.

                                                                2. re: Veggo
                                                                  Bill Hunt Jan 5, 2012 08:17 PM

                                                                  In the Red Carpet Clubs and the Intl. First Salons, I always choose a seat in front of a TV with FoxNews, and seldom the one tuned to Al Jazeera. I get enough of that slant, while in UK and Europe.

                                                                  When I am in a restaurant, above a sports bar, I neither wish to see, nor hear, any TV. At ~ 6:00AM each morning, my staff hands me a folder with the reports from Al Jezeera and also MSNBC. It is then, that I plan my day - not while dining.

                                                                  Hunt

                                                                  1. re: Bill Hunt
                                                                    linguafood Jan 6, 2012 11:10 AM

                                                                    No slant in FauxNews. Thanks for the laugh, Bill!

                                                                    1. re: linguafood
                                                                      roxlet Jan 6, 2012 11:55 AM

                                                                      lol, lingua! No slant at all!

                                                            2. re: escondido123
                                                              Veggo Dec 27, 2011 05:00 PM

                                                              Last Friday afternoon, a favorite Mexican restaurant in Dallas was noticeably busier than usual, with families getting a jump start on the Christmas weekend. It was a good time for a bowl of posole on a cold day. The TV's were tuned to UFC. UFC!!! I'm not saying the name because it is has very good food, just very poor taste in family entertainment.

                                                              1. re: Veggo
                                                                n
                                                                nkeane Dec 27, 2011 11:00 PM

                                                                is UFC really any more violent than the NFL? and even if it is, is violence in the form of a sport really that terrible?

                                                                I mean, don't let your kids watch if you want but then again don't go telling someone else what to let their kids watch.

                                                                1. re: nkeane
                                                                  Veggo Dec 28, 2011 04:42 AM

                                                                  Q#1: Yes. Q#2: For the bloodthirsty, apparently not.

                                                                  I don't meddle with others' child rearing. They are free to raise all the illiterate future road ragers they can birth.

                                                                  I would prefer a symphony program to a UFC showdown during a quiet meal, that's just me.

                                                                  1. re: Veggo
                                                                    Bill Hunt Jan 5, 2012 08:21 PM

                                                                    I guess that it could be worse - WWF, instead of UFC. Similar, but with little old ladies, with knitting needles!

                                                                    Hunt

                                                              2. re: escondido123
                                                                j
                                                                Janet from Richmond Dec 28, 2011 05:22 AM

                                                                When it's your team, every game is a "big" game or at least one you want to watch.

                                                            3. h
                                                              HillJ Dec 27, 2011 05:38 PM

                                                              Nearly all the pizza places around me (without bars, btw) have tv's running.I think it's there to alleviate boredom btwn orders for staff/owners and for customers waiting for their pickup or dinner to be served.

                                                              Last I counted my BIL had a tv in every room of his home including above the shower stall and on the wall of his kitchen. Home or resto. tv's are everywhere. More common than not. While I'm not a big fan of television and have one set in the family room, I am guilty of having computers of one type or another in 7 rooms of our home....the iPods/iPads in restaurants thing never did take off....

                                                              1. f
                                                                freia Dec 27, 2011 07:28 PM

                                                                Sit with your back to the tv? Not to hard to do, unless there are 4 tvs in all directions.Or you choose to sit at the bar itself for whatever reason. Most restaurant/bar areas have smaller tables for 2 or 4, just move the chair or ask for a different seat. As for the volume, if its blaring ask to have it turned down. I find with my back to the TV the TV noise soon becomes background noise. If it is that noisy with the TVs I find another place to go. Surely this isn't the only place in town and if the TVs are on and that noisy, they are trying to attract a clientele that doesn't include me. Instead of trying to change the restaurant/bar, I simply change restaurant/bar. Simple I think?

                                                                18 Replies
                                                                1. re: freia
                                                                  e
                                                                  escondido123 Dec 27, 2011 08:05 PM

                                                                  You must not live in a small town with limited choices, since we can only go to places we can walk to. Enjoy your many options, not everyone has them. Oh, I asked why, I didn't say I expected them all to change. (TVs are not just noisy, they are visually distracting and not all places give you the option to turn away.)

                                                                  1. re: escondido123
                                                                    f
                                                                    freia Dec 27, 2011 09:18 PM

                                                                    LOL I do live in a small town, and yes! I have limited choices for dining and yes we walk to those places. And yes, most if not all bar restaurants have tables that you can sit at with your back to the TV. Unless the only option you have is fixed tables and fixed benches like you have at Subway or the Food Court. And if the town is small enough, they'll know you as a patron and I'm sure be happy to turn down the volume and/or set you with your back to the TV. Unless, of course, you are the only one complaining, in which case you can always vote with your feet? Besides, you did clarify that not all restaurants in your area have bars but if you wanted bar food you couldn't order it in the restaurant part, which means that you do have a choice but might prefer bar food in a setting without the bar accessories which unfortunately includes a TV, at least, in every bar segment I've been too. After all, where would one gather with friends to watch the World Juniors on a big screen with beer? Or catch up with a group of friends in s casual environment that serves peanuts in the shell along with the beer? And that's where the money is for the owners -- groups of enthusiatic beer drinking sports fans watching the game or just hanging out when there is no big game in a causal environment with beer and snacks and more beer, not in the quiet looking for some pub food without visual or auditory noise in a bar crowd.. Its a bar. Its part of the package, IMHO. In any event, I've never had issues with sitting with my back to the screen and if it is a slow day, having the volume turned down. Just sayin;....;

                                                                    1. re: freia
                                                                      e
                                                                      escondido123 Dec 28, 2011 08:46 AM

                                                                      We are not talking beer and peanuts places where crowds go to watch the game. We are talking a nice place with wine list, carpaccio and martinis. And when you sit at the bar, you can't exactly face away from it and the side table are also positioned so you face the TVs.. Glad you like World Juniors with your buds--never interested, never will be. I don't expect the restaurants to change, just glad to see from the postings here that I am not alone. I like TV, just not when I'm out for dinner.

