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In Sunday’s Post Magazine, Tom Sietsema wrote a cover story on the increasing noise problem in restaurants. The result is that he is going to include noise ratings along with his reviews. Personally, I don’t get it. Here’s why:
1. Yes, there are loud, busy restaurants, and there are quiet, intimate restaurants. The ambience is already touched on in the review, so why do we need to know exact decibels?
2. How do you give a restaurant an average rating? Price range is easy to give, noise range is not. The noise level changes drastically depending on the night of the week, the hour of the night, the distance from the bar or a large group, etc. I don’t see how one can say a restaurant comes in as 70 decibels.
3. What in the world are restaurants supposed to do? They already are padding/cushioning/draping things all over the place, and it still doesn’t seem to be enough for people. Really, the “problem” is that D.C. is becoming a great place to dine. And restaurants are slammed. And people make noise. This reminds of my itty-bitty hometown in Pennsylvania. The older folks in town complained that kids had nothing to do and were getting into trouble. After a stroke of brilliance, they built a movie theater. Then they started to complain that kids were loitering on the square outside the movie theater. They shut the theater down.
I say welcome the crowds, welcome the noise, and if you want a quiet evening, cook dinner or order takeout from a nice restaurant.