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Restaurants That Are Too Loud

Restaurants That Are Too Loud
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  • Restaurants That Are Too Loud

    Post #1 - December 4th, 2015, 9:42 am
    Post #1 - December 4th, 2015, 9:42 am Post #1 - December 4th, 2015, 9:42 am
    I might be the only one here who cares about this, but we'll find out sooner or later by the response or lack of it to this topic.

    It seemed to me it could be a public service for the group to compile a list of restaurants whose noise levels may approach levels dangerous to human hearing. It's been an unfortunate trend--restaurants so bent on creating a "happening vibe" that they make it literally impossible to hear the people at your own table, and cause your ears to need to go through a recovery period after leaving the place before they function normally again.

    Exposure to loud sound over a prolonged time is known to cause permanent hearing loss. So this is a public health issue. I'd like to see consciousness raised over this public health issue as it is over other restaurant-related issues of public health, like food sanitation.

    Restaurants which my experience (not measured with a VU meter) says have been too loud include Boltwood before some successful noise abatement, and Piccolo Sogno Due (which may have done some noise abatement since my visit a year ago or so).

    Others in your experience?
    Pithy quote here.
  • Post #2 - December 4th, 2015, 4:03 pm
    Post #2 - December 4th, 2015, 4:03 pm Post #2 - December 4th, 2015, 4:03 pm
    I've been saying this for years, only to be demeaned as a pre-senior citizen curmudgeonly-type. (Am not! :evil: )

    Just in my neck of the woods (North Shore/Northwest Suburbs), two right off the bat for which I could stand earplugs would be Di Pescara in Northbrook Court and Wildfire/Lincolnshire. Holy moly--there's no reason for these people to be screaming at each other two feet away. When one has to shout to be heard at the other side of a six-top, that's just wrong. It was--honestly--worse than Kuma's Corner/Schaumburg, but I expected that at Kuma's going in. I have given both of the others a vacation, and they won't miss a beat.

    Conversely, I had a wonderfully serene meal last July at Eddie Merlot's/Lincolnshire. High ceilings, drapery-laden walls, hushed tones, that's the ticket. The food was good, overpriced, but we're talking sonic quality here.
  • Post #3 - December 4th, 2015, 5:03 pm
    Post #3 - December 4th, 2015, 5:03 pm Post #3 - December 4th, 2015, 5:03 pm
    Haha I'm looking for the like button here....
    "If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay home."
    ~James Michener
  • Post #4 - December 4th, 2015, 5:06 pm
    Post #4 - December 4th, 2015, 5:06 pm Post #4 - December 4th, 2015, 5:06 pm
    It must be the young metalhead in me but I've never been to a restaurant that I would categorize as too loud.
  • Post #5 - December 4th, 2015, 5:34 pm
    Post #5 - December 4th, 2015, 5:34 pm Post #5 - December 4th, 2015, 5:34 pm
    Still better than the trendy night club where you have to scream the name of the drink you want. Those days are way behind me.
  • Post #6 - December 5th, 2015, 3:36 am
    Post #6 - December 5th, 2015, 3:36 am Post #6 - December 5th, 2015, 3:36 am
    RAM in Rosemont...seriously sitting next to my 80 year old mother and shouting to be heard. No surprise our order had two mistakes on the last visit.
    D.G. Sullivan's, "we're a little bit Irish, and a whole lot of fun"!
  • Post #7 - December 5th, 2015, 9:03 am
    Post #7 - December 5th, 2015, 9:03 am Post #7 - December 5th, 2015, 9:03 am
    Blackbird. I could hardly hear the person seated next to me. This was a few years ago; perhaps they've done some noise abatement since.
  • Post #8 - December 5th, 2015, 10:21 am
    Post #8 - December 5th, 2015, 10:21 am Post #8 - December 5th, 2015, 10:21 am
    As much as i love the food @ Publican, I can't go anymore because of the noise level. It's a conscious decision in the design that's one of the main causes. Reflective surfaces have a lot to do w/it. On a new project I'm doing in Greektown, we've gone to great lengths to help curb noise by using acoustic floating tiles, curved walls, upholstered banquettes etc... That's what we want, though I wouldn't mind the crowds Kahan gets.
    "In pursuit of joys untasted"
    from Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata
  • Post #9 - December 5th, 2015, 11:51 am
    Post #9 - December 5th, 2015, 11:51 am Post #9 - December 5th, 2015, 11:51 am
    Agree on Publican. I'm reluctant to go again.
    We went to the Duck Inn, and it was fine when we arrived (it was early) but when the place filled up (the back dining room) we were shouting to each other.
    Also had problems at Big Jones with a group of six.
  • Post #10 - December 5th, 2015, 12:02 pm
    Post #10 - December 5th, 2015, 12:02 pm Post #10 - December 5th, 2015, 12:02 pm
    I imagine for as many as it appeals to, it turns an equal amount off.
    "In pursuit of joys untasted"
    from Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata
  • Post #11 - December 6th, 2015, 10:34 pm
    Post #11 - December 6th, 2015, 10:34 pm Post #11 - December 6th, 2015, 10:34 pm
    Jazzfood wrote:As much as i love the food @ Publican, I can't go anymore because of the noise level. It's a conscious decision in the design that's one of the main causes. Reflective surfaces have a lot to do w/it. On a new project I'm doing in Greektown, we've gone to great lengths to help curb noise by using acoustic floating tiles, curved walls, upholstered banquettes etc... That's what we want, though I wouldn't mind the crowds Kahan gets.


