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Dining Decibels™

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Dining Decibels™ is a resource for restaurant noise levels when dining out.  Use our restaurant noise reviews to find a local restaurant where you can connect and socialize with conversation over a nice meal. Restaurant noise ratings are determined by objective noise level measurements (decibels) and subjective ease of communication with dining partner(s). Remember that dining at different days/times will influence ease of conversation. (Not a food critique.)

Easy conversation (60 – 70 decibels) =  speaker-green
Difficult conversation (71 – 75 decibels) = speaker-yellow
Raised voices necessary (76 – 80 decibels) =  speaker-red
Extremely loud (80+ decibels) = time-bomb

Restaurant Noise Review - Kitchen, Chapel Hill, NC

Kitchen, Chapel Hill, NC, Tuesday, April 26, 2015, 7:30 pm

Restaurant Noise Decibel Reading:  78 dB     Sound Equivalent:  Washing Machine

Conversation:  Raised Voices Necessary

Rating:     speaker-red   speaker-red   speaker-red

Comments:     Initially, restaurant noise did not interfere.  We were able to chat easily since we arrived early at this cozy French Bistro. But as the evening progressed, there was much more restaurant noise - and much more difficulty following conversationsKITCHEN-CHAPEL-HILL sm.  Contributing to this noisy competition were the closely set tables and high ceilings that created a noisy interference with your neighbor.  I would suggest coming to this delightful restaurant at an earlier time with less interference and enjoy your dining with easier conversations!  Choose your table wisely!

 


Restaurant Noise Review: Lucia, Durham, NC

Lucia Bar Italiano, Durham, NC, Saturday, November 7, 2015, 7:30 pm

Decibel Reading:  79 dB     Sound Equivalent:  City Traffic

Conversation:  Raised Voices Necessary

Rating:  speaker-red  speaker-red  speaker-red

Comments: Restaurant noise interferes with conversation. Lucia's is a delightful open area restaurant with very high ceilings and wide expanse of windows reflecting on mirrors - all of which create poor acoustics for conversation.  The open bar created additional noise that echoed throughout the dining area.  When asked for a quiet location, we were seated in a corner booth away from the bar and center tables.  Yet, even though we were in a corner booth, it was difficult to hear each other.  Frequent repetitions were necessary along with raised voices. We were there to celebrate an event, yet could not engage each other in meaningful conversation. Enjoyed the food but would recommend going at a less busy time if you desire conversation.   

Lucia sm


Restaurant Noise Review: The Cheesecake Factory, Durham, NC

The Cheesecake Factory, Durham, NC, Saturday, October 3, 7:30 pm

Decibel Reading:  78 dB     Sound Equivalent:  Washing Machine

Conversation:  Raised voices necessary

Rating:    speaker-red   speaker-red   speaker-red

Comments:  The restaurant was crowded and noise was bouncing around in all directions:  the open bar, patrons waiting to be seated as well as full dining tables all contributing to the noise Cheesecake Factory smoverload. Fortunately, we were seated in a booth away from the bar and waiting area - which helped subdue the overall noise levels.  This was "peak" dining time with the noise to prove it.  Surprisingly - once we were in the booth, we were able to converse with only a few repetitions and raised voices.  The upholstered booths were able to isolate some of the noise from the open bar and waiting patrons.  Enjoyed the food, but would recommend off-peak hours if you want an easier time conversing together during dinner!


Restaurant Noise Review - Tupelo Honey Cafe, Raleigh, NC

Tupelo Honey Cafe, Raleigh, NC, Monday, July 13, 2015, 7:30 pm

Decibel Reading:  70 dB     Sound Equivalent:  Quiet Passenger Car

Conversation:  Easy

Rating:   speaker-green

Comments:   Easy conversation for this dinner on weekday!  It appears that the design of this restaurant was purposeful for easy conversation.  Separating adjacent booths with wood andtupelo honey cafe sm glass partitions and using small groupings of tables kept the intrusion of other conversations from interfering in your own.  No eavesdropping here!  Great place to linger over a good meal and enjoy conversation.

 

 


Restaurant Noise Review: JuJube, Chapel Hill, NC

JuJube - Chapel Hill, NC Wednesday, July 8, 2015 - 6:30 pm

Decibel Reading:  68 dB     Sound Equivalent:  Office

Conversation:  Easy

Rating:     speaker-green

Comments:  Easy to chat and catch up at JuJube, since we were not eating at a peak time. Initially, we were seated under a music speaker, which was promptly turned down making

Jujube2 smconversation much more tolerable.  Few windows, leather chairs and use of tablecloths minimized noise interference as well as being separated from the bar in another room.  As more patrons began to fill the dining area, it continued to be easy to enjoy conversation.  Great place to go to catch up and enjoy a nice meal when dining at off-peak hours.


