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Over-the-top noisy diners...what to do?

j
josephnl May 4, 2013 05:12 PM

It seems that recently we have had more than our share of really loud, truly over-the-top noisy and obnoxious diners being seated near us at very nice, upscale restaurants. On at least a few occasions, it was quite obvious that there was very excessive drinking going on. On one occasion, after complaining to management, we were moved to another table...a real pain, because we were in the middle of eating, and our food got cold, and it was very disruptive. On other occasions, the restaurant was so busy that there was no room for us to move. The restaurant management generally says that there is nothing that they can do...they usually do not want to talk with the offending party, and will not try to move them. What is the most reasonable approach to take when faced with this situation? Keep in mind, I'm not talking about neighboring diners just having a good time...I'm talking about shouting, bad language, and grossly offensive behavior. Is it reasonable to try ourselves to talk to the offending table? Is it reasonable to tell the management that unless they resolve the problem we're leaving? How do other CH's handle this?

  1. tracylee May 4, 2013 05:19 PM

    We've been fortunate the last two times this happened, although the large, loud parties were both seated before we were. The first time we asked and were moved while we were still on our appetizers. The second time, knowing the acoustics of the restaurant in that area, we asked to be seated elsewhere before we sat down. The hostess acknowledged the situation and had no problem moving us as there was plenty of available space in an area that may not have been in service that night, but was put into service for us.

    My Dad is very sensitive to loud noise and will refuse to eat if things are too loud.

    1. bagelman01 May 5, 2013 07:12 AM

      Recently had a similar experience with a loud obnoxious drinking group in a full restaurant. We were in the middle of our meal and did not want to leave. The language was more than offensive and the manager refused to talk to the offenders-they were spending hundreds on booze.

      My BIL- walked over to the group, picked up a drink glass and dumped it on the table-this got their attention fast. He told them that if they didn't control their toilet mouths, he'd call the police.
      The shock worked, they behaved in an acceptable manner for the rest of our meal.
      I wouldn't have done this, BUT BIL is 6'6" and 300+ pounds of hard muscle.

      He's also army reserve and carries a licensed firearm.

      9 Replies
      1. re: bagelman01
        grampart May 5, 2013 07:17 AM

        No doubt about it. Having a "button man" in your party can solve a lot of problems!

        1. re: bagelman01
          MGZ May 5, 2013 07:27 AM

          The problem with that, bagelman, as you are no doubt aware, is that your BIL just committed an assault. Things like that sometimes have the likelihood of escalating. Trust me, I laud your BIL's conduct and likely would have done something similar. Problem is, in my experience, when the police show up, questions usually get answered at the Station. Nothin' worse for dessert than steel bracelets.

          1. re: MGZ
            bagelman01 May 5, 2013 09:38 AM

            True, it meets the definition of common law assault, but it wouldn't get an arrest in out small town. Cops, if they showed up would have probably written up the foul mouthed louts for a misdemeanor and thanked BIL for quieting them down.

            1. re: bagelman01
              MGZ May 5, 2013 09:45 AM

              Not if the loudmouth was a cop.

              Point is that there is always an element of an unknown in a confrontation. Sadly, my actions are not always those I would advise others to take. I have scars to prove that!

              1. re: MGZ
                jrvedivici May 6, 2013 01:22 PM

                I don't know where to post this so I'll just throw it in under your response since I think you will get a kick out of it.

                I was asked to leave Big Ed's BBQ, for behavior not becoming of a family establishment.

                There is obviously a lot more behind it, but I figured you would enjoy the visual of me getting thrown out of there. lol

                1. re: jrvedivici
                  MGZ May 6, 2013 04:25 PM

                  I ate at Big Ed's once. Way I see it, they did you a favor, my friend.

                  1. re: jrvedivici
                    p
                    Puffin3 May 21, 2013 10:51 AM

                    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=neUaST...

            2. re: bagelman01
              l
              latindancer May 5, 2013 08:15 AM

              I would imagine your BIL could have had the exact same outcome had he done nothing but stand up, come to their table, and give them an 'eye'.

              I have a similar looking friend...he's extremely intimidating and people *do* respect his presence.

              1. re: latindancer
                bagelman01 May 5, 2013 09:39 AM

                Just standing there probably would have been ignored, dumping the drink, caused a stop to the vulgar conversation and got their attention.
                I would not have approached the table, period.

            3. f
              foodieX2 May 5, 2013 07:52 AM

              I find this much more common than the unruly child/crying babe scenario everyone complains about on this site. Even so it's pretty rare but I agree that many managers do not want to deal with it, especially if the loud folks are regulars or have rung up a huge tab. If they won't talk to themI have no qualms asking the offending party to keep it down, usually trying with humor.

              However in the situation you described-

              <<I'm talking about shouting, bad language, and grossly offensive behavior. >>

              I would absolutely NOT approach them. It's not worth the potential risk. Most likely folks acting that outrageous won't take any comments you have have agreeably. If management won't deal with it and you can't move I would leave. It's just dinner.

              2 Replies
              1. re: foodieX2
                j
                josephnl May 5, 2013 10:57 AM

                What would you pay for...only what was consumed before the problem arose, the full bill even for those items ordered but not consumed, nothing, a gratuity...???

                1. re: josephnl
                  f
                  foodieX2 May 5, 2013 12:00 PM

                  If my entrees had not arrived I wold tell the manager to cancel the balance of our meals and pay for what I consumed. If I already had my meal in front of me I might take them home, depending on just how bad situation was. If It was as bad as the OP said I would leave them behind.

                  I see no reason why the server should be penalized if they had done their best rectify the situation ie: listened politely, got the manager quickly, were pleasant, etc. They can't help it if their boss won't deal with it and I wouldn't expect them to have to handle offending party themselves.

