What is it about?

While people enjoy some drinks, meeting old friends and new people, and socializing in pubs and bars, they are exposed to noise from different sources such as service activities, nearby conversations, background music, televisions, and ventilation system. Additionally, people are also sources of noise when they talk loudly, scream, cheer, laugh, etc. Yet, how noisy is it in a pub and how does noise from the pub affect nearby residents? This paper aims to address these issues.

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Why is it important?

We provide an overview about the social functioning of pubs and bars and review some research findings of noise levels in and from pubs and bars. Previous research showed that the average measured noise level in Hong Kong’s pubs and bars was 80 dBA in peak hours (with a peak value up to 97 dBA) and 75 dBA in happy hours. Similar findings were observed in some other cities and countries. Noise monitoring at a pub’s nearby residents in Macedonia showed that the average measured noise level was about 67 dBA in the evening and 65 dBA during night time, exceeding noise limits by around 7 to 10 dBA. Results showed that more work has to be done and good design and practice have to be implemented to mitigate noise impacts from pubs and bars.


Writing this article was a good experience as it helped my co-author and I review noise dynamics in city nightlife - particularly on one hand people like to relax, get their drinks, and chat with new and old friends in pubs and bars (some are also tourism hotpots) while on the other hand they need to be considerate and respect other people's right for tranquility... So, how to strike a balance becomes a real challenge to regulatory authority, owners of pubs and bars, patrons, and residents. Hope this article will stimulate people to think about noise in and from pubs and bars more deeply and deal with noise more collaboratively.

Professor W.M. To
Macao Polytechnic University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Noise dynamics in city nightlife: Assessing impact and potential solutions for residential proximity to pubs and bars, The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, October 2023, Acoustical Society of America (ASA),
DOI: 10.1121/10.0023229.
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