    Great al fresco in the summer and that is how I generally handle it there. I also love the food and service there.
    Ava-"If you get down and out, just get in the kitchen and bake a cake."- Jean Strickland

    Horto In Urbs- Falling in love with Urban Vegetable Gardening
  • Post #12 - December 6th, 2015, 10:47 pm
    Post #12 - December 6th, 2015, 10:47 pm Post #12 - December 6th, 2015, 10:47 pm
    pairs4life wrote:
    Jazzfood wrote:As much as i love the food @ Publican, I can't go anymore because of the noise level. It's a conscious decision in the design that's one of the main causes. Reflective surfaces have a lot to do w/it. On a new project I'm doing in Greektown, we've gone to great lengths to help curb noise by using acoustic floating tiles, curved walls, upholstered banquettes etc... That's what we want, though I wouldn't mind the crowds Kahan gets.


    Great al fresco in the summer and that is how I generally handle it there. I also love the food and service there.

    I like The Publican so much, I generally make an exception for it; because it is on louder end of the noise spectrum. It's still totally worth it when the circumstances are right. But if I'm going out to eat with people I haven't seen in a while and want to catch up with them, The Publican probably doesn't get the nod. OTOH, if I'm with people I see more frequently or want a quick couple of high-quality bites before a trip to the UC, The Publican is always at the top of my list.

    Fwiw, as I get older, I realize that my ability to have quality conversations in louder spaces has diminished a bit. So for me, a noisy restaraunt is more my problem than the fault of any given establishment. A place that's too loud for me may not necessarily be too loud for a majority of other prospective diners. But yes, of course, some places are just louder than others. For that reason (and many others), not every place is going to be a good fit for everyone.

    =R=
    I just wanna live until I gotta die. I know I ain't perfect but God knows I try --Todd Snider

    Do you know the muffin man? --Max Beckmann

    Twitter: ronniesuburban
  • Post #13 - December 6th, 2015, 11:04 pm
    Post #13 - December 6th, 2015, 11:04 pm Post #13 - December 6th, 2015, 11:04 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:
    pairs4life wrote:
    Jazzfood wrote:As much as i love the food @ Publican, I can't go anymore because of the noise level. It's a conscious decision in the design that's one of the main causes. Reflective surfaces have a lot to do w/it. On a new project I'm doing in Greektown, we've gone to great lengths to help curb noise by using acoustic floating tiles, curved walls, upholstered banquettes etc... That's what we want, though I wouldn't mind the crowds Kahan gets.


    Great al fresco in the summer and that is how I generally handle it there. I also love the food and service there.

    I like The Publican so much, I generally make an exception for it; because it is on louder end of the noise spectrum. It's still totally worth it when the circumstances are right. But if I'm going out to eat with people I haven't seen in a while and want to catch up with them, The Publican probably doesn't get the nod. OTOH, if I'm with people I see more frequently or want a quick couple of high-quality bites before a trip to the UC, The Publican is always at the top of my list.

    Fwiw, as I get older, I realize that my ability to have quality conversations in louder spaces has diminished a bit. So for me, a noisy restaraunt is more my problem than the fault of any given establishment. A place that's too loud for me may not necessarily be too loud for a majority of other prospective diners. But yes, of course, some places are just louder than others. For that reason (and many others), not every place is going to be a good fit for everyone.

    =R=


    Where is the climate change so al fresco has a longer season here! :mrgreen:
    Ava-"If you get down and out, just get in the kitchen and bake a cake."- Jean Strickland

    Horto In Urbs- Falling in love with Urban Vegetable Gardening
  • Post #14 - December 6th, 2015, 11:11 pm
    Post #14 - December 6th, 2015, 11:11 pm Post #14 - December 6th, 2015, 11:11 pm
    riddlemay wrote:I might be the only one here who cares about this, but we'll find out sooner or later by the response or lack of it to this topic.

