What is it about noisy restaurants that is obviously so appealing to many diners? We went to one of L.A.'s most popular new restaurants last evening where the food and service are both wonderful. However, the decibel level in the bar and dining room had to be approximately equivalent to that at the end of the main runway at LAX...it was truly deafening. We're not talking somewhat loud, we're talking deafening!! Not only was it impossible to speak over the music without shouting, it was pretty close to being painful (and I know that my hearing is normal!). There were obviously some other diners who were complaining about the extremely loud music, but the restaurant was packed and clearly most of the diners were not especially bothered by what was by any measure, truly painful and deafening music. When we dine out, we like to relax over good food and wine, and enjoy conversing without having to shout. This is the way it used to be in most good restaurants in the US, and it is still the norm at most nice restaurants in Europe.
It seems that most really good and interesting new restaurants, especially on the West Coast, intentionally create an atmosphere that is "high energy". i.e., extremely noisy. What is it about this environment that appeals to so many patrons?