                                                                      1. re: escondido123
                                                                        f
                                                                        freia Dec 28, 2011 08:49 AM

                                                                        Like I said, there are other tables to use rather than sitting at the bar, looking at the TV. And if you sit at the bar, and there's a TV there, well, it is what it is.
                                                                        I think the question was: why are TVs in bars (you modified your question from the subject heading if I read correctly)?
                                                                        The answer, as stated above, is : Because it is part of a bar ambiance.
                                                                        The solution? Sit with your back to the TV or find another bar where you can sit with your back to the TV. Better yet, eat somewheres, aka in the restaurant section, where there is no TV? This kind of strikes me like complaining that there are all those KIDS at Chucky Cheese's and can't a girl have a quick piece of cheap pizza without all those KIDS? I wannna have a quick cheap piece of pizza because I like their pizza, but without ALL THAT NOISE. Its not FAIR. Bars are what they are, they have tvs, if you choose to sit at the bar itself with a tv facing you, then, meh, it is what it is.
                                                                        sigh....
                                                                        And thanks for appreciating my interest in the World Juniors... (?)
                                                                        double sigh....
                                                                        First World Problem, for sure....

                                                                        1. re: freia
                                                                          e
                                                                          escondido123 Dec 28, 2011 09:02 AM

                                                                          My question was about restaurant bars, not bar bars. Thanks for all the sighs, oh, and on this board, everything is a First World Problem

                                                                          1. re: freia
                                                                            linguafood Dec 28, 2011 09:29 AM

                                                                            I don't see what is so difficult about wanting to eat at a bar or restaurant that is more upscale (we're clearly NOT talking Chucky Cheese here) without having to look at a TV set.

                                                                            Thankfully, it's not a #firstworldproblem in most restaurants in Germany (First world, yes?)

                                                                            *Thankfully*.

                                                                            1. re: linguafood
                                                                              f
                                                                              freia Dec 28, 2011 09:37 AM

                                                                              I don't think its an issue of upscale, I think the OP is wondering why restaurant bars have TVs. To me, its pretty simple -- its just an issue of ambiance and owner/operator preference, that's all. Pretty much every restaurant bar has them. As for why they are there (OPs question) -- it must add to the ambiance or attract a clientele (otherwise they wouldn't be there). The OP also says that the town the OP lives in is so small that there isn't alot of choice in the matter, so it isn't an issue of the OP wanting to go to a more upscale restaurant bar without a TV. It is about the fact that the restaurant bars the OP chooses to frequent have TVs, and the choice to sit at the actual bar facing the TV (as the OP stated earlier in the thread) seems to be an issue (why can't I sit at the bar and not see a TV?). And I kind of say, well, it is what it is, and most posters on this thread have pointed out ways to avoid looking at the TV. I used the analogy of Chucky Cheese's simply because, to me, to go to a bar portion of a restaurant because you want to order the bar food (as the OP indicates) and to complain about the ambiance (resulting from a TV in the area, which pretty much all restaurant bars have) when the OP sits AT the bar looking at the TV (as the OP indicates above) doesn't make alot of sense. Like going to a seafood place and complaining about the overwhelming amount of fish nets and old sailing accoutrements on the walls. Or going to Chucky Cheese's and complaining about the ambiance created by the kids. Or going to a British Pub in England and complaining about the noise. It just kind of is what it is, and heck, the OP asked, no?
                                                                              OH, and btw, I know most North Americans who go to a German Gasthoff complain bitterly about the dogs in the place (owners can take their dogs into a Gasthoff in most smaller towns and let them sit under the table as long as they are behaved). No TVs, but dogs! (I personally had/have no issue with this LOL). I wouldn't imagine complaining about this as it is clearly an accepted practice that if I don't like, I can choose not to partake in (as in, I can go elsewheres? Or just ignore the dogs, as they ignore pretty much every patron in the area, they just sit and pant, so to speak).
                                                                              'Nuf said, time for me to move on - so many threads, so little time LOL!
                                                                              :)

                                                                              1. re: freia
                                                                                linguafood Dec 28, 2011 10:01 AM

                                                                                "Ambience" is in the eye of the beholder. Clearly, the OP and I agree that we prefer a TV-free dining experience.

                                                                                I'm very happy for you that it doesn't bother you, but it bothers us. Nothing wrong with stating an opinion, even if it differs from yours.

                                                                                1. re: freia
                                                                                  rockandroller1 Dec 28, 2011 11:34 AM

                                                                                  I just have to point out, since it's been mentioned more than once, that it's Chuck E. Cheese, not Chucky.

                                                                                  1. re: rockandroller1
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                                                                                    freia Dec 28, 2011 11:37 AM

                                                                                    LOL true enough, my bad on that one. It is Chuck. E. Cheese. And on second thought, I should have said "I don't like the ambiance created by the constant gunfire" not the noisy children LOLOLOL .....

                                                                                  2. re: freia
                                                                                    Bill Hunt Jan 5, 2012 08:25 PM

                                                                                    Actually, I am in hopes that my dining companions will provide me with "ambiance," but maybe others require a different stimulus?

                                                                                    Hunt

                                                                                  3. re: linguafood
                                                                                    e
                                                                                    escondido123 Dec 28, 2011 09:52 AM

                                                                                    Linguafood, you have stated the point exactly. Luckily, for most of the year it is nice enough weather here to sit outside where there has yet to be a TV (knock on wood).

                                                                                    1. re: linguafood
                                                                                      L.Nightshade Dec 28, 2011 12:02 PM

                                                                                      I do think it is an American thing. I've been on a hunt in my town for places to go and have a drink and a conversation. Most everyplace that serves cocktails has TVs on all four walls, sometimes two per wall, with the sound on. And face it, it's hypnotic. Even if one isn't interested in what's on, one stares. I didn't ever find a TV in every spot in Europe. But I think many Americans have forsaken the art of conversation for parallel play.

