Many restaurateurs cite various reasons for keeping it that way. A noisy restaurant denotes excitement and energy, creating a vibrant vibe that makes the place seem hip and trendy. Others mention that it's just the design; a brasserie or a brew pub wouldn't have carpeting, for instance. Cost is often an issue as well, where many don't have money in the budget for acoustic considerations.
Mostly it seems today's restaurant designs kill any notion of conversation just by the way they are constructed — all hard surfaces that bounce sound all over the place. Exposed brick walls, concrete floors are coupled with wood tables and hard seating versus cushiony banquettes. Gone are carpeting and draperies that often evoke more of a fine dining atmosphere and added are open kitchens that add kitchen noise to the mix.
Fabrics have always been the go-to solution for noise control, whether it was carpeting, drapery, or even tablecloths. They are also the first to go. Tablecloths add to a linen laundry bill while carpeting stains from spillage.
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