Restaurant Noise Review: Fishmongers, Durham, NC

Fishmongers - Durham, NC - Tuesday, May 3, 2015, 7pm  

Decibel Reading:  76 dB     Sound Equivalent:  Chamber Music

Conversation:  Raised voices and repetitions necessary

Rating:    speaker-red   speaker-red   speaker-red

Comments:  Hard to follow our group of 4 when talking together.  The wide open restaurant area with expansive windows and high ceilings made frequent repetitions necessary - even at non-peak restaurant hours.  Hard surfaces such as wooden chairs/tables and floors caused the reverberation that interfered with our conversation.  Enjoyed the food but were frustrated with poor continuity of our conversation.


Restaurant Noise Review: Gocciolina, Durham, NC

Gocciolina - Durham, NC - Thursday, March 26, 2015, 7pm

Decibel Reading:  78 dB     Sound Equivalent:  Washing Machine

Conversation:  Raised voices necessary

Rating:  speaker-red     speaker-red     speaker-red

Comments:  As a group of six, we found it difficult to have a conversation that included all of Gocciolinaus.  We were seated at a large table near the food order area which we found distracting and noisy.  Lots of activity surrounding our table made it difficult to maintain a continuous conversation between us for a group celebration.  Tables were spaced close together which also contributed to the noise intrusion.  Frequent repetitions were necessary and frustrating as we wanted all to celebrate and understand each other!  Although we enjoyed the food, perhaps an earlier time would have been best to dine together and catch up.

 


Restaurant Noise Review: Acme Food and Beverage, Carrboro, NC

Just want a nice meal and conversation?  Use our restaurant noise reviews as a resource when planning an evening out to know what your ears can expect!

Acme Food & Beverage - Carrboro, NC - Tuesday, March 17, 2015, 7 pm

Decibel Reading:  62 dB     Sound Equivalent:  Laughter

Conversation:  Easy

Rating:     speaker-green

 

Comments:  We found conversation to be easy and pleasant at a table for two.  We were Acme Food and Beverageseated near a partition which helped block out surrounding table noise. There was no intrusive music in the background. The tables were separated from the open bar and there was a separate kitchen area which kept noise to a minimum.  This restaurant had high ceilings and hard surfaces (floors, wood chairs/tables) so we were pleasantly surprised that noise did not interfere with our conversation, especially since the restaurant appeared to be at capacity on St. Patrick's Day!  Good place to go to catch up and enjoy a nice meal!

http://acmecarrboro.com/home/


Restaurant Noise Review: Bonefish Grill - Durham, NC

Just want a nice meal and conversation?  Use our restaurant reviews as a resource when planning an evening out to know what your ears can expect!

Bonefish Grill, Durham, NC - Thursday, January 15, 2015, 6:30 pm

Decibel Reading:  75 dB     Sound Equivalent:  Dishwasher

Conversation:  Occasionally Difficult

Rating:   speaker-yellow    speaker-yellow      Bonefish pic

Comments:  We found conversation to be pleasant with occasional difficulty.  The absence of loud background music was a plus as we were seated in a booth which offset the overall restaurant noise interference to a minimum.  Being near the entrance resulted in more activity and restaurant noise but we were able to follow our conversation without too many repetitions because we were in a booth. The separation of the bar and kitchen areas from the dining area kept the restaurant noise interference to a minimum.  We enjoyed the food and found Bonefish Grill to be a place to enjoy a nice meal and conversation if you are selective in your seating.

 

 

 

 


Restaurant Noise Review: Melting Pot - Durham

Use our Dining Decibels reviews as a resource when dining out to know what your ears can expect!

Melting Pot, Durham, NC - Saturday, January 3, 2015, 7:30 pm

Decibel Reading:  70 dB     Sound Equivalent:  Quiet Passenger Car

Conversation:  Easy

Rating:    speaker-green

Comments:  Easy conversation was a treat for the entire dining experience!  The restaurant Melting Pot smnoise was low because it incorporates the elements necessary for good acoustics while dining.  We were seated in an upholstered dining booth with high backs that created necessary barriers to nearby conversations.  Other positives:  no loud background music to intrude in conversations; adequate spacing between other diners with separate bar and kitchen areas that made this a pleasant experience for all!   The Melting Pot is on our list for those who wish to connect and enjoy conversations without need for repetitions!  http://www.meltingpot.com/durham/welcome

 

 

 


Restaurant Noise Review for Bennett Pointe Grill, Durham, NC

Just want a nice meal and conversation? Use our reviews as a resource when planning an evening out to know what your ears can expect!

