The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Quiet Dining Doesn’t Have to Be Passé

    Can they hear you? Anyone who enjoys a tête-á-tête with their crepes knows how noisy today’s restaurants are. Gone is the plush, noise-dampening midcentury decor featured in Mad Men in favor of smooth surfaces, open ceilings, and kitchens and bars sharing the room. Decibels can reach unhealthy levels, but reigning design choices won’t have it otherwise, while the din juices lucrative alcohol sales. But listen up: According to design critic Kate Wagner, acoustic engineering is introducing sound-absorbing materials and fixtures — allowing a conversation about putting calm back on the menu.

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