    It seemed to me it could be a public service for the group to compile a list of restaurants whose noise levels may approach levels dangerous to human hearing. It's been an unfortunate trend--restaurants so bent on creating a "happening vibe" that they make it literally impossible to hear the people at your own table, and cause your ears to need to go through a recovery period after leaving the place before they function normally again.

    Exposure to loud sound over a prolonged time is known to cause permanent hearing loss. So this is a public health issue. I'd like to see consciousness raised over this public health issue as it is over other restaurant-related issues of public health, like food sanitation.

    Restaurants which my experience (not measured with a VU meter) says have been too loud include Boltwood before some successful noise abatement, and Piccolo Sogno Due (which may have done some noise abatement since my visit a year ago or so).


    Others in your experience?


    I think the default now is too loud. This thread on quiet spots is perhaps of greater use.
    viewtopic.php?f=14&t=25870&start=30
    Ava-"If you get down and out, just get in the kitchen and bake a cake."- Jean Strickland

    Horto In Urbs- Falling in love with Urban Vegetable Gardening
  • Post #15 - December 7th, 2015, 3:24 am
    Post #15 - December 7th, 2015, 3:24 am Post #15 - December 7th, 2015, 3:24 am
    I was w/Ronnie and co @ Publican a few yrs ago when I decided I had enough. We started early and it was fine. Food as always, was excellent. By the time we left, it had filled up, and we were literally yelling. Doesn't appeal to me so for that reason I'm out (and go to great lengths to avoid similar settings.)

    Like the solutions, although what is this climate change you speak of?
    "In pursuit of joys untasted"
    from Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata
  • Post #16 - December 7th, 2015, 11:19 am
    Post #16 - December 7th, 2015, 11:19 am Post #16 - December 7th, 2015, 11:19 am
    ronnie_suburban wrote:Fwiw, as I get older, I realize that my ability to have quality conversations in louder spaces has diminished a bit. So for me, a noisy restaraunt is more my problem than the fault of any given establishment. A place that's too loud for me may not necessarily be too loud for a majority of other prospective diners. But yes, of course, some places are just louder than others. For that reason (and many others), not every place is going to be a good fit for everyone.


    This is definitely so. And younger people may not detect the problem with extremely loud noise. But that doesn't mean their hearing isn't being damaged by it, whether they know it or not.

    That is one reason I'd like to see the whole public consideration of this problem moved from the subjective to the objective. Certain sustained decibel levels cause hearing damage, just as second-hand smoke can cause lung damage.

    Some people are not "subjectively" bothered by second-hand-smoke. Nevertheless, we as a society moved the issue of exposure to smoke out of the realm of personal preference and into the realm of public policy, for good reasons.
    Pithy quote here.
  • Post #17 - December 7th, 2015, 1:51 pm
    Post #17 - December 7th, 2015, 1:51 pm Post #17 - December 7th, 2015, 1:51 pm
    I booked Cafe Spiaggia for our anniversary dinner in part based on this thread and this piece in Crain's Chicago Business on quiet places for business lunches.
    Last edited by pairs4life on December 8th, 2015, 4:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
    Ava-"If you get down and out, just get in the kitchen and bake a cake."- Jean Strickland

    Horto In Urbs- Falling in love with Urban Vegetable Gardening
  • Post #18 - December 8th, 2015, 3:56 pm
    Post #18 - December 8th, 2015, 3:56 pm Post #18 - December 8th, 2015, 3:56 pm
    Good call, Pairs! It's a lovely, calm place with all sorts of interesting nooks and crannies, plus a fine menu. The basil ice cream is delicious--if they still have it!

    Enjoy!

    Geo
    Sooo, you like wine and are looking for something good to read? Maybe *this* will do the trick! :)
  • Post #19 - December 10th, 2015, 11:42 am
    Post #19 - December 10th, 2015, 11:42 am Post #19 - December 10th, 2015, 11:42 am
    Perhaps I'm naive but I'd be shocked to learn that the noise level at any restaurant could reach dangerous or damaging levels for customers. Annoying or disruptive? Sure. Is potential hearing damage a function of prolonged exposure? If so, then the issue would still be one that affects employees much more directly than customers, right? Are there OSHA regulations that pertain to worksite decibel levels? It seems to me that if this issue is going to ever be addressed, it would have to start there. Kind of like the smoking ban, I think, which was implemented in regard to employees, not customers.

