All to often I find myself sipping on an espresso in a thoughtfully designed café. The atmosphere is well-rounded and all of what seems to be empty space, is filled with the sound of a jazz musician improvising a smooth saxophone solo. And then all of a sudden, the barista’s play list ends and an awkward, unsettling silence takes over…
Or just recently, I was at a modern Vietnamese cafe to catch up with some childhood friends. The food was reliably delicious, but on top of struggling to get slippery vermicelli noodles into my mouth, a loud obnoxious electric, dub-step sounding noise blasted in the background. I couldn’t eat in peace, nor hear my friends fill me in on the past five years of their life. Who know’s maybe I’m just high maintenance and care too much about how I dine, but I think it’s safe to say most of us don’t want to eat while feeling like we’re at the club.
Music is one of those elements that should remains unnoticed. Subtle. Gentle. Complimentary to the experience. It should remain in the background. If you notice, it’s because it’s missing or because it clashes with the mood. Music is a tricky piece of setting a cozy scene, but if you get it just right it will make for a more pleasurable experience.
Here I will explore several things to consider and draw inspiration from for your cozy dining experience You can also check out Cozy playlists for when you’re craving a meal soothing to the ears and tummy.
Tip #1: Volume
Whether dining alone or with company the number one thing to pay attention to is VOLUME. You never want any of the Cozy Essentials to detract from experiencing the meal and all that it has to offer. What level you set it at depends on a lot of different factors like how many people are around, what atmosphere you are going for, other background noise etc. But I always like to error on the side of lower volume to save space for conversations or to focus on the meal itself.
If you are dining in alone and want some serious me-time during a night in, you have free range to experiment or select any kind of music you like! Here are the two things I like to consider when creating a cozy experience just for me.
Tip #2: Dig beneath the surface
When I enjoy my solo meal with a bit of background music, I like to use this time to explore genres and get to know them really well. Rather than enjoying my Sunday morning breakfast with old faithful jazz artists like Miles Davis or Chet Baker, I’ll dig deeper and explore foreign jazz musicians like Senri Oe and Max Ionata.
Tip #3: Align the music for each time of day
This helps prevent from spending way too long picking music while your food slowly and sadly turns cold on the table. Consider music that you enjoy for morning and daytime atmospheres, dinner time, and late night dining.
When getting cozy over a meal with friends I also like to consider the following:
Tip #4: Stay aligned to your concept
If you’re hosting a casual dinner party with somewhat of a theme in your food, try not to confuse them by serving fluffy pillows of Italian ravioli and playing tropical reggae jams by Bob Marley in the background.
Lastly, music is a matter of taste and personal preference. So if it just doesn’t feel right…
Tip #5: Silence is a-okay
Whether you’re alone or have everyone and their grandmother over, no music is completely acceptable. If you’re a strong believer in intimate conversations or if enjoying your meal is an escape from reality, no music at all might be for you.
Similar to setting any cozy dining scene, let these essential factors compliment your meal, not distract from it.