                  There is only so much I can control and in the situation the OP outlined (mgt won't don't do anything, I can't move, the loud table was acting more than just loud but also in an offensive manner) why sit and suffer thru it? What do I gain by staying except having to listen the bafoons? It's one meal. There will be others, others that will never be in that establishment.

              2. j
                John Francis May 5, 2013 08:31 AM

                What do you mean by "grossly offensive behavior," besides noisy talking and bad language? Did somebody at the next table moon you? Short of that, it's not for the restaurant's management to "discipline" its customers, unless several tables complain. Did they, or was it just you?

                If you ask the offending party nicely, they might pipe down. If you won't, or they won't, it's just your bad luck. Grin and bear it, or just bear it, and if this happens at the same place more than once, stop going there.

                To do what bagelman01 describes could have gotten his party thrown out of the restaurant rather than the troublemakers, or provoked a fistfight, or worse. In this country, he might not have been the only one with a gun. Very, very risky and ill-advised.

                2 Replies
                1. re: John Francis
                  j
                  josephnl May 5, 2013 09:50 AM

                  Yes...by offensive language I mean loud shouting and using bad language.

                  Yes...others were disturbed by the behavior, and when I complained to management, I received a "thumbs up" signal from other tables.

                  No..."Grinning and bearing it" is for me, not a reasonable option when we are spending $100+/pp at a fine dining restaurant.

                  Yes...it is, imho, the restaurant's responsibility to make some effort to remedy the type of situation I am describing.

                  1. re: josephnl
                    p
                    Puffin3 May 21, 2013 10:58 AM

                    Over time place like that will attract and repel potential punters. Maybe it's better to have places where people who enjoy/need to 'act out' can congregate. Leaves other places for the rest of us who have 'outgrown' the need to act like idiots in public to 'prove' we're having a good time.

                2. l
                  latindancer May 5, 2013 10:13 AM

                  <The restaurant management generally says that there is nothing that they can do...>

                  There is nothing that they *will* do, you mean.
                  Let me say upfront that I feel your pain, truly I do.

                  Restaurant owners/managers run their business they way they want to. When I enter an establishment I really am at the mercy of the decisions they make and I need to realize that up front.
                  If a table of 8 is ordering booze, lots of expensive wine, a vast array of food and the tab is going to be high, and the customers are rude and obnoxious and loud, compared to my table of 2, it's only likely the manager's not going to make an issue of my complaint of their disgusting behavior. I think it's just a pure bottom line money making driven decision on the part of the management. He/she understands your complaint, even agrees with it, but has to make the choice.

                  11 Replies
                  1. re: latindancer
                    j
                    josephnl May 5, 2013 10:53 AM

                    I couldn't agree with you more. My questions remain...is it reasonable to approach the table yourself (not likely to help), or if the management doesn't resolve the issue, to leave, paying only for what was consumed (not ordered)?

                    1. re: josephnl
                      l
                      linus May 5, 2013 11:12 AM

                      i think approaching the table yourself is more likely to help than the management approaching them.
                      i think approaching them in the manner of the gigantic brother in law upthread is the wrong way.

                      i think if you ordered the food, you should pay for it.

                      1. re: josephnl
                        g
                        GH1618 May 5, 2013 11:15 AM

                        I would not approach other diners. In an extreme case, if a new table could not be provided, I would ask that the food be boxed to go, which would send the message. I certainly wouldn't hang around for dessert and coffee in any case.

                        1. re: GH1618
                          l
                          linus May 5, 2013 03:34 PM

                          i dunno...why pass the buck? if the diners are annoying you, doesn't it make sense to ask them politely to tone it down? that seems the logical first step to me.

                          1. re: linus
                            njmarshall55 May 6, 2013 01:43 PM

                            On the one hand, i would agree that it makes sense to politely ask them to tone it down. On the other hand, an argument could be made for saying that their poor, unfeeling behavior is indicative of who they are anywhere and you're not going to change them by being nice. It takes all kinds of people to make a world...unfortunately, these types are all too common.

                        2. re: josephnl
                          l
                          latindancer May 5, 2013 04:16 PM

                          The way you describe the offensive party, I don't think I'd confront them. If they're that wound up with drinks and partying it's highly doubtful they're going to stop the behavior. By confronting them, they may stop and apologize (or not) and whisper back and forth to each other, but I'd bet they'd be right back to the same behavior within a matter of minutes.
                          I've had it happen a few times, unfortunately, and this is usually what happens.
                          I'd simply ask the waiter to ask the manager to come over and quietly and calmly tell the manager "sorry but we're having a hard time with the party's partying and we think we're going to have to leave, we just can't take it anymore".
                          I'd ask for the check, pay for the food I'd consumed (unless there's an offered comp), tip the waiter appropriately and leave.

                          1. re: latindancer
                            b
                            Bkeats May 7, 2013 09:48 AM

                            I agree with this being what will happen. I hate to admit it but I've been at the loud table of drunks having a good time. (Hangs head in embarrassment) More often than not, its a table full of guys having a good time and not paying attention to what's going on. You start with cocktails, have several bottles of wine and finish with scotch and everyone at the table is shouting and laughing. Occasionally someone might come by to tell us we're being loud. We will all sheepishly apologize and be quiet for 10 minutes but then the volume will pick up again. If someone came and dumped a glass on the table, there's a very strong possibility of escalation so I would be wary of that. No matter how big one guy might be, a table of 8 guys hopped up on booze in a testosterone challenge might get ugly.

                            1. re: Bkeats
                              l
                              latindancer May 7, 2013 10:18 AM

                              LOL...

                              I've been with parties like that and that's why I think it's best to not escalate the situation by confronting anyone. All it might do is fuel an already heightened situation, given the amount of liquor consumed.
                              It really should be judged situation to situation, with a little intuition mixed in.
                              I don't think there's any *one* way to deal with it.

