Pardon the interruption from our regularly scheduled program but…
The Emerald City’s restaurant scene has exploded in the last decade. There are scores of new places making top quality food, with well thought out menus, carefully curated wine lists, excellent service (okay, I exaggerate), and beautiful décor. But while Seattle’s culinary establishments have raced into the 21st century, the music selection at many of these restaurants is stuck in the past.
The ‘80s and classic rock are alive and well in the city’s upper tier restaurants and in fact seem to be the music of choice. I’ve heard Elton John signing to me at no less than three restaurants in the last month. While I love singing Goodbye Yellow Brick Road while I eat as much as I did when rock was young, shouldn’t these songs be like a candle in the wind at restaurants in 2019?
My wife and I recently went to an expensive Italian spot. Bob Seeger was singing to us about how he liked the old time rockin’ roll. At a top end Japanese restaurant, Madonna was telling me how in the midnight hour, she wanted to feel my power. At a prominent waterfront establishment, Night Ranger was motoring along telling Sister Christian that the time had come.
At first, I thought perhaps it was just me that found these music selections discordant. Then, as a visiting friend from New York City waited for me at a beautiful lunch spot I had selected, she texted me and politely stated, “The classic rock is a little incongruous.” When I arrived, I could only laugh.
It’s hard to discern how these restaurants have been created with so much intention, yet so little thought appears to be given to the music as part of the atmosphere and experience.
Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy many of these songs as much as the next person. I grew up listening to them. But if you told me as a teenager that 40 years later I would be paying one hundred fifty dollars for dinner while listening to Dexys Midnight Runners come on to Eileen, I would never have believed you – unless of course it was at some sort of ‘80s-themedwhere I was sipping on a now $15 shake.
My advice to Seattle restaurateurs? Let’s put those old records back up on the shelf, or at least use them with intention. Seattle’s food scene has come so far in the last decade. It’s time for the people selecting the music to stop partying like it’s 1989.