2700 Chartres St, New Orleans, LA | Directions 7011729.963609 -90.050765
Neighborhoods: Bywater, Bywater
Sweet & Cozy – Its not perfect but Sound Cafe is actually really cool. They host these little events for children in the neighborhood where they bang on instruments and eat pizza. There's this great bookstore next door with all kinds of eclectic things to choose from. Its a pretty corner to sit and watch people you know and traffic go by. I think in all its an enjoyable place to hang out. The baristas are nice. They may not let you bang on a piano like a nut but thank God or else I wouldn't be able to get anything done when I go there.
HORROR STORY – I have never written a review about anything in my life, but THIS MUST BE DONE.
Like joecool4887, I am a musician, though I am highly trained. I studied 18 years and hold a Masters in Music Theory and Composition from UCLA. I now score films for a living.
I came to New Orleans from California with a film crew. Our set was in the ByWater, just 5 blocks away from the Sound Cafe, so we frequently patronized the cafe. I would often play Bach or Mozart on the piano in there with no problems. I would simply ask the barista, (who was a nice young lady) and she would turn off the muzak so I could play. The customers seemed to enjoy it. Sometimes they would applaud, sometimes they would tip me, even though there was no jar- they would put it on the top of the piano. One morning, a business man even placed a $20 bill and asked where he could buy my CD. But what got me next came strait out of left field...
One day, the barista approached me and said that management wanted me to play softer. I did my best and put my foot on the damper pedal. I don't know exactly what more I could do. After playing for about 5 more minutes, a rather scruffy, tall and slender man stood over me and said: "I thought we told you to quiet down!" and SHUT THE LID ON MY FINGERS- my source of income. Then he dashed out the back door.
I was shocked and insulted. When asked, the barista told me he was said management. I have never seen anything like it. Manager? Of what? What he "managed" to do was me get me to convince the whole film crew to patronize another cafe on Royal. He managed to get himself several bad reviews written about his Cafe, from people like me and joecool4887.
I'm not saying that you will receive horrible and unprofessional service at the Sound Cafe, you might actually like it. However, for me, that unprofessional experience shattered my image of southern hospitality. I just don't think they deserve the business.
Great coffee, lack of sound – I spent a week in the 9th ward with a group of 50 students from UConn for relief purposes. Every day after a long day's work it was nice to take a walk to the Sound Cafe and get an iced coffee (which is very good). On Tuesdays they have local professional musicians giving lessons to kids for a very small stipend which I thought was awesome. Although it sounded like complete chaos it was so cool to see all these kids being exposed to music when they otherwise wouldn't have the chance. The instruments were all donated too.
The last day we were there I sat down at the piano to play a few tunes. I'm no Mozart, but I could certainly make some sweet & soft sounds on a piano. A few of my friends were writing letters and enjoyed it, but the employee didn't seem to. She came up to me and asked me to "take a piano break." It's kind of ironic that at the "Sound Cafe" I wasn't allowed to play the piano. I would've given the place 5 stars if it weren't for that but that's pretty upsetting. If anyone from Sound Cafe sees this, please either take the piano out or let the customers play. It's like putting a slab of meat just beyond a caged dog's reach.
Community Coffee: good vibes – The Sound is a gem. I go there to read, eat good sandwiches, chat with friends, and even make new friends. The service is great but not fawning. Beth's books is next door, a charming bookstore of the same owner, and Sound also has a good selection of unusual magazines.
Sound Cafe is only open until 7pm.
BAD BUSINESS! – NO SOUND AT THE SOUND CAFE.
The concept of the Sound Cafe is great, but they failed miserably.
Soon as you walk in, you see guitars, a piano, various musical propaganda and a sign that reads: "SILENCE IS VIOLENCE". However, there is no music here. In fact, the only sounds you will hear at the Sound Cafe cafe are people typing and clicking on their laptops and pennies being swept across the floor as the barista cleans. The reasons this cafe resembles a library is hardly surprising...
The owner of the Sound Cafe is also the owner of the failed next door bookstore called Beth's Books. Beth was once quoted as saying: "I hate piano music", and has a reputation of being rude and snobbish to customers. The icing on the cake was watching a manager block a young virtuoso's attempt to perform Bach on the piano. That day marked the end of all that could have been... An Internet cafe at best.
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