Bennett Pointe Grill, Durham, NC, Sunday, December 9, 2014 - 7pm

Decibel Reading:  73 dB     Sound Equivalent:  Living Room Television

Conversation:  Occasionally Difficult

Rating:     speaker-yellow   speaker-yellow

Comments:   We enjoyed the food, but conversation was occasionally difficult and required some repetitions for continuity.  We were seated at a table in the middle of the dining area that contained hard floors with no upholstery or soft coverings to absorb the sound.  Booths were present around the perimeter which may help reduce the noise but did not have seat cushions to absorb the noise.  Separate kitchen and bar areas helped control the noise interference.  A notable feature was the absence of loud background music - which helped reduce the overall noise interference. This restaurant can be a place to enjoy a meal and conversation if you choose a booth and do not sit in the center of the dining area.


Restaurant Noise Review: Weathervane @ Southern Season, Chapel Hill, NC

Use our reviews as a resource when planning an evening out to know what your ears can expect!

Weathervane, Chapel Hill, NC, Sunday, November 16, 2014 - 7pm

Decibel Reading:  70 dB     Sound Equivalent:  Quiet Passenger Car

Conversation:  Easy

Rating:  speaker-green

Comments:  Enjoyed easy conversation for the entire dinner with a hard of hearing family member!   The design of this restaurant assists with noise control:  Upholstered booths and barriers to separate the chatter as well as moderate height ceilings and good table spacing. There was no interference from the kitchen area and the bar was in a separate location which kept the extra noise away from diners.  It was not overly busy, which helped with the noise levels. This restaurant is on our list to return to connect, socialize and enjoy good food - especially over the holidays!  http://www.opentable.com/weathervane-restaurant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Restaurant Noise Review: Outback Steakhouse

Use our reviews as a resource when planning an evening out to know what your ears can expect!

Outback Steakhouse, Durham, NC, Thursday, October 30, 2014, 7 pm

Decibel Reading:  79 dB     Sound Equivalent:  Alarm Clock

Conversation:  Raised voices and repetitions necessary

Rating:  speaker-red    speaker-red    speaker-red

Comments:  We were fortunate to be seated at a booth along the perimeter - which reduced some of the dining activity/noise.  However, this booth did not have the typical cushions that assist in absorbing noise.  Hard floors and lots of activity at a nearby bar and birthday celebration contributed to the overall interference of conversation.  Although we enjoyed the food, perhaps a different time would have been better to catch up with a family member.  Frequent repetitions were necessary and frustrating.

 

 

 


Restaurant Noise Review: Watts Grocery Restaurant

Use our reviews as a resource when planning an evening out to know what your ears can expect!

Watts Grocery Restaurant, Durham, NC, Sunday, October 26, 2014,  7pm

Decibel Reading:  79 dB     Sound Equivalent:  Alarm Clock

Conversation:  Raised voices and repetitions necessary

Rating:  speaker-red   speaker-red   speaker-red

Comments:  The very high, open ceiling leads to a lot of echoing / bouncing of noise while dining.  The tables are close together with hard surfaces so it is difficult to separate neighboring conversations from your own.  The bar is located in the dining area and contributes to the noise that surrounds you.  Conversation was possible at a small table for 2 but struggled as more patrons arrived - requiring frequent repetitions.  We were seated along an upholstered bench that absorbs some of the noise and would recommend sitting here rather than in the wide, open dining area.  Enjoyed the food but be aware that noise can get to be intrusive.


Restaurant Noise Reviews: The Loop Pizza Grill, Chapel Hill, NC

Use our reviews as a resource when planning an evening out to know what your ears can expect!

The Loop Pizza Grill, Chapel Hill, NC, Wednesday, October 22, 2014, 6 pm

Decibel Rating:  79 dB     Sound Equivalent:  Alarm Clock

Conversation:  Raised voices necessary

Rating:  speaker-red  speaker-red  speaker-red

Comments:  This restaurant has a lot of smooth surfaces (floors, tables, chairs) and a very high ceiling which makes sound bounce and echo.   Tables are in a large, open area so it is hard to isolate the noise which became louder as it became peak eating time.   The acoustics of this large room make it difficult to converse across a small table for 4.  There is a small section with a few booths that help to isolate the noise and is recommended for easier conversation.


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