                              1. re: Bkeats
                                j
                                Jerseygirl111 May 14, 2013 11:44 AM

                                What if a woman came up to the table? Would it make a difference?

                                1. re: Jerseygirl111
                                  f
                                  fourunder May 14, 2013 11:52 AM

                                  It can make a difference, but ultimately, there is still a chance violence can occur.

                                  Back in the 80's when I used to run nightclubs....I used female bouncers exclusively to handle customers...both at the door and for any incidents.......but to be safe, undercover security was always present and in the background just to be safe as an added measure of protection.

                                  1. re: Jerseygirl111
                                    b
                                    Bkeats May 14, 2013 11:58 AM

                                    And did what? If she asked us to quiet down, we would. But 10 minutes later we would be back at full volume. If she dumped a drink on the table, I wouldn't be surprised if she got an un-lady like response back.

                          2. g
                            GH1618 May 5, 2013 11:11 AM

                            There's not much that can be done that's appropriate. You can ask for a new table, but if you are well into your meal, that may not be a good option, and another table may not be available anyway. You can suffer through it and express your displeasure to the host on the way out.

                            Going forward, you can avoid restaurants in which this seems to be a common problem (one incident wouldn't mean that). You can look over the seating and ask for a table which seems to be relatively quiet.

                            I've experienced this, but only rarely. I just chalk it up to bad luck and don't worry about it.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: GH1618
                              l
                              LeoLioness May 5, 2013 12:01 PM

                              I agree 100%.

                            2. LaLa May 5, 2013 06:50 PM

                              I live in a rambunctious tourist town but I rarely run into this problem. Reading this an old quote popped into my head....you run into an a$$hole in the morning, you ran into an a$$hole; you run into a$$holes all day, you're the a$$hole."

                              1. k
                                kengk May 6, 2013 07:48 AM

                                Consume large quantities of alcohol and get so loud that the offending party asks YOU to quiet down.

                                I like beevod's idea a great deal also.

                                1. b
                                  BuildingMyBento May 6, 2013 09:58 AM

                                  Pretty much anywhere in China. Baijiu provides a baptism-by-fire on a daily basis.

                                  If the offenders are being obnoxious and loud, I'll probably not stay in the restaurant, or will get take-out.

                                  If they're making a toast every two minutes and mystifying the waitstaff, it makes for good entertainment.

                                  Though, in many countries, just as unfortunate as noisy diners is a smoke-filled restaurant, so really it's a game of Russian roulette, though slightly less dramatic.

                                  I don't eat out much in NYC, but previous dine-ins have shown that the East Village has many a banshee in the making.

                                  BuildingMyBento
                                  http://collaterallettuce.com/

                                  1. rockandroller1 May 6, 2013 10:33 AM

                                    I would never, never approach the other diners. As someone pointed out below, you never know anymore who is carrying a firearm, and while drunk, they could intend to just show you the weapon to tell you to STFU and they'll do what they want, and instead end up shooting someone, even killing them. People who are drinking have lowered inhibitions, you have to remember that, and they're not going to take kindly to anyone telling them to tone it down unless it's their spouse or SO sitting next to them or someone within their own group.

                                    I just leave when it's like this. I make it clear to the server that we are done, NOW, bring the bill for whatever we have already received and consumed because we are out of there.

                                    7 Replies
                                    1. re: rockandroller1
                                      j
                                      josephnl May 6, 2013 11:39 AM

                                      Do you think you are obligated to pay for items ordered, but not yet served? Or what about that bottle of wine thats only just been opened?

                                      1. re: josephnl
                                        d
                                        Dirtywextraolives May 7, 2013 02:05 PM

                                        I'm sure, if you explained to the host/manager/server why you were leaving, and offered to buy the bottle, they will recork it and you can safely & legally take it home with you, as long as its in your trunk or back seat, in case you got pulled over. That's legal here in LA, anyway.

                                        1. re: Dirtywextraolives
                                          f
                                          foodieX2 May 7, 2013 02:11 PM

                                          And finally in Mass too. They have special bags that are sealed on the premises so as long as the seal isn't broken it can be anywhere in your car. So nice not to be limited to by glass when I am the only one that wants white!

                                      2. re: rockandroller1
                                        The Chowhound Team May 6, 2013 11:46 AM

                                        Folks, could we please not go down the guns are good/bad path in this thread again. It keeps coming up, but it very quickly gets away from anything that has anything to do with food or dining and it's the kind of political argument that we really don't think is on topic for the site.

                                        Thanks.

                                        1. re: The Chowhound Team
                                          f
                                          fourunder May 6, 2013 04:46 PM

                                          but it very quickly gets away from anything that has anything to do with food .....

                                          This is the *Not About Food * board.....

                                          1. re: fourunder
                                            g
                                            GH1618 May 6, 2013 04:50 PM

                                            Evidently, you didn't bother to read the guidelines.

                                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/360953

                                            1. re: GH1618
                                              f
                                              fourunder May 6, 2013 09:24 PM

                                              Evidently, neither did you......

                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/367605

                                      3. NonnieMuss May 6, 2013 11:43 AM

                                        It is truth universally acknowledged that asking someone to keep it down automatically makes you the a-hole. It's one of those mysteries of life - whether it's a neighbor thumping bass, loud restaurant louts, or bottle rocket-shooting teens. You are the bad guy, no matter how politely you ask, how in the right you are, and how terrible the disturbance. I have never understood this rule.

                                        17 Replies
                                        1. re: NonnieMuss
                                          l
                                          linus May 6, 2013 03:57 PM

                                          i must live in a different universe. i still don't see the harm in something along the lines of a cheerful, "hey guys, could you tone it down in volume just a tad, please? thanks."

                                          1. re: linus
                                            j
                                            josephnl May 6, 2013 04:14 PM

                                            Unfortunately, the kind of persons I'm describing...shouting, using bad language, and probably drunk are probably unlikely to respond positively to even the most polite request to quiet down. Thus the quandary.

