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Quiet please on the terraces

Decibel detectors

bar terrace in palma

For we sun and warmth starved northern Europeans there can be nothing finer whilst on holiday in sunnier climes like Mallorca, to sit out on the terrace of a bar, day or night, and dine or take a few drinks. The same pretty much applies to local folk as well, and most of the bars and restaurants here take a large proportion of their income from their terraces.

Unhappily, as the old saying goes, one man's meat is another man's poison, and for the people who live in the busy centre of Palma – in areas like the Lonja – the constant buzz of conversation, particularly from people who can get a bit 'excited' when they've had a few beers in a crowd can become a night after night nightmare for those living four floors over a bar.

The situation has come to a head with people who live in the city wanting a reduction in the hours that bars can open their terraces, and on the other side the 'Si a las terrazas de Palma' platform coordinated by the Mallorcan Association of Bars, Cafes and Restaurants who of course want to keep serving as long as they can.

There was due to be a public referendum this week to help decide what should happen but this has now been cancelled because the bars have come up with an idea using tried and tested technology to solve the problem.

They say that many cities on the mainland now use decibel detectors to measure crowd noise on the terraces – a bit like Hughie Green's clap-o-meter on Opportunity Knocks – which measure when the noise gets too much and flashes a luminous text message to the customers to be quiet!

The association is proposing that if this technology is acceptable to the council, they could start to use it in Palma to “help to make the right to tranquillity and rest of the neighbours compatible with a normal opening time of the Lonja terraces.”

Well I suppose the two questions here are; could this system work? And what luminous message would be flashed to the customers? I can think of a least a couple that I couldn't print on a family website like ours! Anybody have any ideas?