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Restaurateurs Agree: Sound-Proofing Is Necessary

Restaurants in Chicago and New York are listening to guests who want a quieter dining room.

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While the debate over the din of the dining room — how much restaurant background noise is too much? How loud should the music be? — continues, a trend among restaurateurs is emerging: sound-proofing is a necessary consideration. The Chicago Tribune writes that the increase in background noise inside restaurants is due in part to the change in the aesthetics of a typical dining room. Gone are the days of table clothes, wall fabrics, thick curtains, and carpets: Today, open kitchens and industrial surfaces are the norm. Restaurateur Glen Gardener notes: "The modern type of design, rustic feel and materials being used are directly correlated with the amount of noise that's generated in the space." Unfortunately, it means that restaurant spaces are bound to react to noise like echo chambers, even before you factor in the music.

An increasing number of restaurateurs are listening to complaints from diners and attempting to remedy the acoustical issues of their dining rooms. The Tribune points out that "when a new restaurant opens, reviews on Yelp and elsewhere now are as likely to focus on the sound as the food." Because of this, the teams behinds Chicago-area restaurants like Vistro, the Publican, and the Aviary have spent thousands of dollars on sound-proofing by adding in panels upon panels of sound reduction materials. The Aviary has even gone so far as to hire an acoustic engineer.

New York restaurateurs are following suit: Recently, Drew Nieporent put up sound-proofing shortly after opening Bâtard due to complaints that it was "painfully" loud.

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