                                                                                      1. re: L.Nightshade
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                                                                                        ferret Dec 28, 2011 12:14 PM

                                                                                        LOTS of TVs in Europe. You just can't generalize. There are countless restaurants in the US with no TV and more European restaurants with TVs than you'd think.

                                                                                        1. re: ferret
                                                                                          L.Nightshade Dec 28, 2011 12:23 PM

                                                                                          Just speaking from my experience. I said I didn't find a TV in "every spot" like I do here. It's extremely rare in my area to find any spot to have a drink without TV. I have not had that problem in Europe.

                                                                                          1. re: ferret
                                                                                            linguafood Dec 28, 2011 12:29 PM

                                                                                            Look who's generalizing now '-)

                                                                              2. re: freia
                                                                                caseyjo Dec 28, 2011 09:26 AM

                                                                                I typically sit with my back to the tv (and ignore it in general). This backfires when whomever I'm eating with suddenly ignores me and starts talking to the television. I don't blame them, usually, since I know sports are attention-grabbing (to people who care). I do wish a tv wasn't such a given, as I'd rather the attention be focused on the food and company.

                                                                                Sports bars, of course, are a different story. I was amazed to discover that different bars cater to different teams, and they actually fill up, and no one will judge you for drinking during the daytime! But if I'm dragged to a place like that, I know what I'm getting into.

                                                                                1. re: freia
                                                                                  Bill Hunt Jan 5, 2012 08:23 PM

                                                                                  Well, I always sit with my back to the wall, and my face to the door. Hope they do not mount the TV's near the door.

                                                                                  Hunt

                                                                                2. m
                                                                                  mojoeater Dec 27, 2011 09:35 PM

                                                                                  I find it easy to ignore TV. I am doing it now! Just like at work where there are constant noises that could disrupt, I can tune it out. And in a bar situation, a TV gives all the single diners something to look at if they don't want to talk to other patrons. A bar is a bar. If you don't want TVs, dine in the dining room.

                                                                                  1. Bob Martinez Dec 28, 2011 12:42 PM

                                                                                    It's really possible to overthink this. If you're at a bar by yourself a TV gives you an option other than pulling out a book, talking to strangers, or drinking while staring off into space.

                                                                                    Assuming the TV has the volume turned off, it's not an obstacle to conversation at all. It's certainly *far* less intrusive than loud individuals or, worse yet, loud groups.

                                                                                    8 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: Bob Martinez
                                                                                      L.Nightshade Dec 28, 2011 01:29 PM

                                                                                      I don't think it's a matter of overthinking. It's a matter of having options. All of our local bars have TVs on every wall. If by some luck, the volume is off, it is because the bartender has opted to blare music. Is a quiet (perhaps even romantic) conversation and a cocktail a thing of the past?

                                                                                      1. re: L.Nightshade
                                                                                        h
                                                                                        hazelhurst Dec 28, 2011 01:41 PM

                                                                                        I don't know if a quiet conversation and cocktail is a thing of the past but in my experience it sure is endangered. I often wish I could win a lottery and open up a place without constant sports or news blaring. I have seen places that started as reasonably quiet forced into getting a dozen televisions...bar AND dining room...just because preternatual morons cannot endure a meal without the flickering box. And even if YOU try to avoid the things, you will still find yourself glancing at the screen sometimes, even involuntarily. I certainly do not expect to go to, say, the Cask & Flagon in Boston and avoid Red Sox games...that's what made the place after all...but it seems to me that every new place I've been to in the last 15 years has always had two or more bar televisions and sometimes there are more in the dining room. Maybe it is a condition of the bank loan. The sporting events that are on them draw out rebarbative, simian behavior (news flash: the players can't hear you) and it just seems to spread. More of what I often lament as the erosion of standards of public behavior.

                                                                                        Once, in Moscow during the winter, I went to dinner with friends. We were forced to sit in the bar area due to a wedding reception in the dining room. When the bartender heard English spoken, he turned their television onto an NFL game. He was just trying to be helpful but I had just though: "I've gone 8,000 miles and finally I can have dinner without a damn football game.

                                                                                        1. re: hazelhurst
                                                                                          L.Nightshade Dec 28, 2011 01:45 PM

                                                                                          I want a "like" button! Nicely said hazelhurst!

                                                                                          1. re: hazelhurst
                                                                                            coll Dec 29, 2011 04:33 AM

                                                                                            My Mom was sort of strict about our TV watching (not that there were that many channels back then) and called TV "the opiate of the masses". Speaking of Russia.

                                                                                            My father liked football but didn't it just used to be on Sunday afternoon, and then Monday night football recap? Wow I'm getting old.

                                                                                            1. re: hazelhurst
                                                                                              Bill Hunt Jan 5, 2012 08:36 PM

                                                                                              Once, it was considered the norm, but apparently times have passed me by. Same for very loud restaurants, where one cannot hear the young lady, right next to them. Guess that they could text each other?

                                                                                              As for the NFL stuff, we have stayed in Mayfair twice, recently, when there was an NFL game at Wembley Stadium, and the lobby was filled with rabid US, NFL fans. Dang, wish that I did not have to be there every October. Gonna' check the NFL dates!

                                                                                              Hunt

                                                                                              Hunt

                                                                                              1. re: Bill Hunt
                                                                                                h
                                                                                                hazelhurst Jan 6, 2012 07:12 AM

                                                                                                Well, the chirren's day will come, in about thirty years. I've seen the encraochment of US garbage in Europe since the 1960's and it annoys. The NFL efforts to get Brits to watch the stuff will contribute to more televisions there and more US football there. I understand the social lubricant angle but it irks me that som many people just go with the mob and put more money in the hands of the schemers (some woudl call them "investors." I do not expect to have to put up with US football, or European football, or cricket corwds in The Dorchester, Clardige's or the Connaught. Luckily, I can be put up by a friend on Pall Mall and I don't think that place even has a television. There are none in the rooms.

