How do you feel about live music in restaurants?

We went out to eat last night at a restaurant that features live music every Wednesday. (It’s also half-price wine night, which is what drew us in). We decided to eat outside, to be as far away from the musicians as possible, and maybe that’s what everyone else was doing too, because there were a ton of empty tables indoors, but all the patio tables were taken. Or maybe folks were just enjoying the weather.

Anyway, we usually avoid live music places, and it’s not because the music is bad. We enjoyed what we could hear from a distance. But I hate being in the same small room with all that bouncing sound when I’m trying to eat! Or honestly, even when I’m not. Just too damn loud.

People must like it though, or the restaurants wouldn’t be doing it. What is your preference about it?

Live music in restaurants makes me feel stabby, punchy, and shooty all at once.

Avoid if at all possible.

Though the unavoidable ones require resolve. Like the time some of us at work went to lunch at a chain sandwich shop which decided to let some high school dipshit play his guitar at everyone. No kid, nobody wants to hear your awesome acoustic Linkin Park covers.

Unless it’s a roving Mariachi band in a Mexican restaurant, count me out. If I’m eating dinner alone, I guess it would be OK. But most people eat out with family and friends, and like to talk. Talking over live music, or any music that is moderately loud, is a pain. The same applies to recorded music, of course, but that isn’t usually played too loud.

Hate it. Get up to leave as soon as possible if it starts while I’m there.

As you say, some people must like it. Who are these people? Why isn’t it legal to stamp them out? Can’t we at least make them eat outside next to the smokers?

When I was stationed in NYC, we loved going to Puglia’s. On weekend nights, in the dining room we preferred, they had an accordionist who’d take requests. So, after we started on the 2nd bottle of house Dago Red, we’d enjoy listening to his mashup of “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling” and “Hava Nagila”.

My two biggest pet peeves:

1.) Loud music or loud anything! This Includes entire waitstaffs that come out to sing happy birthday to a customer.

2.) Lighting so dim you can’t see your food.

Especially if it’s a roving Mariachi band, count me out. Unfortunately, there’s a few places I love here that often have mariachi bands or, even worse, Mexican karaoke, and I either have to plan my trips around them or just suck it up. Judging by the fact that these places are usually packed when there’s live performance of either kind, there’s plenty of people who love it and I suspect it’s also somewhat cultural. I don’t like loud music of any kind, live or taped, while I’m trying to enjoy dinner and conversation, but, for many, it adds to the festivity.

I dislike it.

We had our Christmas party at a small place this year (we rented one half of the restaurant). A band came in at one point. The music was just loud enough that people had to talk over it, without being loud enough to actively enjoy if you weren’t talking.

So it basically became just super annoying white noise.

As a rule, I’ll avoid places with live music, unless I’m in the mood for music (and not talking).

+1 Mariachi’s seem to have fun, they’re usually at least competent, and they’re obviously there to make money. No hidden agenda, no false hopes, and they don’t disrupt your meal unless you want.

What I HATE is finding some type of “open mic night” where some poor amateur is droning away in a corner hoping to get noticed, sometimes it’s painful. :frowning:

I only go to real restaurants to experience unusual or really good food and I like my entertainment and eating to be separate experiences.

I like a piano playing instrumentals.

Most restaurants play recorded music; why is live music such a crime?

I’ve eaten at a couple of places that had live music – one had a harpist, the other a small band. As long as they’re playing quietly, what’s the objection? Or do you just own stock in Muzak?

volume level.

Yeah, if it’s quiet background music like a piano, I’m fine with it. The stuff that drives me nuts, like the mariachi band, is just far too loud for me.


A live band amplifies their music so all the instruments come up to the loudest instrument, which is usually the drum set. And such a volume level is too damn loud for an average indoor place where people come to eat and talk.

Live bands, stay in bars where you belong!

I like it occasionally; it’s not “dinner”, it’s “a show where you also get dinner”. I wouldn’t want to do it every time I eat out, but then, I also don’t want to go to the theater every time I go out.

We had dinner at La Favorita once. Cosi fan tutte and sautéed tuna.

Solo piano or solo guitar playing wicked jazz softly and no vocals - love it.
No to anything else. Too loud for conversation.

Hate it. I feel like if I talk that I’m being rude to the musicians or people who want to listen to the music; its mashing two,things together that don’t need to be, like going to the ballet and there’s also a juggler in the orchestra pit.

Thus, the best live music for restaurants is mostly without drums.

Way back when I was in college, I got a job as a “roving” violinist in a restaurant. Although I played well enough (and quietly enough), it was not appreciated by the customers. I even had things thrown at me, damaging my violin. I quit after a couple of weeks.