Noise and Restaurants, Part Two

Noise and Restaurants, Part Two

If you want great tips on how to deal with a noisy restaurant, check out restaurantnoise.com – a whole blog about noisy restaurants.

And if you live in Toronto, you can check this link to radio station “Classical 98.3fm” (owned by Moses Znaimer of MTV fame) and find the station’s list of quiet eating places and noisy ones. It seems to be up-to-date, at least as of June 2012.  Hopefully other cities will start such a site? Let me know if your city has such a listing and I will post it on the blog.

There is a lot of information available about how to reduce noise in restaurants. This 2011 “Inside Scoop”  article is about Richard Skaff, the Executive Director of ‘Designing Accessible Communities’ in San Francisco. His goal is to get the state of California to introduce legislation to control noise in places like restaurants.

And here is a link to an article that looks at ways to reduce noise in restaurants by using different materials, etc.

And here is a link to a very interesting story about a restaurant, again in SF, where restaurant owner John Paluska hired Meyer Sound to design and test a

“… relatively new technology that controls reverberation levels with the press of a button. By using a combination of sound absorption materials, microphones, speakers and a digital processor, Paluska can make his restaurant as loud or as soft as he wants.”

Is that cool or what?  Here is a video about Paluska’s restaurant. It does sound quiet! If anyone eats there or has eaten there, let me know and I will post your story.

And here is a video from a noisy restaurant in Italy. As you watch/listen, you get to see great photos from Italy – the Amalfi coast, I think.  So, sure, if I was sitting on a veranda perched high on the Amalfi coast, overlooking the Mediterranean, I might put up with some noise.  But probably I would try to find a way to diminish the noise, especially if it was someone singing “It’s Amore”!

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And then there is the issue of NOISE heard OUTSIDE restaurants:

Lots of restaurants, especially during the summer, have music outdoors, especially if they have a patio. (Full disclosure: I have played music in such places myself.)  But neighbours can get quite aggrieved at the noise/sound level. There is a hotel near our place which has loud blues bands on its patio every Friday night during the summer. The patio is right on the edge of the river, so the sound blasts across the water; we can hear it in our house, and we are about ¾ of a mile away. Those who live closer get an even worse bombardment, once a week. Fortunately, summer season is over, so the restaurants in this part of the world (Ontario, Canada) have ended their outdoor music programming.

Here are some videos about this issue:

  1. video of noise from restaurant – outside, not just inside http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rt_MQRvY5mk
  2. the County Line Restaurant on the news: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=znDApXsf8fw

And yet we have to recognize that restaurant owners who have live music in or outside their businesses see it as a draw for customers. And it provides work for musicians too. In this news clip video, you can hear about their situation, providing some insight into their side of the issue.  (Not that I am very sympathetic, I must say!)

And here is a situation that is very nerve wracking. A restaurant in NYC (!?) built a HVAC system and…. Well, watch the video and see what you think!

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So what is to be done?  As someone who dislikes noise more and more, I am not very sympathetic to the situation of restauranteurs. I think they need to seriously reconsider how they design their businesses, taking into account that many people rate noise in a restaurant as a major problem. It isn’t just a handful of overly sensitive curmudgeons who are bothered. In addition, there is the concern for the hearing health of employees. They need to realize that we don’t need or want noise around all the time. We could be quite happy sitting, eating and talking in a calm, peaceful quiet restaurant. Maybe restaurant reviewers will again start adding a noise level rating system to their reviews, letting customers and owners know that noise is on the agenda.

OR we can starting making like John Rebus and disconnect the sound systems.

OR – the ear plug manufacturers can start marketing their products to another chunk of the population.

OR maybe restaurants can hand out earplugs with their menus!

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Sirens: Follow up item re: sirens:  an amusing video in which a tornado warning siren starts up at an inopportune moment!

 

One MORE tidbit re: sirens – University of Western Ontario here in Ontario has a weather warning siren system in place!

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