                                                                                                I hope I'll be dead by the time it happens but I can see the day when even the old grad restaurants have Big Screen. Of course, the hand-held stuff will probably beat the management to that punch. imagine Grand Vefour with a big screen television. (Maybe they have one already...have not been in years)

                                                                                                1. re: hazelhurst
                                                                                                  Chinon00 Jan 6, 2012 08:30 AM

                                                                                                  As I've asked others where do you live that you can't go to many many restaurants (grand and ungrand) that don't have TVs in the main dining room? This is utterly new to me.

                                                                                                  1. re: Chinon00
                                                                                                    h
                                                                                                    hazelhurst Jan 6, 2012 08:44 AM

                                                                                                    I'm a New Orleanian and while I can go to the big old time places I suspect our says of freedom there are numbered...as with cell 'phone. I cannot go to Commander's Palace or any other well-known restaurant without those things chirping. I've seen friends with small televisions in these places, watching an LSU or Saints game. I've had to overhear radios at Country Clubs in the past.

                                                                                                    In Baton Rouge, where I pass through often, the self-proclaimed Fine Dining Champ, Mansur's, has four televisions in its small bar and the noise of people yelling at them spills into the dining room. Formerly quiet places, e.g. The Oak Bar at the Plaza in New York, put televisions in. I just see it as the Way of the Future. People are so conditioned to it that they must have The Box everywhere. It is ancient (see Chalders and Caldicott, from British movies, aching to get the cricket scores). The idea of a Quiet Bar is anathema to the mob. Soon they'll damnd The Box to be visible from everywhere or, as I said, have a portable one at their table.

                                                                                                    I saw an excellent example of the type of person I am thinking of at a club a few years ago. I was a guest of a member and we were alone in the bar (no television) when an American, on a reciprocal club arrangement, came in on his cellular telephone, carrying his briefcase, wearing his topcoat and hat. He talked and paced for a few minutes to the obvious distress of the bartender. Then the newcomer paused and asked for a Budweiser whereupon the bartender said he'd be happy to serve when the gentleman (a) ceased use of his telephone (b) took off his hat and overcoat and (c) placed his materials, including breifcase, in the storage room by the entrance downstairs. This is a club story, of course, but the same attitude, of the young man on the telephone prevails nowadays in restaurants. There is something terribly annoying about being subjected to one-half of a conversation two tables away. So, whereas people once left the table for the telephone, they not sit and talk, Soon to be so with televisions or Table-top devices.

                                                                                        2. gaffk Dec 28, 2011 05:54 PM

                                                                                          Where I live, TVs are in most bars (but w\o sound). They are NOT in dining rooms. They are not in "nice" (albeit loud) dining rooms. They are not in bars of fine dining establishments. The sound is off unless it is a "big" game. Honestly, unless you're a sports fan, you would never notice the big screen.

                                                                                          1. BearB Dec 28, 2011 07:52 PM

                                                                                            I think the problem boils down to the increasing erosion of proper boundaries in American culture. Most people no longer seem to have a sense of decorum, of the particularities of time or place and how one's behavior, mode of dress and comportment should change correspondingly. The prevailing attitude seems to be, "Why should I have to sacrifice even the slightest bit of comfort when I could have it all just the way I want it, right here and right now?" I often feel like everyone should go back to school to learn the difference between the words "could" and "should" and maybe also take the time to analyze their own desires and try to see the longer view, try to ascertain what is actually beneficial both for themselves and for others.

                                                                                            I find it hard to believe that an absolute inundation of television noise and flash is beneficial for anyone. I am absolutely in line with those who say that they go out of an evening to enjoy company and conversation. Television is really a private choice. One can choose to own a TV or not own a TV, to hang on the edge of every insipid word and non-event broadcast regurgitated forth by those noise boxes, or decide that it's all a lot of soul- and mind-destroying trash. However, I'll reiterate again that this is all in the arena of PERSONAL entertainment. There was once a time when public places tended to err on the side of restraint. If you really want to watch TV, you can go home or go to a sports bar or a movie. However, if you want a quiet night out or even if you're somewhat undecided, then the fairer choice by those with the remote in hand is to keep ambient noise to a minimum. Allow the private space to remain the private space and the public space to be truly public and open and unobtrusive. This is the same kind of reasoning that suggests people should wear their PJ's in bed but not to the opera. When life is properly segmented, it becomes more meaningful, more special and there's more time to think about what it all means without having the day's scores loudly bullhorned into your ear.

                                                                                            As for those who say "just turn around" or "don't go to those kinds of places" or even "majority rules", I say "Don't be so fatuous". I live in an urban area where nearly all of the restaurants have been overrun with televisions, with hulking big-screens that look like they want to eat you for dinner even as you're chowing down on your own plate of fettuccine. Sitting away from the bar doesn't necessarily cancel out the TV noise, and there is no safe bet on which places will still be respectful of those patrons who want to hear themselves talk and think. It's a growing trend and therefore a growing problem. We Americans love to pride ourselves on our innumerable options, but installing televisions in every public place that are constantly blaring either sports programs or "fair and balanced" news feels like a real narrowing of my world. Especially now in the day of the highly advanced technological gadget, why can't those people who want to see the obscure college game that no one else cares about gather around their iPad rather than demanding that everyone else's visual and auditory space be dominated by it?

                                                                                            The saying goes, "There is a time and a place for everything", not "Every time and every place is for everything".