    =R=
    I just wanna live until I gotta die. I know I ain't perfect but God knows I try --Todd Snider

    Do you know the muffin man? --Max Beckmann

    Twitter: ronniesuburban
  • Post #20 - December 10th, 2015, 12:05 pm
    Post #20 - December 10th, 2015, 12:05 pm Post #20 - December 10th, 2015, 12:05 pm
    From the DOL website:

    "OSHA sets legal limits on noise exposure in the workplace. These limits are based on a worker's time weighted average over an 8 hour day. With noise, OSHA's permissible exposure limit (PEL) is 90 dBA for all workers for an 8 hour day. The OSHA standard uses a 5 dBA exchange rate. This means that when the noise level is increased by 5 dBA, the amount of time a person can be exposed to a certain noise level to receive the same dose is cut in half.

    The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has recommended that all worker exposures to noise should be controlled below a level equivalent to 85 dBA for eight hours to minimize occupational noise induced hearing loss. NIOSH has found that significant noise-induced hearing loss occurs at the exposure levels equivalent to the OSHA PEL based on updated information obtained from literature reviews. NIOSH also recommends a 3 dBA exchange rate so that every increase by 3 dBA doubles the amount of the noise and halves the recommended amount of exposure time.

    Here's an example: OSHA allows 8 hours of exposure to 90 dBA but only 2 hours of exposure to 100 dBA sound levels. NIOSH would recommend limiting the 8 hour exposure to less than 85 dBA. At 100 dBA, NIOSH recommends less than 15 minutes of exposure per day."

    Here are some examples of noises at the various levels.

    Definitely not likely to be damaging to anyone in a couple of hours--though you may feel its effects. But potentially harmful to those subjected to it for long periods of time on a daily basis.
    Last edited by boudreaulicious on December 10th, 2015, 12:34 pm, edited 2 times in total.
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #21 - December 10th, 2015, 12:30 pm
    Post #21 - December 10th, 2015, 12:30 pm Post #21 - December 10th, 2015, 12:30 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:...the issue would still be one that affects employees much more directly than customers, right? Are there OSHA regulations that pertain to worksite decibel levels? It seems to me that if this issue is going to ever be addressed, it would have to start there. Kind of like the smoking ban, I think, which was implemented in regard to employees, not customers.


    I absolutely agree that the workplace-safety frontier is the frontier on which this battle has to be fought. (I was going to say something along those lines but felt I'd gone on long enough. I'm glad you picked up on the implication in my second-hand-smoke remarks.) And I'm grateful to boudreaulicious for the OSHA regulations. I wasn't able to make her link work, but I found my own.

    https://www.chem.purdue.edu/chemsafety/ ... levels.htm

    Turns out a power lawn mower is between 96 and 100 db, so I have no trouble believing restaurant workers in the loudest restaurants are subjected to noise levels louder and longer than the OSHA limits. The only question is raising consciousness of the issue, so that someone will bring a case.
    Pithy quote here.
  • Post #22 - December 10th, 2015, 12:34 pm
    Post #22 - December 10th, 2015, 12:34 pm Post #22 - December 10th, 2015, 12:34 pm
    Link fixed.
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #23 - December 13th, 2015, 8:53 am
    Post #23 - December 13th, 2015, 8:53 am Post #23 - December 13th, 2015, 8:53 am
    Article from LA Times measuring noise level in restaurants.

    Turns out the noise level in some places really is in excess of OSHA limits as forwarded by boudreaulicious, depending on the number of hours an employee is exposed.
    Pithy quote here.
  • Post #24 - December 13th, 2015, 2:14 pm
    Post #24 - December 13th, 2015, 2:14 pm Post #24 - December 13th, 2015, 2:14 pm
    riddlemay wrote:Article from LA Times measuring noise level in restaurants.

    Turns out the noise level in some places really is in excess of OSHA limits as forwarded by boudreaulicious, depending on the number of hours an employee is exposed.

    Ok but it seems pretty clear that as they pertain to customers, the most you can say about noisy restaurants is that they're annoying and disruptive. Considering the amount of time a customer generally spends in a restaurant, it doesn't appear that noise levels there pose lasting dangers for them. That doesn't seem true for employees and that sucks but really, we're talking about 2 separate issues -- one relatively minor and one quite serious.

