The Office Bar & Grill – San Carlos

by Jan Ellis Float on April 8, 2011

Office Away from Home

xxxxFinds Their “A” Game: Part 1/2

Owners Steve Hicks & David Parks scored BIG TIME when they realized their new neighborhood sports pub The Office Bar & Grill had slammed it right out of the park! It’s that urban garage, pseudo-industrial vibe which beckons all on the Peninsula. But it’s The Sports Fans — sharing sassy cocktails, updated comfort foods and widescreen TVs — who really entice them to hang through endless Happy Hours.

Hip & Trendy Interior

Inside & Out … The Office rocks! Obviously real-estate and barstool savvy, Steve & Dave took care to cover all of the bases while contemplating their guests’ overall entertainment: a Bocce ball court, group seating, gas firepits — even cozy blankets!

Hot & Happening Patio

Come on, Sports Fans. For what more do we dare ask? Well, this next picture [taken less than a month ago] speaks a thousand unheard words:x

Dining on Decibels can turn smiles upside down!

Okay. We’re all accustomed to dismissing everyday NOISE as annoying, inconvenient and disruptive. But the truth is: Repeated or prolonged exposure, regardless of its source, leads to irreparable hearing and other neurological damage. Please reference our previous Sushi Ran-Sausalito post. Therein we both defined decibel [dB] ratings and introduced you to a gentleman who frankly needs none, legendary food critic Michael Bauer. As NOISE is one of only two possible job hazards [calories?], Mr. Bauer devised his own sound-ranking system … the famed/feared Bells & Bomb. He uses handheld instruments similar to those as depicted below:

Radio Shack’s Sound Level meter
iPhone app’s Max, Avg & Peak

During our evening visit to The Office, both devices were set tabletop inside the bar. You’ll note identical displays of 87 dB, though our average was 105 and maximum 114. When first we arrived,  professional training led us to expect 120. Of course, one adjusts. But, I mean, the place was going ballistic! While the wait staff performed in full marathon mode, it’s the Acoustics that were running amok. Many patrons, perceiving din and hubbub overload, found refuge on the awesome patio. In deference to those who braved the bar, let’s examine the following:

  • The American Board of Audiology asserts that 85 dB is the threshold for which prolonged exposure causes permanent damage.
  • The US OSHA [Occupational Safety & Health Administration] states that a hearing conservation program must be implemented when employees are exposed to 85+ dB in an eight-hour day.
  • The World Health Organization writes: “Excessive noise seriously harms human health and interferes with people’s daily activities at school, at work, at home and during leisure time. It can disturb sleep, cause cardiovascular and psychophysiological effects, reduce performance and provoke annoyance responses and changes in social behavior.
  • And exactly 87 dB? The loudest recorded snore, an average 4th of July fireworks display and a typical food blender.
And then the Happy Hours grew infinitely more happy!

To restore safety and sanity, Steve & David knew what they had to do: Bring on their “A” Game – Acoustics! So after meeting with WCD, a cost-effective plan was drawn to improve the Acoustically-challenged interior.

Grand Total? Only $3,950!

To comply with the owners’ aesthetic requests and our techno-demands, we chose the No. 1 fabric in Acoustical transparency, Guilford of Maine FR701. For this installation, where The “A” Game was maximal sound absorption, the panels were created by wrapping the fabric around one-inch thick, six-pound density fiberglass frames with decorative beveled edges. Then by actually suspending each panel one-and-a-half inches from the ceiling, sound traveling in the vicinity of this narrow opening gets trapped and absorbed by that panel’s back side. The combination of this beautiful fabric and our expert installation technique always results in Standing Os!

Before  ——————–  The Office is off!
During  ——————–  WCD panel construction
During  ———————-  WCD panel suspension

Please note the use of smaller-sized panels, customized to accommodate the various existing ceiling fixtures. Larger solid panels require much more time: fixture removal, precise measurements, intricate cutouts and reinstallation.

During  ——————–  WCD panel saturation
During  —————–  WCD panel completion
After  ——————  WCD’s “A” Game

The Office Bar & Grill in San Carlos has indeed earned the title The Place to See & Be Seen. Steve & Dave are reportedly thrilled with the results. However, in order to fairly officiate full-on “A” Game compliance, the Acoustics must also be rechecked. So please tune in to our next post, Part 2/2, for After Decibel Detection. [Reminder: Before Decibels averaged 105.]

Is The Place to See & Be Seen also The Place to Hear & Be Heard?

Weigh in! What’s your prediction?


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