Aural Fixation

Hear yourself eat at Goat Town

Acoustically speaking, most NYC restaurants fall into two buckets: the funeral home and the kindergarten classroom. Neither is much fun to dine in.

Most restaurants are cacophonous because diners sitting close to audio speakers have to yell to hear each other, which prompts the people at the next table to talk over them, and a cascade of noise ensues.

But Goat Town, the newly opened East Village restaurant from Nick Morgenstern (of The General Greene fame), manages to maintain a din that's just right. Even on a recent overcapacity night, we were able to enjoy chef Joel Hough's excellent fried oysters ($12) and crispy roast chicken ($18), carry on a conversation with dining companions and appreciate the eclectic (David Bowie, Gil Scott-Heron, Ariel Pink) soundtrack.

This was no accident: The restaurant's designers, brothers Evan and Oliver Haslegrave (who've also dreamed up the look of Paulie Gee's, Manhattan Inn and Elsa) are serious audiophiles. Though Goat Town–with its arched tin ceilings, white-tiled booths and copper bar–looks as though it would be an echo chamber, the Haslegraves have created a sound environment that Evan likens to "snow without wind."

It may sound Zen, but the sound system is anything but simple. Strips of custom-made speakers hidden behind brass grating line the ceiling (the subwoofer is ingeniously built into the bar) and deliver an equal volume of music–played on vintage vinyl, natch–to every nook and corner of the restaurant.

Goat Town, 511 E. Fifth St.; 212-687-3641 or goattownnyc.com