This DC Restaurant Now Has Quiet Hours

Ceibo in Adams Morgan is lowering the volume for Sunday lunch and early dinner

Ceibo has introduced "Lo-Fi" Sundays for a quieter dining room. Photograph by Hawkeye Johnson.

Ceibo. 2106 18th St., NW.

One thing people love to complain about in restaurants is the noise. At South American restaurant Ceibo, owners and brothers Juan and Manuel Olivera have added some sound-proofing, but now they’re trying something new: quiet hours. During “Lo-Fi” Sunday lunch and early dinner, the Adams Morgan dining room will lower the volume to create a more serene dining environment.

“We started to get some feedback, especially from some folks in the neighborhood. They started asking if we can open lunch or if there’s a better time that they could come where it’s quiet,” says Manuel.

While there won’t be any signs on the table telling people to keep it down, a more relaxed playlist at lower volume sets the tone from noon to 3 PM and 5 to 6 PM. Staff won’t shush anyone, but they have been instructed to lower their voices and refrain from moving furniture and clanking silverware. The restaurant only recently launched Sunday lunch, as opposed to brunch, to keep the focus on the food rather than louder party-like drinking. (Lunch will be coming other days of the week soon.) Early Sunday dinner is already a quiet time anyway.

The idea of hushed hours isn’t totally new: Washington Post critic Tom Sietsema—who includes decibel levels with his reviews—has suggested quiet hours or days would create the “perfect restaurant” based on feedback from his readers. “The potential market is huge,” Sietsema wrote. “The Hearing Loss Association of America estimates 48 million Americans have some degree of hearing loss.”

Ceibo introduced the experiment quietly (because of course), but they plan to start promoting it more on social media, their website, and on Resy going forward so diners know what to expect.

“It’s been positive for us. People are coming, they are being quiet,” Manuel says. “So if people like it, we can probably expand it a little more as we grow naturally.”

Jessica Sidman
Food Editor

Jessica Sidman covers the people and trends behind D.C.’s food and drink scene. Before joining Washingtonian in July 2016, she was Food Editor and Young & Hungry columnist at Washington City Paper. She is a Colorado native and University of Pennsylvania grad.