Loud Music and Life above a Restaurant

When we first moved back to California and had moved to Berkeley, we had a few weeks of time to search for an apartment.  The apartment we found was above a restaurant and our initial impressions were good.  With only a few days left to find an apartment, we ended up going with the apartment we are in today.

At first it was alright in the apartment, with most of our concerns simply just adjusting back to life in America, as well as sorting out all of our stuff from storage as well as setting up the apartment.  After quite a lot of cleaning and some furniture purchases, things were mostly alright.

Over time though, the restaurant downstairs would start to play their music louder and louder, longer and longer into the night.  During the day became the worst time to be around as they played their music easily five times louder than they would during the evening when the restaurant was open.  During that day time when the restaurant was not yet open and preparing food for the evening, the music would be loud enough that you could not only feel the bass through the floor, but one could feel it in the air itself.  The first few times happened here and there, over time becoming a regular occurrence, the only variable being whether it would be very loud or unbearably so.

The incessant pattern of the bass over hours and hours of exposure (I would have to endure quite a bit as I work from home), made us both quite exhausted. Feeling at times tired, at times angry and frustrated, our misery over the situation made for an environment impossible to be either focused or inspired in.  Besides the music, the family which owns the restaurant often argues amongst themselves (very loudly).  Just being around that kind of tension tiring and nearly impossible to do any

So a couple of months ago we decided to move.  At first we had been so distressed we were set to break our lease and simply find an apartment and move immediately.  After a couple of weeks of apartment searching, and applying for apartments, an apartment we found quite ideal and one we really wanted to get worked out!  We signed the lease a few weeks ago and in just a few more weeks we’ll be moving out from here and into a slightly smaller, cozier, and much quieter apartment in a very different part of town (moving from South Berkeley to North Berkeley, up by the Gourmet Ghetto). 

So each very loud day that passes by, I look more and more forward to moving.  So many days here where no music could be worked on, no peace of mind could be had.  I have accepted in my mind for the past couple of weeks that I would not be able to work on music but would only work on programming and other tasks that don’t require so much quietness.  I am looking forward to getting back to composing, reading quietly at home, and just enjoying life and peaceful quietness.


  1. Knowing their character and the way they argue amongst themselves and how confrontational the neighbors can be, I decided it would be a lost cause to even try.

    A couple of apartments ago I happen to have the unfortunate luck to live below someone who decided it was alright to play music incredibly loudly at night, often *starting* at 1am. I often asked him to turn it down and he would, though it would just happen again a week or two later. Just before leaving that apartment to go to Warsaw I had been very stressed one night and music played incredibly loudly. It was a Saturday and only 10pm, but from the week before of another loud night and being very stressed I went upstairs in a somewhat confrontational attitude to tell the person it was loud and to turn it down. Granted, I was a bit angry, but he responded by saying he could do what he wanted and he had every right and threatening me that we could take it to court or some nonsense like that. Anyways, I was livid and told him off and left very angry, which took a long time to get over. If anyone knows me, they know I am generally very laid back and will let most everything go and I generally just don’t get upset over much, but that situation really got me going.

    After that night, any time I would remember it, it would get me angry again and I really did not like that at all. It took maybe a whole year to not think about that person and that night without being upset. I realized in the end that getting upset and not having control over over those emotions were not worth it. So a big lesson learned in terms of controlling my reactions to things, even though I still feel very wronged by it.

    So, back to now. I could go downstairs every day and ask to turn it down, but I doubt that would do much good considering what I went through with that experience from a couple years ago, and considering that the restaurant people are that much more “explosive” with their arguing. So rather than have uncomfortable and bad relations, I can see them and say hello and all that and be comfortable with that as they are pretty friendly in general when not arguing.

    Also, the apartment has other issues of just being on a busy street so lots of sounds of cars during the day (and the music coming from some of those), as well as foot traffic at night with loud conversations by not so savory folks, and reports of petty crimes, etc. are other factors involved. Granted the loud music from the restaurant is the primary issue, but the other issues are also contributing factors, and something I think will all be improved by moving.

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