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Apr 24, 2014 05:03 PM

Noisiest Restaurants in Boston

I just read the Boston Globe article about noise levels in restaurants ( After reading the comments, I am so pleased that others have been taking notice, too.

Before the restauranteurs accuse me of being ancient or out of touch, I am by no means some old fogie that can't take some decimals; I enjoy a good band at The Sinclair or The Middle East from time to time, but you know what? When I'm having a meal with friends, I'd like to speak with them in a normal voice and enjoy our time together. Good food, drink, and conversation, it's as simple as that.

My advice is turn OFF the tv's (what is it with Boston and tv in eating and drinking establishments?!?), turn the music way, way down, and install some sound proofing.

Without further ado, here's a short list of Noisy Boston Restaurants:

- Highland Kitchen (love the food, but it's hopeless)
- Posto
- Bronwyn
- The Painted Burro (yes, it's still too loud, even after the redo)
- Foundry on Elm

So as not to be completely pessimistic, a gold star to backbar.

I'll add more as the deafening memories come back.

Please add your own for the benefit of all.

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  1. The noisiest restaurant I've ever been to into life is Lincoln in Southie.

    Makes Highland Kitchen (which I love) seem like a library.

    It's insanely loud. But the food is pretty good.

    1 Reply
    1. re: C. Hamster

      I spaced that one. Duh. Lincoln was so loud, even for lunch, it knocked me unconcious.

    2. I had an absolutely abysmal dinner at Delfriscos. The music was so deafening we were actually screaming at the server who had to bend down to take our order. Thankfully my sister finally was able to convince the manager to get the music turned down much the delight of the tables around us.

      Some of the worst food I have had and I went in with *very* low expectations. The most agregious was the constant up selling of...lobster tails. This is Boston folks. We asked if they were local. No they were "cold water" lobster-delicious! Are they from Maine? No, they are "cold water". What does that mean? They are from cold water oceans, you'll love them. Are they fresh? Absolutely! They are fresh frozen! Fresh frozen??? He finally relented and said they were Australian frozen lobster tail. Seriously?

      2 Replies
      1. re: foodieX2

        I had a similar experience at Ward 8 - once we sat down we contemplated leaving because it was so loud, but wanted to stay to check it out since a friend had shared great things.

        Too bad the food was bad, the cocktails weren't great, and we couldn't hear each other speak.

        1. re: foodieX2

          We had an impossible time hearing in DelFrisco's. One of the loudest restaurants that I've been in Boston.

        2. Here is a thread from last year about noisy restaurants in the area.

          Ate at Tico last year ( or the year before) and the Bf and I could barely hear each other.
          State Park can also get pretty loud.
          Last week ate at Strip T's for the first time and I was surprised by how loud it was for a Wed(?) night. But I think it was because there were a couple large groups also eating.

          it always seems noisier when it's just the two if us. Usually we just eat quietly and eavesdrop. I feel like when in part of a group I don't notice the noise as much and it's easier to converse.

          When I ate at ICOB I couple years ago I expected it to be loud. Large with a lot of hard surfaces. Was pleasantly surprised.

          6 Replies
            1. re: 4estchows

              Interesting to see the article mention some of the same places from the thread.

              1. re: viperlush

                Yeah, you'd think that some of the establishments would have changed for the better over the last year or so. I'd love to hear (no pun intended) how some employees find the noise levels.

                1. re: 4estchows

                  I definitely think that The Painted Burro has gotten a lot better (it was way too loud for us before the makeover, now we think it's fine), though obviously others disagree, including you.

            2. re: viperlush

              From the article:
              "Gone are the days of carpets, thick draperies, and yummy chair fabric,” says hotelier Robin A. Brown, former general manager of Four Seasons Hotel Boston. “People got bored with boring energy levels in restaurants so there’s a general demand for more excitement and animation.”

              Is it really people want hard uncomfortable surfaces with a lot of noise or are restaurants getting tired of the expense of cleaning table clothes, drapes, and upholstered chairs? or are they trying to make people uncomfortable just to turn tables?

              It reminds me of those developers building micro apartments claiming that people want 400 sqft apartments for $2000/month.

              1. re: viperlush

                MC got it right; restaurants do not want patrons to linger so noise is used to get the cattle moving.

            3. Cinquecento, by far the loudest Boston-area restaurant I've dined at over the last couple of years. My voice was hoarse after a Saturday night dinner in the middle of the dining room.

              3 Replies
              1. re: BlueTrain84

                same owners as gaslight. besides that the food is mediocre the din in both is awful.

                west bridge can be unbearably loud as well. i will only go off-hours now.

                i see live music a few nights a week and have no problem with that being loud. but it's not what i want when i am out to eat. AT. ALL.

                1. re: hotoynoodle

                  Ate at Gaslight twice. Along the back/side near the bathrooms was ok for the four of us. Along the windows was loud for the four of us. I couldn't imagine what it would be like at one of the center tables.

                  1. re: viperlush

                    we ate at the bar. i was literally driven out by the noise both times.

              2. Decibels. Decibels, not decimals. Gosh dern auto-spellcheck!