                                            1. re: josephnl
                                              l
                                              latindancer May 6, 2013 06:40 PM

                                              That's right, josephni.

                                              Even if they *do* respond positively and quiet down, it's usually temporary. They're drunk. They'll, most likely, pick it right back up again within a few minutes.
                                              That's been my experience, anyway.

                                              1. re: josephnl
                                                l
                                                linus May 6, 2013 09:52 PM

                                                well, you dont know until you try. it would be my first step. lots of nice people use bad language. maybe they didnt realize how loud they were being. maybe they didnt know they were bothering anybody.
                                                whats the harm in asking?

                                                1. re: linus
                                                  hyacinthgirl May 7, 2013 06:01 AM

                                                  I'm mostly with you, linus, but I'd play it by ear. A lot of rowdy groups are rowdy in friendly, if obnoxious ways. I think it's generally pretty easy to judge if this is a cantakerous group of ex-cons who are spoiling for a fight or a group of people who've done a few too many shots and are being loudly loose lipped about the dates they went on last week. Generally speaking, I think there's no harm in very politely asking them if they don't mind toning it down a tad. Latindancer is right, even if they do, it will probably be temporary, but generally speaking I think there's no harm in asking.

                                                2. re: LeoLioness
                                                  l
                                                  latindancer May 7, 2013 08:19 AM

                                                  <is it possible you are a little over-sensitive?>

                                                  Holy sh&*t.
                                                  What else is there to say.

                                                  1. re: latindancer
                                                    l
                                                    LeoLioness May 7, 2013 08:24 AM

                                                    I eat out frequently, at all levels of places and I can honestly say I can't recall hearing patrons screaming obscenities nor exhibiting "grossly offensive behavior". It seems many others on this board are also "lucky" like this.

                                                    That's all I'm saying.....

                                                    1. re: LeoLioness
                                                      k
                                                      kengk May 7, 2013 08:33 AM

                                                      Maybe they (the lucky ones) are the ones being complained about in this thread.

                                                      1. re: kengk
                                                        f
                                                        foodieX2 May 7, 2013 08:57 AM

                                                        Seriously? We can't happen to live in area where (generally) people behave themselves? The reason instead must be that I, along with my husband, are the loud and obnoxious ones?

                                                        Way to dismiss the whole argument as well as the OP.

                                                      2. re: LeoLioness
                                                        mcf May 7, 2013 08:53 AM

                                                        I think the later you dine and the more often you eat out, the more likely you are to have encountered it. Thankfully, not usually to the degree it makes inhabiting the same space unbearable, but often to at least the level of less than pleasant.

                                                        There's no reason to dismiss the subject by trying to label other posters as chronic whiners.

                                                    2. re: josephnl
                                                      b
                                                      Beach Chick May 7, 2013 08:29 AM

                                                      I've entertained in a festive party scene with drinks and have not realized how loud we had gotten and had the manager come over and tell us to please keep it down and we all felt horrible and zipped it up and usually I'll buy some dessert or drinks for the table and extend my sincerest apologies.

                                                      1. re: Beach Chick
                                                        l
                                                        latindancer May 7, 2013 10:13 AM

                                                        <dessert or drinks for the table and extend my sincerest apologies.>

                                                        That's really thoughtful of you, Beach Chick, to do that.
                                                        I'm always the one in the group, perhaps with one or two others, who's aware of the people around me in situations like you're describing where we may be a little too boisterous after a few drinks. To apologize, and quiet it down, is the right thing to do.

                                                        1. re: latindancer
                                                          j
                                                          jlhinwa May 7, 2013 03:46 PM

                                                          Good point, latindancer, about being one in the group to be aware of what's going on. Unless all groups of this type (loud, alcohol-fueled, etc.) are taking public transportation, there *should* be at least one sober person in the group...isn't it reasonable to think that if they are the dd, that they might also be aware of the level of boisterousness and its impact on others?

                                                          I don't drink, so have been the dd on a number of occasions. Normally I'm out with restrained companions and there isn't an issue, but if I were with a group who were out of line, as the sober/sane one in the crowd, I would feel compelled to put the kabosh on my friends' obnoxious behavior

                                                          1. re: jlhinwa
                                                            l
                                                            latindancer May 8, 2013 07:37 AM

                                                            Well, I can't exactly say I'm always the completely sober one in a crowd when I go out and we're having fun and partying.

                                                            I will say, however, that I've been known to hold my liquor a little better (or differently?) than some of the people I've been with. I think it gives me a little edge to be aware of the other customers around us. Being I'm super vigilant about not infringing on another's space I'll try and make sure it doesn't get out of hand. I've always been stickler for that and even when I've had a few drinks I'm still aware of it. Obnoxious, loud and offensive drinking/behavior in public is just not something I'm known for but not everyone, when they're drinking, behaves the same as the next.

                                                            1. re: latindancer
                                                              j
                                                              jlhinwa May 8, 2013 10:44 AM

                                                              Your point is extremely valid, there are vast differences in how alcohol affects people. It's sometimes interesting, sometimes highly amusing, and other times absolutely annoying to be the only sober person among people who are really getting their liquor on. By now, I have learned whose company to avoid when there will be excessive imbibing.

                                                    3. re: linus
                                                      f
                                                      foodieX2 May 6, 2013 06:47 PM

                                                      That's my tact but the OP described patrons who don't appear to care about their surroundings. Clearly a group yelling, shouting, swearing and acting offensively are not going to be shamed by humor, or god forbid, a party sending over a frail, elderly person. At least not for more than a few moments.

                                                      1. re: foodieX2
                                                        f
                                                        foodieX2 May 6, 2013 07:00 PM

                                                        Responded to wrong post!

