Restaurants present a unique challenge to the acoustical consultant. As New York restaurateur Danny Meyer describes in his book Setting the Table, “Guests are equally uncomfortable whether they have to shout to be heard or are required to speak in self-concious, hushed tones in order not to have their conversation heard by other tables. With just the right noise level, each table has the luxury of becoming enveloped by its own invisible veil of privacy, allowing animated conversation to flow within that discreet container. Too much noise, on the other hand, aggressively invades the space and interferes with the guests’ ability to engage with one another. It’s annoying, stresful, and inhospitable.”
- Background sound levels – A restaurant is a complex acoustic environment with a large variety and number of background sound sources including numerous HVAC system components, patrons and staff conversing with each other, music played live or through a sound system, and outside noise sources in the surrounding neighborhood. Entertainment facilities take background sound to the extreme, adding gaming machines and high output sound systems to the mix of sources listed for restaurants. A comprehensive approach to the design of the acoustic environment is necessary to combine a high energy atmosphere with areas where customers can give their overloaded senses a break.
- Reverberation – Control of reverberation in a restaurant or entertainment facility is a delicate balance between a comfortable, intimate environment and a lively environment. Nobody wants to walk into a nightclub that sounds “dead” and conversely patrons of an upscale restaurant do not want to have to yell across the table to speak to their dining partners. Design of the room acoustics is as important as interior design when setting the atmosphere. AEC’s varied experience with these facilities helps to create the ideal acoustic environment.
- Sound Isolation – Restaurants are increasingly being placed on the first floor of mixed-use buildings. Kitchen HVAC systems, typically placed on the roof, can create numerous sound and vibration problems for tenants directly below the equipment or near the main mechanical shafts. Restaurants and nightclubs are notorious for generating high sound levels that can impact upstairs neighbors.
- Audiovisual Systems – Sound and video systems for restaurants, bars, and nightclubs can range from simple background music systems to ultra-high-end audio and video experiences. AV systems must provide both atmosphere and entertainment, often in multiple zones that compete with each other. A careful and unbiased system design from AEC will avoid the typical sales-driven designs thrown at restaurant and club owners. We will meet and exceed client expectations while adhering to a specified budget.