At the same time, though, I understand that the hub bub adds to the energy of the establishment. So where's the compromise?
Enter John Paluska, the former manage for Phish. From Fastcodesign.com
Here’s how it works: Speakers, subwoofers, and microphones are placed around the restaurant, in tandem with sound-absorbing fabrics (including, weirdly, recycled jeans). The microphones record sound, the sound gets sent to a digital processor, and the processor allows someone--the restaurant owner, or whoever else--to tweak the sound just by tapping away on an iPad.
The system was piloted recently at Comal, a Mexican restaurant in Berkeley run by former Phish manager John Paluska, a guy no doubt sensitive to the nuances of sound. Paluska is sensitive to the nuances of aesthetics, too, and as much as he cares about sound, he didn’t want his restaurant to look like a gearhead’s basement. So he and the sound engineers took pains to hide all the equipment. Speakers mix seamlessly into the industrial-chic decor, and sound-dampening materials are customized to look like art.
Cool, huh? Read more here. And thanks to Steve for the tip.