                                                  2. 512window May 6, 2013 01:31 PM

                                                    If the restaurant management refuses to try to speak with the offending party, I would probably try to send someone from your party. I would select the oldest and frailist person you have - they can ask the shouters to pipe down. People tend to respond to grandma when they won't to anyone else.

                                                    However, I would let the manager know that you will never be back to that establishment because they refuse to manage it. If you are steady customers, that may have some effect.

                                                    6 Replies
                                                    1. re: 512window
                                                      k
                                                      kcshigekawa May 6, 2013 04:23 PM

                                                      In an ideal world...send my mother...she would look over the tops of her glasses at them and ask "Is this how your mothers raised you to behave?"

                                                      1. re: kcshigekawa
                                                        l
                                                        LeoLioness May 7, 2013 07:10 AM

                                                        Honestly, I'd probably burst out laughing if someone came over and asked that...moms don't instill fear in everyone.

                                                        1. re: LeoLioness
                                                          MGZ May 7, 2013 07:14 AM

                                                          Agreed. Moms only instill fear in their own children.

                                                          1. re: MGZ
                                                            l
                                                            LeoLioness May 7, 2013 07:40 AM

                                                            And not even then, sometimes. Everyone's relationship (and probably, how they view someone else's mother) is different.

                                                            1. re: LeoLioness
                                                              MGZ May 7, 2013 07:47 AM

                                                              I think you're right. After a coupla months of therapy, I was healthy enough to barely even really respect my Mother, much less fear her.

                                                      2. re: 512window
                                                        l
                                                        latindancer May 6, 2013 06:41 PM

                                                        They've been drinking. They've already proven they're not acting within reason.

                                                      3. mbfant May 7, 2013 01:38 AM

                                                        I can think of two recent occurrences of loud (but not otherwise offensive) tables near me, loud enough to impede conversation at my own table, both times in very upscale places, one of which was tiny, so you can imagine. Both times we just suffered, figuring there was no solution. The people weren't behaving badly, beyond acting as though they were the only people in the room. I believe we made our feelings known to the server, but didn't expect, and didn't get, anything more than sympathetic eye rolling.

                                                        However, I have had one good experience with loud diners. In Italy, in a place in the absolute sticks in the Marche, there was a large party in a private dining room adjacent to the main room where we were, no doors as I recall. They were talking very loudly and our small table of three was unable to converse. We asked the owner if he could possibly do anything. He went directly in and spoke quietly to the group. I heard somebody say "They're right" and others murmur agreement, and they quieted right down. Of course, in Italy loud talking is more likely to be the result of natural exuberance than excess alcohol.

                                                        16 Replies
                                                        1. re: mbfant
                                                          c
                                                          cresyd May 7, 2013 03:05 AM

                                                          I think that so many of these scenarios result in the ability to accurately access the type of patrons, the type of restaurant, and how the patrons would respond (and how the restaurant would respond in case the loud patrons responded poorly). Where I live now (outside the US), there is both a culture of lound/boistrous talking - but also there tends to be an agressive streak of "we're entitled to X". Not that I see the average patron getting physically aggressive - but rather starting a fairly aggressive/shouting arguement. Also, if things went south - I see restaurant management being more on the side of the large party.

                                                          This is my assessment based on my years living here, dining here. Though I'm sure there are many cases that would surprise me - the highly likely potential downside would inform my decisions. If I was in a restaurant in my hometown in the US in such a situation - I'd feel comfortable behaving differently.

                                                          1. re: mbfant
                                                            roxlet May 15, 2013 11:39 AM

                                                            "Of course, in Italy loud talking is more likely to be the result of natural exuberance than excess alcohol."

                                                            Whoa! That's like something out of an old guide book about the "natural exuberance" of those loud, friendly, Italians. Surprised to hear this from someone who lives there, but I guess you're not Italian...

                                                            1. re: roxlet
                                                              mbfant May 28, 2013 10:58 PM

                                                              I know the sort of comment from guidebooks that you mean, and I'm sorry if mine sounded like that. It wasn't my intention at all, and you're absolutely right. However, over my decades in Italy I have observed over and over that Italians do not require excessive alcohol to have a good time, while Anglos (generally, as a group, of course, with many exceptions) do.

                                                              Here's an example. Some years ago my choir organized a late-December concert with an English orchestra. The orchestra came to Rome en masse and stayed in the homes of the choir members. My husband and I invited everybody to our apartment for New Year's Eve. The Italian harpsichordist played piano bar all evening. The Italians were charming, well-behaved, and generally allegri, singing and dancing and never showing any behavior that would make a hostess hold her breath. Meanwhile, the English drank more and more. One of them told me I was very brave to invite them to my home -- and these were cultivated, educated people who play baroque musical instruments. I found Christmas crèche figures later under the sofa, broken, and black footmarks on the walls. Fortunately I found the (English) tenor soloist asleep on my bed before the last of the still-sober Italians had left. I barred the door with my arms and wouldn't let them out without the tenor. It took some doing, but they eventually got him up and out. Over and over throughout the years, I've observed Italians have a good time without drinking to excess while others overdo it and have less fun. I am absolutely not saying that normal Italian behavior is stereotypical hand-waving and shouting. I AM saying, however, that when Italian groups in restaurants in Italy exceed in the decibels, it is probably not because they have exceeded in the drinks.

                                                              1. re: mbfant
                                                                roxlet May 29, 2013 05:25 AM

                                                                That sounds like an unusual night, but stereotyping one national group (Anglos are drunks and need alcohol to have a good time) to prove the stereotype of another (Italians are naturally exuberant and don't need alcohol to have fun) isn't exactly how to go with this.

                                                                1. re: roxlet
                                                                  mbfant May 29, 2013 06:36 AM

                                                                  Let us be clear: I never called any group "drunks," a noun I cannot ever remember using, here or elsewhere. I referred to instances or habits of drinking or excessive drinking, which is very different.

