The achievement of a proper acoustical ambiance for restaurants has long been described as a problem of controlling noise to allow for speech intelligibility among patrons at the same table. This simplification of the acoustical design problem for restaurants does not entirely result in achieving either a sensation of acoustical comfort or a preferred condition for social activity sought by architects. In order to more fully study the subjective impression of acoustical comfort a large data base from 11 restaurants with 75 patron surveys for each (825 total) was assembled for analysis. The results indicate that a specific narrow range of reverberation time can produce acoustical comfort for restaurant patrons of all ages. Other physical and acoustical conditions of the dining space are shown to have little to no consistent effect on the registration of comfort. The results also indicate that different subjective components of acoustical comfort - quietude, communication, privacy - vary significantly by age group with specific consequences for the acoustical design of restaurants for different clienteles.

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