Drink Up: Why Bar Music Is So Damn Loud

image from www.coolest-gadgets.com Bar music is often so loud that you can't hear yourself think – let alone, hear others talk. The music starts off modest and slowly the volume goes up. It's a wall of sound. You're yelling at your friend. They're yelling back at you. Soon enough, the bar gets louder and more rowdy. It's the signal that the party has begun.

Contrary to what your eardrums may think, this common practice is actually good business sense.

The louder the music gets, the more people give up trying to chit-chat and focus on lacing up their drinking shoes. The beer goes down faster. More trips get made to the bar. Waiters get more tips. Everyone wins, sort of. Except you.

People sitting around nursing their drinks aren't good for profits. From the perspective of a bar owner, talkers aren't the best beer drinkers.

So how do you quiet down even the loudest of fellows? 

Turn up the noise.

A number of field studies conducted in France have found that higher sound levels lead to people drinking more. On average, a bar-goers took 14.5 minutes to finish a 8 oz glass of drought beer when the volume was at its normal level.

However, once the music got turned up, this time reduced to just 11.5 minutes.

As a result, on average, these drinkers ordered one more beer in the loud music condition than in the normal one. This correlation between loud music and increased alcohol consumption is casual, but it's quite still persuasive.

It makes you think though. Was your last night out – likely on New Years – in a noisy bar as fun as you remembered? Or, did it merely result in fun, because the louder music caused you to give up talking to friends and you drink more beer?

What's your opinion?

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  1. I see where this makes sense but not sure if this is usually the case. My alcohol intake depends on who I’m with, who I meet, and what type of atmosphere the bar has.

  2. This is so true! I agree there many variables involved like who you meet etc, but there will always be exceptions to the rules.
    If you’re with a friend and conversation is a no go it is going to get awkward. To avoid those awkward moments you need to look busy, be it playing with your phone or sipping a drink. Also you can’t talk and drink, which probably slows down the consumption time.
    Loves this post Kyle!

  3. Interesting post! It stands to reason, that as the night goes on, the first beer is in full effect, clouding the judgement of the drinker, confusing the declaration of ‘have I had enough beer? Heck no! Another round over here!’.
    As people get buzzed, they are more likely to continue drinking until it’s time to go home.
    This study fails to distinguish between DJ music, and live entertainment as well. A good entertainer, can influence the drinking habits of the audience greatly. Where as loud satellite radio for instance, just gets annoying. Good dance music, a fun entertainer that keeps people in the moment, a good bartender…these are keys for fat till.

  4. I used to work nightlife. And this is so, so true. I’ve always wondered why few people comment on it (or even notice!).

  5. The loudness is the primary reason I avoid going to bars as much as possible these days. I used to endure it when I was directly working with musicians and therefore went wherever they played. I took along ear plugs.
    Now I don’t go. There are a lot of people like me who will only go to hear live music if the volume is tolerable. I find it physically fatiguing to deal with loud music.
    I also used to hate it when the bar was closing, the band was packing up, and the bartenders turned up the house music even more.

  6. Like Suzanne above I do not go to bars or clubs at all because they are extremely uncomfortable for socialising.
    This seems to be a significant factor that was forgotten in the study, and by the entire club/bar industry.
    I’d like to see another study where they set up 2 bars side by side in adjacent shop fronts. In one have the music really loud, in the other have the music at a moderate level that is easy to talk over.
    I’ll bet that even though the people in the loud bar drink faster, the quiter bar probably has a lot more people in it.

  7. It’s common knowledge that they do this, yet everyone just excepts it. It’s not only causing us to damage our own livers, but it damages you ears. As a musician and big concert goer, I question if knocking back a few with friends or staying late to hit on a cute blonde is really worth it the long run, every time. If I found a place where I could talk to people all night without losing my voice, I may drink slightly less I would personally be there much more often. Anyone with me?

  8. Sorry Floco Torres, but unless you sit there with a stopwatch and time yourself, you have no idea how the music is affecting your drinking habits. Chances are you’re probably not “the exception to the rule” as often as you might think.

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