    =R=
    I just wanna live until I gotta die. I know I ain't perfect but God knows I try --Todd Snider

    Do you know the muffin man? --Max Beckmann

    Twitter: ronniesuburban
  • Post #25 - December 13th, 2015, 3:07 pm
    Post #25 - December 13th, 2015, 3:07 pm Post #25 - December 13th, 2015, 3:07 pm
    Extremely relevant excerpts from the linked LAT article:

    Picca: "It's always crowded ..."

    Bottega Louie: " ... every seat in the house is filled ..."

    A-Frame: " ... [decibel level was] 90.3 And as at Picca, nobody seems to mind."
    fine words butter no parsnips
  • Post #26 - December 13th, 2015, 6:57 pm
    Post #26 - December 13th, 2015, 6:57 pm Post #26 - December 13th, 2015, 6:57 pm
    Roger Ramjet wrote:Extremely relevant excerpts from the linked LAT article:

    Picca: "It's always crowded ..."

    Bottega Louie: " ... every seat in the house is filled ..."

    A-Frame: " ... [decibel level was] 90.3 And as at Picca, nobody seems to mind."


    I would separate the "nobody seems to mind" from the question of whether it's a public health problem for regulators to pay attention to. Ten years ago, crowded bars were testament that "nobody seemed to mind" second-hand-smoke. And indeed, all those many inhabitants of smoke-filled bars didn't mind. Didn't change the fact that it was a health hazard that oughtn't have been allowed to continue.

    I agree that the question for employees is a more serious one than for customers, but I don't think the danger to customers is negligible. The employee-angle is the one that ought to be pursued as containing a greater likelihood of success. But repeated exposure to loud noise, even if each exposure is only for a couple of hours, takes a toll on the hearing of all people. This page, sponsored by some universities of public health and audiology, leads with the quote: "Of the roughly 40 million Americans suffering from hearing loss, 10 million can be attributed to noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). NIHL can be caused by a one-time exposure to loud sound as well as by repeated exposure to sounds at various loudness levels over an extended period of time." Unawareness of the problem isn't the same as non-existence of the problem.
    Pithy quote here.
  • Post #27 - December 13th, 2015, 8:07 pm
    Post #27 - December 13th, 2015, 8:07 pm Post #27 - December 13th, 2015, 8:07 pm
    I hate loud restaurants.

    But many people are attracted to them.
    fine words butter no parsnips
  • Post #28 - December 15th, 2015, 3:35 am
    Post #28 - December 15th, 2015, 3:35 am Post #28 - December 15th, 2015, 3:35 am
    Sabatino's. They pack the tables in so tight you're bumping elbows with the person at the table next to you. You practically have to shout to ensure the person across the table from you can hear you over the person from the other table that's six inches from them, who in turn is shouting at the person across the table from them to ensure that person can hear them over the person at the table next to them, who's shouting....
  • Post #29 - December 15th, 2015, 8:54 am
    Post #29 - December 15th, 2015, 8:54 am Post #29 - December 15th, 2015, 8:54 am
    Roger Ramjet wrote:I hate loud restaurants.

    But many people are attracted to them.


    I get that. And there are many instances where popularity alone is enough to justify allowing a practice even if it's known to be "bad for you." For instance, we don't outlaw bacon and any attempt to outlaw it would be perceived as nanny-state.

    But there are other instances where we as a society have decided that popularity alone is not sufficient justification for a practice. Smokers once packed bars and restaurants. There was even once a time when they were allowed to be anywhere in a restaurant, not just a "smoking section." But eventually, we as a society decided that the danger to public health outweighed the rights of smokers to populate the places their freedom-of-choice took them to.

    For a time, we said, "Well, if you don't want to be around smoke, don't go to a place where there are lots of smokers." But eventually we decided in favor of public health over the marketplace.

    I think the only difference between smoking and excessive noise is that most people don't yet recognize the threat to ear health that excessive noise poses. They will, one day, when they lose part of their hearing. But until that happens, they're oblivious. They shouldn't be. Without doubt, the marketplace makes some places with excessive noise popular because many people prefer such places. The question is whether the marketplace should always rule. There have been times when we decided there were more important considerations.
    Pithy quote here.
  • Post #30 - December 15th, 2015, 1:11 pm
    Post #30 - December 15th, 2015, 1:11 pm Post #30 - December 15th, 2015, 1:11 pm
    I was surprising at the noise level in dining at the Promontory near the U of C campus. I thought that given the quality of the food and the location colleagial discussions would be possible. Not so. It was yelling straight through dinner. Almost like a faculty meeting.
    Toast, as every breakfaster knows, isn't really about the quality of the bread or how it's sliced or even the toaster. For man cannot live by toast alone. It's all about the butter. -- Adam Gopnik

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