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: BearB
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                                                                                              escondido123 Dec 28, 2011 08:42 PM

                                                                                              Bravo BearB! It is difficult to be considered a priss, a prude, a Luddite or a number of other names just to want to continue with restaurants being the place for drinks and food and conversation. I truly do feel sorry for people who cannot go a minute without some technological devise telling them what to think, believe or feel. I continue to be glad that in this day I live someplace where there is usually warm outdoor space not yet invaded by TVs, though we shall see how long that lasts.

                                                                                            2. rockandroller1 Dec 29, 2011 05:18 AM

                                                                                              I had lunch at one of our nicer places yesterday, one of the few that remains TV free at the bar (and elsewhere) and had a nice chat with the bartender about this issue. She completely agreed that she HATES bars/restaurants with TVs, it makes her job feel like she's an automaton instead of giving her a chance to interact with and talk with customers, which is one of the most satisfying parts of her job. She said she won't work anywhere where there are TVs and we both derided another local, well-respected chef for having put TVs in the bars of his very, very upscale restaurants, and how the atmosphere there is just not as good. So escondido, we are not alone.

                                                                                              26 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: rockandroller1
                                                                                                Chinon00 Dec 29, 2011 08:00 AM

                                                                                                "..and we both derided another local, well-respected chef for having put TVs in the bars of his very, very upscale restaurants.."

                                                                                                Care to share which restaurant(s)?

                                                                                                1. re: Chinon00
                                                                                                  rockandroller1 Dec 29, 2011 11:43 AM

                                                                                                  I do not care to share, sorry. I respect that chef and his restaurant and food and don't want to bash, I just don't agree with the choice of TVs.

                                                                                                2. re: rockandroller1
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                                                                                                  escondido123 Dec 29, 2011 08:58 AM

                                                                                                  No not alone R&R, but it appears restaurant bar owners don't want to miss a possible opportunity to attract certain kind of customers, while repelling others. We'll see if that works out for them.

                                                                                                  1. re: escondido123
                                                                                                    Bob Martinez Dec 29, 2011 09:55 AM

                                                                                                    "No not alone R&R, but it appears restaurant bar owners don't want to miss a possible opportunity to attract certain kind of customers, while repelling others. We'll see if that works out for them."

                                                                                                    Based on the number of restaurant bars with TVs, I'd say the results are in.

                                                                                                    1. re: Bob Martinez
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                                                                                                      escondido123 Dec 29, 2011 10:08 AM

                                                                                                      Too true, too true. But there could be some restaurants that would do well if they were the one place that did NOT have TVs for those who prefer food, drink and conversation without it.

                                                                                                      1. re: escondido123
                                                                                                        Chinon00 Dec 29, 2011 10:52 AM

                                                                                                        Is this an epidemic where you live? I can name many restaurants where I can enjoy a superb meal that's "TV" free. And I honestly don't know or recall any restaurants that I've highly valued that have a TV in the dining room. Apparently you do and often?

                                                                                                        1. re: Chinon00
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                                                                                                          freia Dec 29, 2011 10:59 AM

                                                                                                          This is such an interesting thread, cause the parameters of the question moved from 'tvs in restaurants" to "tvs in restaurant bars" to "tvs in bars" to "tvs in general' back to "tvs in bars", to "tvs in restaurants" and it started also with the statement to the effect that "if I want to eat bar food in the restaurant bar of my choice there's a tv there which I don't like", which led to the obvious responses and predictable refutations...I'm kind of confused by this thread in general, so I'm running away and hiding! LOLOL :)

                                                                                                          1. re: freia
                                                                                                            Chinon00 Dec 29, 2011 11:35 AM

                                                                                                            To be clear when I say "TV free" I mean the whole restaurant (bar, dining room, etc). You are truly unfortunate to not have many options for this type of TV free dining at bars where you live. Now if you desire "TV free" at bars to be pervasive then that's another issue. But again where I live there are many options.

                                                                                                            1. re: Chinon00
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                                                                                                              escondido123 Dec 29, 2011 01:28 PM

                                                                                                              It just struck me when we went to this new place on opening night, sat down at the bar for a drink and a nice appetizer, and there were two big TVs--on during opening night! Then I counted the number of good restaurants within walking distance of my house and realized they all have TVs in the bar/restaurant depending on the layout. Guess I never noticed before because we eat outside when the weather is nice, which is most of the time here. There is no restaurant in town that is totally "TV free" as you define it.

                                                                                                              1. re: escondido123
                                                                                                                Chinon00 Dec 29, 2011 02:25 PM

                                                                                                                "There is no restaurant in town that is totally "TV free" as you define it."

                                                                                                                Can I ask where you live; or at least if it is urban, suburban, x-burbs, rural..

                                                                                                                1. re: Chinon00
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                                                                                                                  escondido123 Dec 29, 2011 04:24 PM

                                                                                                                  As my name implies, I live in Escondido about half an hour outside of San Diego, population 150,000. Has a real downtown straight out of the 1950s, very peaceful place. There are some good restaurants within walking distance, but this damn TVs will likely keep me on the patio--which is fine with me most of the time.

                                                                                                                  1. re: escondido123
                                                                                                                    Veggo Dec 29, 2011 05:06 PM

                                                                                                                    Escondito is 46% hispanic, so the TV thing in restaurants is pretty much to be expected. That's just the way it usually is - I have lived a good number of years in Mexico. Telemundo and TV Azteca are everywhere.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Veggo
                                                                                                                      L.Nightshade Dec 29, 2011 05:13 PM

                                                                                                                      That's a strange explanation. I live a few miles south of the Canadian border. Very few hispanics here, but the exact same problem.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Veggo
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                                                                                                                        escondido123 Dec 29, 2011 05:34 PM

                                                                                                                        That is not the explanation. Our Mexican population is, on the whole, fairly poor and would not be going out to eat at a restaurant that charges $10 for a martini. The last two Mexican restaurants I was in, small places, didn't have TVs going.

