How Bars Use Music to Get You Drunk Faster

Illustration for article titled How Bars Use Music to Get You Drunk Faster

Do you drink your booze faster when you're out at a bar or a restaurant than you do just sitting at home? You probably do, and apparently it's because bars and restaurants have learned that loud, fast music makes you eat and drink more, at a faster rate.


Here's a quote from a New York Times piece on the subject:

In 1985, a study by Fairfield University in Connecticut reported that people ate faster when background music was sped up, from 3.83 to 4.4 bites per minute. Nicolas Gueguen, a professor of behavioral sciences at the Université de Bretagne-Sud in France, reported in the October 2008 edition of the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research that higher volumes led beer drinkers in a bar to imbibe more. When the bar's music was 72 decibels, people ordered an average of 2.6 drinks and took 14.5 minutes to finish one. But when the volume was turned up to 88 decibels, customers ordered an average of 3.4 drinks and took 11.5 minutes to finish each one.

That's a pretty massive increase. And it's sort of logical, too, right? You're less likely to sit there nursing a whiskey when there's fast and loud music booming through the place than you would be listening to a country ballad or something. [NY Times via Animal New York]

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There's nothing to do in bars except drink since they make it too obnoxiously loud to meet new people there except by yelling so loudly that it comes off as stress fully aggressive. The irritation factor also riles up masculine mammalian fight or flight instincts that like rats in a crowded cage creates an oppressive environment, socially, for any guy who does try to snuggle up within hearing range of the women in the bar. A lack of voice quality differences means only physically aggressive gestures come to mind for most of the men there. That the same women are out and about the next afternoon, minus the hassle, eludes the vast majority of men, evidently. An bar environment in which you, as a man, are utterly submissive towards your environment, including long waits as an idle bartender arbitrarily ignores you, is not a recipe for impressing the ladies. And all this for 4X the retail cost of alcohol right around the corner. Oh well.