                                                                  In my several decades of cohabitation with and observation of both groups, I have noted that the one usually needs more alcohol than the other to loosen up and have a good time, and this often excessive use of alcohol may lead to the unpleasant behavior described repeatedly in this thread. It is not ethnic stereotyping to say that certain cultures have the habit of drinking hard liquor, often too much, often long before food is served, while others habitually drink moderate amounts of wine and only with food. Obviously, the many moderate drinkers and teetotalers of northern Europe and North America are probably not the people displaying the obnoxious behavior of this thread. And too, obnoxious people don't have to be drunk to be odious, but it often helps.

                                                                  1. re: mbfant
                                                                    roxlet May 29, 2013 09:45 AM

                                                                    OK, I take back the word "drunks," which in my lexicon is used to describe people who drink excessive amounts of hard liquor. But have it your way, maybe we can agree on inebriates. In my life, living among Italians both in the US and in Italy, I would never have characterized my family (and others) -- both here and in Italy -- as being "naturally exuberant." It's a nice thing to be, but it doesn't come as a birthright.

                                                                    1. re: roxlet
                                                                      mbfant May 29, 2013 09:55 AM

                                                                      Perhaps you would accept this: When Italians are exuberant (or vivacious, talkative, or even loud), it is more likely to be from natural causes than from excessive drink.

                                                                      1. re: mbfant
                                                                        roxlet May 29, 2013 10:22 AM

                                                                        And those "natural causes" would be?

                                                                        1. re: roxlet
                                                                          j
                                                                          josephnl May 29, 2013 03:08 PM

                                                                          Do you not acknowledge that some cultures/nationalities tend to be more exuberant and outgoing, whereas others tend to be more reserved and shy/introverted (of course, with countless exceptions)? I'm surprised that anyone would question this. This is not meant to imply that one, is in any way, preferable to the other, it's just cultural difference that is obvious and apparent to anyone who has done much travel. It's not imho, inaccurate to refer to these differences as "natural".

                                                                          1. re: josephnl
                                                                            roxlet May 29, 2013 03:55 PM

                                                                            No, I don't acknowledge generalizations like that. In fact, I think they're extremely denigrating. The fact that you say that there are "countless exceptions" proves that generalizations like that are essentially useless, to say nothing of being racism in sheep's clothing.

                                                                            1. re: roxlet
                                                                              l
                                                                              linus May 29, 2013 04:30 PM

                                                                              if you'll allow, a hypothetical:

                                                                              i go on a pleasure/business/whathaveyou trip to some exotic foreign land.
                                                                              i get back, and go to dinner with friends. i tell them i just got back from ________ (insert exotic foreign land of choice here).
                                                                              they ask me, among other things, "how did you find the people there?"

                                                                              i respond with something like, "i found the people very _______(insert adjective(s) here)."

                                                                              are you saying my response is racist?

                                                                              thanks.

                                                                              1. re: linus
                                                                                roxlet May 29, 2013 05:04 PM

                                                                                I am fairly certain that you'd be talking about the people with whom you came in contact. So, no,

                                                                                1. re: roxlet
                                                                                  l
                                                                                  linus May 29, 2013 05:10 PM

                                                                                  thanks for the response.

                                                                                  if you'll indulge me further:

                                                                                  a friend of mine is going on a pleasure/business/whathaveyou trip to an exotic foreign land.
                                                                                  he/she tells me about it and is very excited about the trip.
                                                                                  i say,
                                                                                  "well, i've never been there, but i hear the people are very ______ (insert adjective here)."

                                                                                  is my response racist?

                                                                                  thanks.

                                                                                  1. re: linus
                                                                                    h
                                                                                    Hobbert May 29, 2013 05:17 PM

                                                                                    When I went to Thailand, I found the people incredibly friendly. I talked to our tour guide and mentioned that people here (in the US) aren't half as nice and she explained that a friendly demeanor is a very Thai trait and they often go out of their way to keep encounters pleasant. I'm not sure which of us was racist is that equation...

                                                                              2. re: roxlet
                                                                                j
                                                                                josephnl May 29, 2013 06:48 PM

                                                                                Of course, generalization is inviting criticism. Every generalization has multiple exceptions. Nevertheless, to deny that cultures differ in what is considered "normal" behavior is imho naive, and to suggest that I am a racist for so believing, is personally insulting. Some folks eat with their hands...in other cultures this is considered rude! Some folks pick their teeth at the dinner table...in other cultures this is considered rude. In some cultures touching food with your left hand is considered gross, and then here in the States, we don't think twice about it. Lighten up...of course there are differences in what is acceptable and the norm in different parts of the world.

                                                                                I love Italy. It's probably my favorite international destination. Of course the referenced video below is an extreme exaggeration, nevertheless it's funny and certainly there is at least a bit of truth to it:

                                                                                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tzQuuo...

                                                                                1. re: roxlet
                                                                                  b
                                                                                  Bkeats May 30, 2013 05:41 AM

                                                                                  What you describe is not racism. Its about national cultures that exist regardless of race. Has nothing to do with race at all. If you don't think certain national cultural traits that can be identified exist, then you haven't traveled much.

                                                                                  As an example, one of my best buddies is a brazilian guy of japanese descent. Pop quiz: Where is the largest population of people of japanese descent not in Japan? Brazil. Well he has the exuberance that one would expect of a Brazilian. He lived for a while in Japan. There is a sizable community of Japanese-Brazilian expats in Japan. They will tell you that even being of Japanese background and speaking Japanese, they don't fit in culturally in Japan. The native Japanese view the Brazilians like aliens because they are exuberant and not reserved. There were even stories in the news about this phenomenon. Japan vs Brazil. Very different cultures even for someone of the same "race."