                                                                                                                        1. re: escondido123
                                                                                                                          Veggo Dec 29, 2011 06:09 PM

                                                                                                                          You said above that they all do. I understand the martini thing, which has little to do with TV's.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Veggo
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                                                                                                                            freia Dec 29, 2011 06:22 PM

                                                                                                                            Like I said earlier, discussing this topic is like trying to hit a moving target, the parameters of the discussion as defined by the OP keep changing, and changing, and changing....

                                                                                                                            1. re: freia
                                                                                                                              linguafood Dec 29, 2011 06:25 PM

                                                                                                                              and yet, you keep coming back to it.....

                                                                                                                              1. re: linguafood
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                                                                                                                                freia Dec 29, 2011 06:34 PM

                                                                                                                                LOLOL true, that! Kind of like looking at a car wreck, I suppose.... LOL :)

                                                                                                                              2. re: freia
                                                                                                                                EM23 Dec 29, 2011 06:36 PM

                                                                                                                                Tis the very nature of any discussion on a message board. What is wrong with that?

                                                                                                                                1. re: EM23
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                                                                                                                                  freia Dec 29, 2011 06:37 PM

                                                                                                                                  Nothing at all! Just as I said...interesting! And life should be interesting, no? :)

                                                                                                                              3. re: Veggo
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                                                                                                                                escondido123 Dec 29, 2011 06:27 PM

                                                                                                                                All restaurants that I would go to for dinner...I've only gone to Mexican restaurants, which are generally pretty casual, for lunch so those aren't the ones I'm talking about. I expect casual places to have TVs, just looking for a nice place for dinner without them. And I encourage anyone who doesn't like the discussion to just move along it's too confusing for them. ADDITION EDIT I am sorry this is confusing. I drive during the day so go to other places. At night, we can't drive so only go to places we can walk to from our home. I probably should have added that at the start.

                                                                                                                                1. re: escondido123
                                                                                                                                  Veggo Dec 29, 2011 06:33 PM

                                                                                                                                  No problema. I enjoy Mexican restaurants for lunch and dinner very often.

                                                                                                            2. re: Bob Martinez
                                                                                                              j
                                                                                                              Janet from Richmond Dec 30, 2011 04:53 AM

                                                                                                              The results are in......not being flippant. Times are a 'changin. And the people who watch TV like a good martini and carpaccio as much as the guy who does not.

                                                                                                              It also attracts regulars IME....which is the customer base for most restaurants. It's not only for sports but also provides an atmosphere of discussion on current events.

                                                                                                              1. re: Janet from Richmond
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                                                                                                                escondido123 Dec 30, 2011 07:57 AM

                                                                                                                I've always thought of liquor and "current events" as a fairly volatile combination.

                                                                                                                1. re: escondido123
                                                                                                                  Chinon00 Dec 30, 2011 08:14 AM

                                                                                                                  So not only do we not want TVs at bars but the discussion must be circumscribed as well. What are acceptable topics for discussion, the weather?

                                                                                                                  1. re: Chinon00
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                                                                                                                    escondido123 Dec 30, 2011 08:37 AM

                                                                                                                    That was a joke. Current events means politics to me and with the polarized nation it just seems like asking for trouble.

                                                                                                        2. BearB Dec 29, 2011 10:01 PM

                                                                                                          The TV thing is huge in Boston, which doesn't have a huge Hispanic population, at least not in my neighborhood. I was thinking about this whole thing today, though, and I'm sure the fact that Boston is sports-INSANE probably contributes to the expectation to be constantly plugged in. I have never once known a sports bar to close in this town. In fact, many jazz clubs and more upscale taverns attached to the best hotels have recently been converted into sports bars. In my book this is a total travesty. There's got to be more variation than that. Nothing makes a big city feel suddenly provincial more than a lack of options. Escondido, I feel for you, but I have to admit I envy the fact that you can walk to your destinations and that you can almost always sit outside. I really hope they don't come up with waterproof TVs next!

                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: BearB
                                                                                                            coll Dec 30, 2011 03:12 AM

                                                                                                            Oh they have waterproof TVs, I've seen them advertised for the back yard entertaining area.

                                                                                                            http://www.globaloutdoorconcepts.com/...

                                                                                                            1. re: BearB
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                                                                                                              escondido123 Dec 30, 2011 07:59 AM

                                                                                                              I lived in Providence before moving here a dozen years ago and don't remember all the TVs--but it could be it's all happened in the last decade. And if it makes you feel any better, I still miss snow.

                                                                                                            2. m
                                                                                                              MonMauler Dec 30, 2011 10:10 AM

                                                                                                              I really would prefer if most restaurants refrain from placing TVs in the main dining area, if the main dining area is separate from the bar area. I do not enjoy it at all when the volume from the TV (or stereo) is capable of drowning out conversations in the main dining area. In most of the restaurants around here where the maining dining area is separate from the bar, I find that they, mercifully, do not have TVs in the main dining area and the residual bar noise does not encroach upon diners eating in the main dining area.

                                                                                                              That said, I have to wholeheartedly support the widespread practice of placing TVs in the bar area, which is generally the practice at all but the highest-end eateries around me. As one who frequently dines alone, I appreciate and often take the option of focusing mainly on the TV while trying to ignore those around me.

                                                                                                              17 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: MonMauler
                                                                                                                Bob Martinez Dec 30, 2011 10:23 AM

                                                                                                                I agree completely.

                                                                                                                There is something wonderfully restful about going to a bar in the summer and having a few beers while watching a baseball game. The volume needn't be on. In fact I prefer it if it's not. It's just a great way to spend a few hours.

