Vic’s — 74.7 decibels

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Our lunch time visit to Vic’s, an upscale Italian restaurant in Noho, was quiet when we were first seated, but shortly thereafter someone decided to turn on the music.  It wasn’t too loud, but the first couple selections featured a brassy horn section that was hitting every high note.   When the classical guitar music came on, things improved.  That said, the sound level during our visit wasn’t intolerable, no doubt due to the high ceilings and what appeared to be acoustic panels running down the middle of the ceiling.  If the panels were intended to absorb sound, and not just a design element, the Vic’s team deserves an A+.

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

We can confidently recommend Vic’s for relatively peaceful lunch but must note that the room wasn’t very crowded during our visit.   So we are extending a cautious recommendation.  Lunch should be a safe option, as should dinner service earlier in the week, but brunch and dinner later in the week could be louder than is comfortable.  The food was lovely, so if you catch a quiet time, enjoy.

<RANT> Our nemesis, the Xcelerator hand dryer, was present in the restroom.   As usual, it was very very loud.   Why must restaurants insist on using Xcelerators? </RANT>

HOURS

Monday through Friday: 12:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.

Saturday: 10:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. | 5:30 p.m. to 11:00 pm.

Sunday: 10:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. | 5:30 p.m. to 10:00 pm.

LOCATION

Street (betw. Bond and W. 3rd Streets), New York, NY 10012

WEBSITE

Vic’s

St. Andrews — 77.9 to 79 decibels

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

If St. Andrews, a Scottish restaurant and bar, were in any other part of town, we would advise that you only stop in when it’s empty.  But it’s in Times Square and that makes it a viable option at most times (but not happy hour).  Simply put, there are very few quiet places in Times Square that offer decent food at a reasonable price, which is why St. Andrews is one of the loudest places we will recommend.

We visited St. Andrews for a Friday lunch and were seated in the ground floor dining room; it was at least half full.  Background music played throughout our visit, and while it was mostly in the background (at least at first) it unnecessarily added a layer of sound.  Midway through our meal the music volume was suddenly increased.  We asked if the volume could be lowered and were pleased when it was immediately adjusted to what it had been earlier.

In addition to the music, unnecessary noise was provided by two customers seated near our table who were very noticeably loud (a sign of early hearing loss, we suspect).  Fortunately the ceilings were of a good height and upholstered banquettes may have absorbed some of the sound.  In addition, the dining area was separated from the bar by a wall that had a couple of open spaces between both rooms.  This design choice kept most, but not all, of the sound emanating in one room from ricocheting into the other.  Overall, the sound level during our lunch visit was manageable, particularly after one of the loud customers left.

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

We also visited St. Andrews at brunch, which generated the higher decibel rating.  While the noise level wasn’t ideal, it was more manageable than the reading alone would suggest.  We were seated near the entrance during that visit and suspect that our decibel meter may have picked up the sound of customers and staff entering and leaving the dining space and bar, resulting in the higher than expected reading.  St. Andrews has an upstairs dining room that was not available at lunch but generally is open for brunch.  If that space is available, our experience is that it is a better option than the ground floor.

We did not visit St. Andrews during happy hour, but we’ve been told that happy hour is very popular, crowded, and loud.  In short, avoid.

Overall, St. Andrews is not a bad option if you must be in Times Square and want to get a drink or a nosh.  It has a great selection of beers and scotch, the food is decent bar grub (not fabulous, but not bad), and the prices are reasonable for Times Square.  Just don’t expect a serene space, and avoid happy hour.

HOURS

11:30 a.m. to 4:00 a.m. every day

(kitchen closes at midnight on Monday and Sunday, 2:00 a.m. every other day)

LOCATION

(betw. 6th and 7th Avenues), New York, NY 10036

WEBSITE

St. Andrews

 

Doma Na Rohu — 73.6 decibels

Photo credit: quietcitymap

Photo credit: quietcitymap

This German-Czech-Hungarian restaurant is relaxed at lunch, but can be busy–and loud–at brunch.  It clocked in at 73.6 decibels during a early autumn lunch.  The background music wasn’t too loud, and fellow diners were relatively quiet, but the front door was open allowing street noise from a very busy 7th Avenue to waft in.   Overall, the sound level was manageable but punctuated by the occasional impatient driver honking his or her horn or the sound of not so distant sirens.

Note that live music is on the menu for Wednesday and Saturday nights, usually spotlighting gypsy, swing, and jazz bands.  Given the size of the space, and the omnipresent background hum from street noise, it’s best to assume that Doma will be very loud to intolerable on live music nights–either avoid them or come with a very good set of ear plugs.  That said, things should be different on Mondays (Drawing Club) and Sundays (Game Night).  Drawing Club or Game Night participants get a 10% discount.

With cautions noted, Doma Na Rohu is worth checking out.  It offers good food that focuses on cured meats and cheeses (vegetarian options are offered), a nice selection of craft beers, and excellent coffee.

HOURS

Sunday through Wednesday: 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.

Thursday through Saturday: 9:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m.

LOCATION

WEBSITE

Doma Na Rohu