                                                              2. k
                                                                kengk May 7, 2013 08:39 AM

                                                                Taking another tack at this subject; I think that frequently the loud and obnoxious diners are performing for the room. Anybody agree?

                                                                5 Replies
                                                                1. re: kengk
                                                                  h
                                                                  Hobbert May 7, 2013 08:41 AM

                                                                  Yeah, totally agree. It's often a "look at me! I'm so interesting/entertaining that you all are lucky to be in my orbit" mentality. Bleh.

                                                                  1. re: kengk
                                                                    hyacinthgirl May 7, 2013 10:48 AM

                                                                    My guess would be the opposite- loud and obnoxious diners are usually unaware of the room. The only exception I could see would be a group of young guys who happened to notice a group of young girls and were trying to peacock, but that's more of a bar than a restaurant phenomenon.

                                                                    1. re: hyacinthgirl
                                                                      f
                                                                      fourunder May 7, 2013 12:29 PM

                                                                      Having been in the restaurant business for decades.....I can tell you both sexes are capable of loud and obnoxious behavior, with or without foul language used.

                                                                      1. re: fourunder
                                                                        hyacinthgirl May 7, 2013 12:38 PM

                                                                        Oh that part I'm fully aware of. The only single time I've ever been bothered by a loud obnoxious group in a restaurant, it was a group of middle-aged women.
                                                                        I was asserting that if the loud group were behaving so as a performance for the room's benefit, the group might be more likely to be young men. But even that I'm not sure of.

                                                                        All in all, I think most loud groups are unaware of the room around them.

                                                                        1. re: hyacinthgirl
                                                                          MGZ May 7, 2013 12:56 PM

                                                                          "The only single time I've ever been bothered by a loud obnoxious group in a restaurant, it was a group of middle-aged women."

                                                                          Funny thing is, I am more comfortable "dealing" with a group of loud, drunk, twentysomethin' guys than a table fulla cougars pretending that they're still in their Carry Bradshaw days. The former might back down in a confrontation, the latter can truly inflict significant damage against which I have no defenses - like kryptonite in heels and perfume.

                                                                  2. Kris in Beijing May 13, 2013 05:57 PM

                                                                    As was mentioned once, dining out in China gives you ample opportunity to be in the presence of the OP's aforementioned "shouting, bad language, and grossly offensive behavior."

                                                                    Take a group of jet lagged, not used to baiju foreigners who are trying to impress their business associates or their innocent 23yr old chaperones... and add an expensive restaurant.

                                                                    Oi.

                                                                    Whenever Management approaches, the table is most likely to try to order something more outrageous-- and that's just more RMB or dollars for the till.

                                                                    However, it's so normal that you just shrug and go on--eat and keep aware of the show, or leave.
                                                                    I've been at dinners where we simply Texted Each Other because it got so loud-- or passed around one phone where people just added comments to a "thread."

                                                                    In the end, you get a good story-- or maybe a "bad story"-- to tell.

                                                                    1. j
                                                                      josephnl May 14, 2013 12:25 PM

                                                                      I am the op. This past Saturday evening we were having a wonderful dinner at a very upscale ocean view hotel restaurant not far from where we live. Although crowded, it was at first delightfully quiet, with very nice live classical guitar music in the background. And then...a very loud group of 8 was seated right next to us. They had obviously been drinking, and were literally shouting back and forth across the table. After about 10 minutes, I decided that I would ask them as tactfully and nicely as I could, that "I would very much appreciate it if they could try to please keep it down just a bit, so that we could also talk". I was as nice and polite as was possible. The immediate reply was "I don't give a sh-- what you think. Get out of my face". I truly found this response shocking...these were well dressed people, likely educated, and obviously of some means (this was a very upscale, expensive restaurant).

                                                                      I immediately asked the manager if we could be moved...and he complied, but not with any apology or sense of understanding. Needless to say, what should have be a wonderful evening was not. Nothing else to say, except I guess this kind of rudeness is seemingly becoming more prevalent.

                                                                      12 Replies
                                                                      1. re: josephnl
                                                                        l
                                                                        LeoLioness May 14, 2013 12:27 PM

                                                                        It seems like it certainly is for you.

                                                                        1. re: josephnl
                                                                          f
                                                                          foodieX2 May 14, 2013 03:38 PM

                                                                          See, I would have just left. Especially if the management could have cared less. Just because one is well dressed and eating at a high end place does not mean one is a) educated b) wealthy or c) are capable of public decorum.

                                                                          Life is too short for that crap. After listening to the noise and then being spoken to in such a manner my night would have already been ruined. Why stick around? Even if the place is HUGE I doubt the noise would be that much diminished. I would have left and either gone elsewhere or called it a night.

                                                                          1. re: foodieX2
                                                                            j
                                                                            jlhinwa May 14, 2013 08:40 PM

                                                                            "Just because one is well dressed and eating at a high end place does not mean one is a) educated b) wealthy or c) Erie capable of public decorum."

                                                                            I often say that class is a state of mind, not an economic circumstance....of course the people who think bragging about their financial means or educational pedigree would argue.

                                                                            1. re: jlhinwa
                                                                              b
                                                                              Bkeats May 15, 2013 06:11 AM

                                                                              Well that's the difference between what class a person is of versus a classy person. High or low class does not correlate with having class. r=0.

                                                                          2. re: josephnl
                                                                            JAB May 15, 2013 07:38 AM

                                                                            I'm shocked that you were shocked.

                                                                            1. re: JAB
                                                                              j
                                                                              josephnl May 15, 2013 07:57 AM

                                                                              I guess that since I approached them in as polite and gracious manner as possible, and used words such as appreciate, kindly, etc., I expected something a bit more civil.

                                                                              1. re: josephnl
                                                                                JAB May 15, 2013 08:04 AM

                                                                                You can certainly hope for the best case scenario but, my dealings with our species have left me unfortunately cynical.