                                                                                                                1. re: Bob Martinez
                                                                                                                  rockandroller1 Dec 30, 2011 11:54 AM

                                                                                                                  There are actually quite a few of us who aren't sports fans. It's just hard to find ANY bars that don't also have TVs with sports. I'd be happy enough if it was 50-50 and I could just go to a bar and have a beer and relax without the dang TV in my face, but there aren't any places to do that. Or almost none, really.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Bob Martinez
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                                                                                                                    hazelhurst Dec 31, 2011 07:46 AM

                                                                                                                    I'll need to win the Lottery for this but I want to open The Quiet Bar someday. It will have a television behind a solid cabinet door and will be used when I, in tyrannical authority, allow it. I wan to put in in Baton rouge, LA, and never show any LSU event...there must be 100 people in that town that want a place to avoid the histrionics around such events. The TV will be used for the Triple Crown,,,just the races, not the crub beforehand...Indy 500, Election Night (but you MUST play..little maps with blue and red pencils...and State Funerals. Other than that, nothing. I reserve the right to choose other events. PAtrons have no say. You come to converse or be quiet, as you please.

                                                                                                                    1. re: hazelhurst
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                                                                                                                      escondido123 Dec 31, 2011 08:26 AM

                                                                                                                      That sounds wonderful hazelhurst. Maybe it would revive the art of conversation with a cocktail in hand. And then maybe there could be a change of the across the country so those of us looking for a drink sans TV could just Google "The Quiet Bar" and find the local one.

                                                                                                                      1. re: escondido123
                                                                                                                        linguafood Dec 31, 2011 09:24 AM

                                                                                                                        I admire your optimism. As for the Quiet Bar -- I'd totally go to there :-)

                                                                                                                        Happy new year!

                                                                                                                      2. re: hazelhurst
                                                                                                                        Chinon00 Dec 31, 2011 09:34 AM

                                                                                                                        You might open but you might not be open for long;]
                                                                                                                        I think you kinda gotta go one way or the other. TV or no TV in the space. Having a set (concealed or not) and having different rules would cause confusion and you'd have too many requests to turn it on. It might get ugly. Now certain places I know that do not have permanent sets do bring in big screens TV for things like the Oscars.
                                                                                                                        Short story I went w/ my cousin to a bar which had huge TVs on two floors. The place was kinda empty and we wanted to watch sports (it was NCAA tournament time). The TV was off but there was however aggressive punk music playing. I asked our waitress could we watch the games and she stated that their other guests preferred the music. I looked around and there were like maybe six guys in their late 40s. Being persistent I asked each guy his preference. None stated they wanted to hear music and all but one actually would rather watch the tournament. I tell the waitress and she simply says "well I'm still not turning it on or the music off". I continued her statement saying "because you wanna hear the music". She nodded and needless to say we parted ways.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Chinon00
                                                                                                                          h
                                                                                                                          hazelhurst Dec 31, 2011 09:49 AM

                                                                                                                          Re: might not be open for long. That's why I said I'd need to win the Lotttery. It would not be run as a business. It would be a Public Service. But I think it would pay its way amongst the curmudgeons and misanthropes who always have more fun anyway.

                                                                                                                          1. re: hazelhurst
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                                                                                                                            escondido123 Dec 31, 2011 10:24 AM

                                                                                                                            There is nothing better than an eccentric bar owner. Makes for an interesting evening and an unusual mix of patrons--and that certainly is its own entertainment.

                                                                                                                          2. re: Chinon00
                                                                                                                            t
                                                                                                                            TexSquared Dec 31, 2011 01:13 PM

                                                                                                                            If the owner heard about this he/she should have fired that waitress on the spot. She was essentially telling you and the other 6 guys, "I don't need your business". She might as well have locked the front door and put up the Closed sign.

                                                                                                                            1. re: Chinon00
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                                                                                                                              LeoLioness Jan 5, 2012 07:10 AM

                                                                                                                              What time was it? Maybe they were thinking of people who would be coming in later? I know I'm much less likely to go into a bar that has a TV on, especially if the bar is on the empty side. That always strikes me as oddly depressing. But a place playing "aggressive punk music" (redundant?) sounds much more up my alley. Maybe it's what their regular clientele prefers too?

                                                                                                                              1. re: LeoLioness
                                                                                                                                Chinon00 Jan 5, 2012 08:37 AM

                                                                                                                                To provide some background I frequented this place w/ a regular group for Eagles games every Sunday during the season and during weekend nights during the 90s. On the second floor there was a 60 inch screen also used for sports programming.
                                                                                                                                It was early afternoon between noon and 1PM. The music being played was not common for either floor in my experience there. Typically TVs were on w/ no volume and more approachable pop-rock (i.e. The Smiths, The Doors, New Order) was played but not what was being played that afternoon.
                                                                                                                                The waitress had a low stress day happening w/ virtually no customers and w/ her music playing and she wasn't gonna budge. We just took it someplace else.

                                                                                                                            2. re: hazelhurst
                                                                                                                              L.Nightshade Dec 31, 2011 12:20 PM

                                                                                                                              I want a Quiet Bar in my town! And I know a lot of others who also do.
                                                                                                                              Perhaps we can bring back witty conversation. Can you imagine a movie where Nick and Nora go into a bar and stare at the TV?

                                                                                                                              1. re: L.Nightshade
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                                                                                                                                escondido123 Dec 31, 2011 12:27 PM

                                                                                                                                You know it just occurred to me that the arrival of TVs at bars coincided with the disappearance of bartenders that could carry on a good conversation--rather than surreptitiously texting when not making a drink. Off topic....The Thin Man is my favorite movie and tonight, like every New Years Eve, we'll watch it at home with our own martinis and champagne.

                                                                                                                                1. re: escondido123
                                                                                                                                  Chinon00 Dec 31, 2011 12:53 PM

                                                                                                                                  You're many decades off:
                                                                                                                                  http://www.tvhistory.tv/1947-June-New...

