Has any of you dared to tell a musician in a restaurant to please shut up?

I am sure the following is familiar to a lot of you: you are sitting in your favorite restaurant, enjoying the food and/or company and otherwise minding your own business. But tonight they have a musician or two laid on. They are making the rounds of the tables and play for each. I usually grin and bear it, but at least two times (as far as my memory goes) it’s been toenail-curlingly embarassing when, encountering two people of opposite sexes, they assume it’s a date and launch into something overtly romantic and I am with a female friend (yes you can have friends of the opposite sex) in one case and a female colleague in another case. Anyway my attitude is: when I want music I ask for it myself (or go somewhere where I can expect to be played music at). These musicians are a nuisance IMO - at least the dragon food sellers are put of with a short shake of the head while musicians play for a while and expect an overt show of appreciation.

I fantasized, in these cases, to pointedly offer these people hush money, but I have always been too craven, rationalizing that it would be unkind.

Has anyone of you got up the moral courage to tell such musicians to go away?

Well, not until now, but tonight, Mrs. Fresh and I are going to go to the fanciest restaurant we can afford just to see the look on the violinist’s face.

“Do you do requests? How about Handel’s rendition of Fuck Off And Die!

Great idea, tschild, thanks for making our weekend!

Hum a few bars and I’ll fake it. :smiley:

I usually just shout “How much do you charge to take a break?!”.

The audience laughs, the band goes quiet, and they’re usually too embarassed to name a figure. If they do & it’s reasonable, I pay it; we’re happy & they’re happy, if somewhat shocked. If it’s not, I tell ‘em "too steep for me, keep playin’". At least they’re on notice not everybody loves their schtick. The set is usually mysteriously cut short. Heck, they’d rather be on break smokin’ & drinkin’ than standing up their sweating under the lights.

This works best for background bands that somehow decided they’re putting on a concert, not being background music. For strolling minstrels or mariachis I sometimes buy a song for that table waay over there, sorta like sending a drink to the lonely loser, just to watch 'em squirm.

Yes, I can be a jerk when I get in a bar.

For Dopers that speak some Spanish but want to learn more colloquial speech, I recommend Joe Keenan’s Breaking Out of Beginner’s Spanish. To teach the subjunctive mood, Keenan humorously uses different phrases that express the plea of this thread, e.g.:

Ojala que se vayan los mariachis = “I hope the mariachis go away”
Diles que se vayan los mariachis = “Tell the mariachis to go away”


I was at a rather drunken evening with many dozens of music students…after the cocktail pianist had finished, several people took turns to perform caricature versions of him. Poor guy. :smiley:

A la Dudley Moore? Wix!

Yes, mariachis when I was breaking up with a girlfriend and a few other times.

I also have a button that says, “If I had a hammer there would be no folksingers.”


Does karaoke count?

My mate and I were tucking in to a jolly spiffing ‘all you can eat’ Chinese, when the sounds of the amateur singing began. We were considering complaining until an frightfully attractive young lady struck up the Monkees fine hit ‘I’m a believer’.

So we joined in! :smiley:

Who takes a girlfriend out to dinner in a public venue to break up with her? :dubious:

In answer to the above question, my BF (my Grad student BF when I was a mere junior, mind you) did so when he wanted to break up with me. Strangely enough, he took me to a Mexican restaurant and delivered the news just as the main course was being served. One of his reasons? I didn’t care for Mexican food! :rolleyes:

But there were no mahirachis or however the heck you spell it.
I thought the REASON they played loudly near your table was to ensure you paying to shut them up. You mean not paying them is an option? :smiley:

SHE chose the restaurant and to tell me we were breaking up.


I’ve never asked live musicians to be quiet, basically because I completely avoid any restaurants that have live music. They’re **always ** too loud.

However I have asked on many occasions for the volume of background recorded music to be turned down so that we can converse with each other without having to shout. Most restaurants are happy to do this. On a couple of occasions where the manager has refused to turn the volume down, we’ve just walked out.

I’ve always favored just yelling, “SHUT THAT BLOODY BOUZOUKI UP!”

I wouldn’t assume this is whistlepig’s girlfriend’s case, but I’ve heard breaking up in a restaurant as a method that some use to prevent the other party from having a visible emotional reaction, either anger or crying, out of fear of creating “a scene.”

Wow. That totally sucks, whistlepig. :frowning:

Actions speak louder than words; use your steak knife to saw through the violin strings.

When I was in Venice, Italy it almost seemed customary for the restaurant owner to pay the musician to go away. I expect the worse the musician, the more money they got. A theory certainly supported by the quality of musicians experienced.

There’s a bar near campus that has Dueling Pianos every Thursday night. I went to hear them about a month ago. They’re actually pretty decent, but I’m going to offer them $50 to never play “Piano Man” again on pain of death.

I made the mistake of going to a new Johnny Rocket’s in my town for lunch. A magician was circulating through the tables, doing his schtick. I was there with my parents and wife, so I was hoping he would stick to the tables with kids, since he was making balloon animals and such. Alas, he came up to our table and launched into his act. All four of us pointedly avoided eye contact with him, but he continued on undeterred. Thankfully, our food came after his first joke and he had the courtesy to leave us alone. Had he kept it up, I might have been pushed to the point of asking him to leave. As it is, I won’t be going back to that restaurant.