                                                                                1. re: josephnl
                                                                                  b
                                                                                  Beach Chick May 15, 2013 08:21 AM

                                                                                  Sorry to hear that josephnl. .

                                                                                  The older I get, the more I realize that there are more D bags in the world then I realized.

                                                                              2. re: josephnl
                                                                                hyacinthgirl May 15, 2013 10:21 AM

                                                                                Josephnl- this does seem like it happens to you more than it happens to many of the other posters to this board. Sorry if this has already been answered, but, could it have to do with where and when you're dining? What region are you in? And do you usually dine late, on Friday or Saturday nights?

                                                                                1. re: hyacinthgirl
                                                                                  j
                                                                                  josephnl May 15, 2013 11:25 AM

                                                                                  We eat out often....probably a total of 5 nights/week including almost always Friday and Saturday. We generally eat at nicer, more upscale restaurants, so perhaps our expectations are higher. We, of course, realize that restaurants tend to be noisier than they were in the past and have learned to accept this. What I am talking about here is, I think, well beyond the norm of people just having a good time. I'm talking about shouting, often vulgar language, and usually pretty heavy drinking.

                                                                                  1. re: josephnl
                                                                                    hyacinthgirl May 16, 2013 09:17 AM

                                                                                    It may simply be that your frequency of eating out lends itself to more frequently encountering all sorts of bad experiences, from a statistical standpoint.
                                                                                    I do still wonder about the time you usually dine, though? If you tend to eat later, you might encounter more heavy drinking and loud behavior than if you tended to eat earlier in the night.

                                                                                    1. re: hyacinthgirl
                                                                                      j
                                                                                      josephnl May 16, 2013 02:54 PM

                                                                                      Actually, we tend to dine relatively early...about 6:30. But we do tend to be quite leisurely, and you are right, generally noisy groups tend to come in later.

                                                                              3. n
                                                                                NaeShelle May 14, 2013 06:01 PM

                                                                                As someone who frequently dines with people who are loud & obnoxious, I can say it is rarely done on purpose & unless they've been drinking, asking they to quiet down will work.
                                                                                If they've been drinking, try and spot the sober one - we're more commonly known as the "People of Reason" and will be the ones doing a variation of hiding behind our hands and whispering "shut up!" to our companions.
                                                                                I've had people pull me aside before and ask me to get my table under control, and, as long as they genuinely asking (i.e. were not complete assholes about it), I have had no problem making my dinner guests put up (as in pay for the food & leave) or shut up.
                                                                                A lot of times we're unaware of just how much it really does bother people & figure if we wait it out things will be fine. Just ask us to quiet down; we shouldn't respond TOO badly.

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: NaeShelle
                                                                                  Heidi cooks and bakes May 15, 2013 06:28 AM

                                                                                  The bottom line is, when people have been drinking, reason and decorum go out the window. You can't reason with a drunk. I wouldn't even try.

                                                                                  You did the right thing by removing yourself from the situation.

                                                                                2. t
                                                                                  taos May 15, 2013 06:22 AM

                                                                                  Choices are limited.

                                                                                  1. Ask to be moved to a different table.
                                                                                  2. If that is not possible, leave.

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: taos
                                                                                    j
                                                                                    James Cristinian May 28, 2013 04:21 PM

                                                                                    I'm not trying to be contentious, but leave, as in walk the check, pay for a partially eaten meal, or pack everything up in a doggy bag.

                                                                                  2. Atomic76 May 18, 2013 01:15 AM

                                                                                    You could always mention to the manager that you intend to write a poor review of the place on something like Yelp, perhaps even naming them personally in the review.

                                                                                    You could also point out that if the table is getting that hammered, the restaurant could risk a liability as well as losing their liquor license for allowing them get that drunk.

                                                                                    I would also point out to the manager, that if the table is disturbing you, they are likely disturbing others as well and that you may not be the only table to walk out over this.

                                                                                    1. p
                                                                                      Puffin3 May 21, 2013 10:44 AM

                                                                                      We don't go to those sorts of restaurants.
                                                                                      It's not hard to tell what type of restaurant it is when you first walk in the door. We just turn around and leave.

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: Puffin3
                                                                                        j
                                                                                        josephnl May 21, 2013 12:38 PM

                                                                                        Unfortunately, it's not always easy to tell upon arriving at a restaurant. At the very upscale restaurant that prompted this thread, when we arrived the restaurant was only ~1/3 full, there were only soft-spoken twosomes seated near us, and the ambiance was wonderful. It was only when we were well into our meal that a very loud, obviously heavy drinking large group was seated near us, and then everything changed.

                                                                                      2. girloftheworld May 28, 2013 04:01 PM

                                                                                        Actually it is not legal to cuss or use offensive lanuage in public- it is not part of your "freedom of speech"...

                                                                                        Lucky for me I am a kid so I can usally give them a shameful look and say "wow and they say teenagers are bad" then I hold up my cell phone and pretend to be video taping them.. this usally shames them into quieting down,

                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: girloftheworld
                                                                                          MGZ May 29, 2013 05:29 AM

                                                                                          "Actually it is not legal to cuss or use offensive lanuage in public- it is not part of your "freedom of speech"..."

                                                                                          Actually, that is a significant oversimplification and not true. See, e.g., Cohen v. California, 403 U.S. 15

                                                                                          1. re: girloftheworld
                                                                                            h
                                                                                            Hobbert May 29, 2013 06:57 AM

                                                                                            That's only partially true. Also, I wouldn't videotape people in an attempt to shame them. You don't know who you're dealing with and it may not go as you expect.

                                                                                            1. re: girloftheworld
                                                                                              l
                                                                                              LeoLioness May 30, 2013 07:23 AM

                                                                                              How many people burst out laughing at you when you do this?

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