Noisy Restaurants

I am sure this has been talked about many times before, but who else finds that restaurants are getting worse in terms of noise?

It is so hard to find nice quiet places now.  I cannot even go to places like Pizza Express anymore. 

Damon

  • Hello Damon,

    Welcome to the forum. Yes, restaurants have definitely got noisier in my lifetime. Mobile phones haven’t helped. I also get confused in some establishments about how you go about ordering, I went in to one called Subway - I think - a couple of weeks ago, and I got so confused I told them to shove it and walked out. Not disturbing others used to be good manners, now it seems compulsory.

  • I totally agree Damon. A lot of places seem to be open plan and echoey. The biggest problem is people who don't know how to moderate their own voices. It only takes one table full of people, perhaps a bit drunk, who feel the need to have a full-volume conversation and within 10 minutes everyone in the restaurant is yelling at their companions, trying to make themselves heard above the din.

    For those of us who are very sound sensitive, this makes for a really uncomfortable experience. I also find that given my brain's annoying habit of attempting to process every single thing that I hear, indiscriminately, this often means that I find it pretty much impossible to follow any conversation on my table, because the rest of the noise intrudes so much that I can't focus on it. It is also knackering processing that much! Add to that the people who think it's OK to let their kids run around screaming and it's pretty hellish.

    I've even found this a problem in pubs lately. I don't know why people think they need to shout. And that's before you get onto unwanted music over the top of all the other noises! I used to go for pub lunches with family, but I mostly cook at home now because I end up a nervous wreck if I spend too long being bombarded with other people's racket.

    Have you managed to find anywhere reasonably quiet? (only asking because I live in Surrey too!)

  • For those of us who are very sound sensitive, this makes for a really uncomfortable experience. I also find that given my brain's annoying habit of attempting to process every single thing that I hear, indiscriminately, this often means that I find it pretty much impossible to follow any conversation on my table, because the rest of the noise intrudes so much that I can't focus on it.

    I totally get that! I spent a whole lunch out with my OH not being able to hear a word he was saying and he was right opposite me! Not a bad thing in some ways? (lol) but indeed a frustration.

  • I've always had a problem with them. All the things that have been discussed here I totally agree with. There are other things that I find uncomfortable. The lighting being a big obstacle for me. I can't do flourescent lighting, the sensation is akin to pain. I hate it when they play music too, if I wanted to listen to music I'd go to a ******* club. Service that is either too slow or too pushy. All of it contributes to anxiety. I also like to see the kitchen from the restaurant, then they have nothing to hide.

    The trial and error thing for me was fuelled by a lot of alcohol. I couldn't have done it sober. I don't eat out as often as I used to. Rarely, but I've found my regular places.

    In my experiences avoid buffets, far too noisy, even though I do enjoy a nice Chinese buffet. Themed restaurants, I don't mean themed as in the origin of the food. I mean where they really run with a theme and go out of control. Too noisy and full of people who like to be noticed. Upmarket restaurants. My dad used to supply to them, so occasionally I could get a squeeze. I also have family involved in that type of restaurant. They are full of *** and cokeheads that think that they are the belle of the ball and think they need to be noticed. The worst for noise and bad service. Just because you are in a Michelin starred restaurant doesn't mean you are on a stage. Just because you work there doesn't mean you are a celebrity. Prats. Fast food restaurants are pretty much out of the question because of the lighting. I just get my stuff and go. Besides it's not really a dining experience there.

    Things I can recommend. Small family run places. Niche ethnic restaurants. Country pubs. I'm lucky to have found a few regular places I like and everyone who goes with me does. A Morroccan place with a really nice ambience. The lighting is ideal and the clientele is pretty laid back. It's BYOB so you save a lot on drinks. It's ran by a Morroccan family and the food smacks of genuine home cooking. The service is attentive but not overly so. You can see the kitchen. A Japanese place which is pretty much the same apart from BYOB. A pub just a few miles outside the city limits that mainly has regulars who go there everyday and are farmers or farm workers. No one can be a *** because they will get barred and as it's their local, they behave. Great food, dimly lit and reserved customers. It's ran by old people who have that sort of old person understatement. Everything is cooked from scratch too. Here's a big, big godsend though. PRIVATE ROOMS! There are quite a few restaurants in the city, mainly Chinatown, that have private rooms. If there are quite a few of you get one. It only costs fractionally more. You get better service, less noise and you can do what you want.

    I'd say look online at reviews, pictures and ask around. There's a sort of code there too, you can look at a restaurant and tell by certain things what the place will be like. If I'm in doubt I suggest somewhere else. I'm lucky that most of the people I eat out with like to go to the same places everytime. I think it's not just an Autistic thing. Most people I know don't want bedlam when they eat. Restaurants aren't nightclubs! BTW Pizza Express was a place I liked too!

  • I have long suspected the same thing. Going out to restaurants has the capacity to bother me in ways that it never used to. 

    I've always wondered whether trends in interior design may be at least partially responsible for this. When I was younger, I suspect more pubs and restaurants were furnished with materials that would absorb some of the sound waves, and effectively deaden the background noise. There were probably more carpets and curtains, fabric chairs, tablecloths and the like. These days, there seem to be simpler furnishings, and the use of more materials like glass and metal. It looks more modern, but it must completely alter the acoustics of a room. I suspect the other part of the problem, is that once the background noise rises, you _have_ to speak more loudly to be heard, thus raising the noise level for everyone else. And so it goes.

    I totally agree with ElepantInTheRoom that timing is everything. There are places I can tolerate for a quieter lunch that I could not imagine going to on a Friday night. 

    (I'm in my 40s. I have been diagnosed with ADHD, and recently referred for an autism spectrum diagnosis.)