Letter writer: Eateries should mind their music

Graphic by Lori Deaton

[In response to “Polite Company: Asheville Service Industry Professionals Offer a Beginner’s Guide to Restaurant Etiquette,” Dec. 28, Xpress]: I appreciate the comments offered by restaurant/bar staff and owners about customer etiquette, which is (or ought to be!) common-sense courtesy. Honestly, I was shocked to hear some of the examples of bad behavior, but I’ve been a server and host in several area restaurants so it would never occur to me to be so disrespectful.

At the same time, the article offered the opportunity to voice my own request to eatery staff and owners: Please be mindful of the music you select for your establishment. I have too frequently left a restaurant I’d love to patronize because someone decided that harsh music was appropriate. I’m not asking for only soft, soothing, classical music — I’m saying, is this music happy or angry? What kind of mood does this set — antagonistic or welcoming?

It’s not just the food I’m taking in; the ambiance is made of the entire tone of a place. The attitude of the kitchen and servers is communicated in many ways to diners. Maybe I should just appreciate the early indicator: If the cook or waitstaff is irritated or pissed off about coming to work and chooses music reflective of their discontent, that’s sure not a place I want to spend time. Two steps in, and I’ll know to retreat and look elsewhere for a pleasant meal.

— Michele Drivon


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9 thoughts on “Letter writer: Eateries should mind their music

    • sis

      I agree. Loud music is the worst. People go out to eat and have a conversation with their friends….not a yelling match. I sometimes think the employees choose music for themselves, not the customer.

      • Mrs. Appropriate

        Blue Dream Curry was closed and we thought it would be a great time to try Sonora Cocina Mexicana. The music was TERRIBLE. There were only a handful of customers and it was blaring hard rock. We literally had a hard time talking to each other at the table. Booo.

        • Snowflake (Social Justice Worrier)

          It’s amazing how clueless some restaurants are, isn’t it? They just don’t seem to realize how much ambiance can trump taste.

  1. Bright

    Agree! I love music. It has the power to affect our emotions. All public establishments need to realize that the “background ” music is just that…for the background. Ingles, as another example, has such distractingly loud music it’s hard to concentrate on anything but the music. The establishment isn’t your own music venue, and loud doesn’t make more money. Like the people above…we will just go elsewhere.

  2. The Real World

    This is a really important letter as are the comments which veer more toward the music decibel level than type of music but both aspects are relevant.

    I’ve been wanting a pulpit about this issue for a long time because it is a big problem. Even without music, when most restaurants are crowded, they are SOOOOO loud. As stated above, we go out to eat as much to have a conversation with our companions as to eat a meal. It becomes near impossible to talk and hear when the sound level is too high from music and/or the crowd. I purposely avoid eateries that I know have that problem.

    Come on restaurant owners, there are solutions!


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