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Chinon00
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                                                                                                                                    escondido123 Dec 31, 2011 01:02 PM

                                                                                                                                    That was also when many people didn't have a TV at home,let alone two or three.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: escondido123
                                                                                                                                      Chinon00 Dec 31, 2011 01:11 PM

                                                                                                                                      What's the difference in terms of the point you're attempting to make? This perceived golden age of taverns filled w/ witty banter and conversation and w/o the presence of TVs apparently only existed before there WERE TVs. Let's not act like this is a new phenomenon in America is all I'm saying.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Chinon00
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                                                                                                                                        escondido123 Dec 31, 2011 01:22 PM

                                                                                                                                        Not new, but certainly rampant and has extended far beyond bars and taverns--that's all I'm saying.

                                                                                                                        2. s
                                                                                                                          soupkitten Dec 31, 2011 01:16 PM

                                                                                                                          i think there is a really strong correlation of tvs in bar/restaurants that are open for lunch and that do not have a jukebox. establishments that rely on a strong ethnic/national regularship/identity will also have tvs a lot, playing cricket or soccer or mexican soap operas or bbc world or other international news, so that cross-cultural folks can keep up/feel at home. then obviously, sports bars will have tons of tvs.

                                                                                                                          go to a new-american dinner-only place, or a regular bar w a jukebox, or similar, and the odds of blaring tvs goes down significantly.

                                                                                                                          9 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: soupkitten
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                                                                                                                            escondido123 Dec 31, 2011 01:21 PM

                                                                                                                            Oh for a jukebox, haven't seen one of those in decades...where do they have them in your part of the world? All the "new American" places in my downtown have TVs either in the bar or on the side of the space with the bar.

                                                                                                                            1. re: escondido123
                                                                                                                              s
                                                                                                                              soupkitten Dec 31, 2011 02:56 PM

                                                                                                                              yeah, you know that is true about jukeboxes being an endangered species. though... i do see them semi-regularly, and now that i am forced to think about it, i think it's a reflection of me and where i tend to hang out. lots of punk-rock bars, small hard-rock/metal bars, blues saloons, small indie concert venues, very inexpensive/dive-y/working man's establishments. so 1) i wouldn't expect someone with maybe a little more class than myself to necessarily run in these same circles, so that's probably why you haven't seen a jukebox in a while ;-P 2) at places w a jukebox, when that sucker is on, it does tend to be ON, so maybe not any better than a blaring television....

                                                                                                                              that stinks about the restaurants in your area. maybe it is regional. my regular gyro place has tvs, as do many (but not all) taquerias. i can't, offhand, think of too many other places.

                                                                                                                              1. re: soupkitten
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                                                                                                                                escondido123 Dec 31, 2011 04:54 PM

                                                                                                                                TV vs jukebox, I'll take the jukebox every time. Used to go to a biker bar in Providence where the beer was cheap, the food was awful and the floor very sticky. We'd go late at night and run into people in black tie and everything down from there. The music was loud and everybody danced....many decades ago..

                                                                                                                                1. re: escondido123
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                                                                                                                                  soupkitten Jan 4, 2012 09:27 PM

                                                                                                                                  i love places like that, reminds me of somewhere i worked once, especially the "food was awful" part (i bartended, & didn't cook)!

                                                                                                                                  closed now, of course.

                                                                                                                            2. re: soupkitten
                                                                                                                              Chinon00 Jan 5, 2012 06:52 AM

                                                                                                                              Do you find conversation more or less difficult w/ a jukebox "blaring" versus a TV blaring?

                                                                                                                              1. re: Chinon00
                                                                                                                                Veggo Jan 5, 2012 07:11 AM

                                                                                                                                Less difficult because it is audio only, there is no need to stare at a jukebox while it is blaring. It's much more difficult to engage with one who is staring elsewhere at a screen.

                                                                                                                                1. re: Veggo
                                                                                                                                  Chinon00 Jan 5, 2012 08:45 AM

                                                                                                                                  Let's assume the person wants to talk to you. I would think that blaring audio from any source would make verbal conversation between two people difficult.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Chinon00
                                                                                                                                    Veggo Jan 5, 2012 10:05 AM

                                                                                                                                    Absolutely. When conversation is an important reason for a get-together, people should choose their restaurant accordingly. I once tried to dissuade a group of doctors from having a post-conference dinner /discussion at the Vesta Dipping Grill in Denver where the decibels are at chain saw levels, and I got ripped apart here. Go figure.

                                                                                                                                  2. re: Veggo
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                                                                                                                                    escondido123 Jan 5, 2012 09:46 AM

                                                                                                                                    Must admit that of late, I go to few places that are playing music of any kind...might interfere with the TV. Ah for the days of rock and roll.

                                                                                                                              2. j
                                                                                                                                josephnl Mar 3, 2012 10:42 AM

                                                                                                                                I occasionally eat out alone, and when doing so, I enjoy sitting at the bar where there is a bit of companionship from the bartenders and other diners. Having a tv (with the sound off and titles on) is, in these circumstances, to many (including me) a plus. As long as it is silent and only in the bar area, I don't see why it should bother anyone. It seems that others are commenting about a tv "blaring" in the bar area. Where we live, there are many restaurants that have tv's in the bar area, other several tuned to different stations, but except for a very major event (perhaps the Super Bowl, or game 7 of the World Series)..all are silent!! Of course, the tv has to be tuned to a station that is showing something which is mainly visual...such as a sporting event.

                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: josephnl
                                                                                                                                  coll Mar 3, 2012 10:54 AM

                                                                                                                                  Or the weather channel, there are a lot of fishermen "relaxing" after coming back around here. That's very appropriate now that you mention it.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: coll
                                                                                                                                    Bill Hunt Mar 3, 2012 07:31 PM

                                                                                                                                    Or, if the restaurant is in a resort with a golf course, the the Golf Channel might be fun - to show one how they SHOULD have played?

                                                                                                                                    Now, when we lived in Colorado, several restaurants in the ski areas, had tapes from that day, on the slopes. Some of those were quite funny, unless they were shot of the person, sitting to your right at the bar. Then, they could be very painful.

                                                                                                                                    Hunt

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