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Aug 11, 2013 05:17 PM

TV in restaurants?

The other day we were very excited to eat a new hole in the wall, one that been highly recommended here. We get there and there is a giant TV filling up half the space. Dh and I made accomodations, while poor 4yo was absolutely mesmerized the whole time and couldn't eat. It was about 10 x the size of her and was towering over her head. I think I also grossly overate (either that or the food was so good! Doowee in Sommerville MA) because the TV was so loud and right over me. Finally because 4yo wasn't eating and we were the only patrons, we asked if they could briefly turn off the TV. No problem.
Ok great, so why are there TVs everywhere, especially in ethnic restaurants that might be more of a sit down environment? I find this awful and terribly distracting for everyone involved. It also just seems to be getting worse.

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  1. was it more of a "pub" where people mught want to catch a game?
    I know of a very popular elegant eating establishment that had TVs installed just for for TOPchef one season..or during World Cup time...

    1. The original comment has been removed
        1. People just can't sit and enjoy a meal and each other anymore. Godamn texting and cellphone use in restaurants ruin it for me. C'mon you can't turn it off for an hour?

          5 Replies
          1. re: mrbigshotno.1

            You are so correct.

            At a recent visit to a Paris Michelin 3-star restaurant, two younger members of one party, spent the entire evening texting. The parents, and grandparents tried to get them involved, but they refused, and continued to text for the entire evening. I was glad when they finally left.


            1. re: Bill Hunt

              My thought when I read this is: who is paying for those cellphones? Because if it's the parents, there's one very easy way to get them to stop texting when asked.

              1. re: Cachetes

                we have a no phones at the table rule. ..

                even for guests

              2. re: Bill Hunt

                Bill, were these young people with your party, or are you so bothered by this that even the sight of it (at another table) is upsetting. I DO get it, but think maybe you could use a good vacation. ;o]]]]]

                1. re: Midlife

                  They were in another party, but spent the entire evening texting, and even left their family, to find a quiet corner, to continue that activity.

                  Were they in my group, I would have put a stop to that activity, but they were not - it is up to the parents, and (in this case) grand-parents, to teach some tact.


            2. I actually notice fewer televisions in restaurants than I used to. Pretty much if I see televisions up it is in a pub/sports bar, and if it is in a restaurant it is in the bar section. These are fine with me as the main reason I go to a pub is to a) watch a Wildcats game or b) play Buzztime trivia with friends.
              I did see a television in a pizza place a while back. It seemed weirdly out of place.

              17 Replies
              1. re: Firegoat

                AFAIAC, if a restaurant has TVs, it IS a sports bar, regardless of what it serves. I have never seen a TV in a restaurant that does not have a liquor license. They want people to plant themselves at the bar or table and drink for hours on end.

                The presence of a TV is a huge turn-off for me. I am unlikely to return, unless it is for take-out.

                1. re: greygarious

                  I think the notable exception to a sports bar is an "ethnic" restaurant (and by that, I mean representing a cuisine of an migrant group to whatever locale it's located) that has a TV where the show television from their place of origin.

                  My initial thought was all of the Ethiopian restaurants I'm familiar with have televisions where in addition to sports they also show Ethiopian television. But the more I think about it, a Korean restaurant where I live (and is the only Korean restaurant that I know of in Israel - so it's not like there are other options), always has on Korean music television - never sports. Growing up as a kid, the Vietnamese restaurant we went to showed (what I assume) was television in Vietnamese. All of these restaurants that I mention, as well as serving awesome food, also serve as quasi-community centers for their ethnic groups. It's not a turn on for me, but when my options are absolutely no Korean food, or ignoring K-Pop music videos - I'm ok with ignoring the TV.

                  I guess based on my experience, I could use "place that has a TV showing ethnic shows/news/sports" as a sign of likely tracking locals and being more authentic.

                  1. re: cresyd

                    Yes, it's like going to a Pakistani restaurant, where every TV is tuned to the Al-Qaeda Network.


                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                          I'm trying to come up with a response that isn't obscene, but I'm not having much luck.

                        2. re: Bill Hunt

                          I have never heard of the Al-Qaeda TV Network.

                          1. re: Tripeler

                            Well, they are active in many countries, and can be picked up elsewhere. They are not just in the Middle East any more.


                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                              Or you get a satellite dish.

                              Speaking of a number of Ethiopian restaurants or restaurant/bars I know in Jerusalem - it doesn't necessarily mean the food will be good. But they do attract locals.

                            2. re: Tripeler

                              You have never heard of Al Jazeera ?

                              1. re: Hobbert

                                Al Jazeera is probably the best news organization anywhere in the world right now. I get a lot of my news from them.

                                1. re: JonParker

                                  I completely agree. I find they present a pretty balanced view of the news. And it's interesting to get it without an American bias. I'm a bit skeptical about the existence of an Al Qaeda channel though....

                                2. re: Hobbert

                                  I think Bill is trying to be funny.