Like restaurateurs around the country, Bill Russell-Shapiro, proprietor of The
Absinthe Group, is acutely aware of how crucial sonic ambience is to its diners’
experience and satisfaction. When he set out to achieve an elegant Spanish
restaurant in San Francisco, he made sound a priority. That’s why his company’s
new Bellota has become the latest Bay Area restaurant to install a Meyer Sound
Constellation® acoustic system, which is leading the industry in providing creative
solutions to restaurant noise. Constellation balances the buzz of a lively room so
patrons don’t have to raise their voices to converse comfortably over the din, and
allows the staff to control the sound level as the room’s occupancy changes.

Constellation is a key component in the design of the Spanish-inspired Bellota,
located in San Francisco’s popping SoMa district. The 5,400-square foot, 170-seat
restaurant is built in an airy former warehouse space where diners can observe
Bellota’s acclaimed executive chef Ryan McIlwraith making paellas and grilled
meats in an open kitchen.

“Constellation is a flexible system that creates balance,’ says Jonny Raglin, who
managed the Bellota project for The Absinthe Group, where he’s director of bars. “It
allows us to create different atmospheres at different times. We’re able to make it
romantic and quiet in a certain portion of the space, and lively in another part of
the space at the same time.

At the heart of Bellota’s Constellation system is a D-Mitri® digital audio platform
housing the patented VRAS™ acoustical algorithm, which works in conjunction with
24 miniature cardioid microphones, 34 UP-4XP loudspeakers, and 12 MM-10XP
subwoofers. Six Stella-8C installation loudspeakers cover the private dining room,
where a sound-absorptive Libra™ acoustic image system bearing a photograph of
flamenco dancers reduces reverberation. In the lounge, a system of two UP-4XP
loudspeakers and one 500-HP subwoofer provides sound reinforcement for live
music played on a grand piano, which is also distributed at appropriate volume
levels throughout the dining room via Constellation. Santa Rosa, Calif.-based PCD
installed the system.

Bellota is the sixth dining establishment in the Bay Area—a trendsetting center for
food and tech innovation—to install Constellation to create the ideal acoustic
environment. The others are Berkeley’s Comal—the first location to embrace
Constellation— and The Advocate, San Francisco’s Cala—the first U.S. restaurant of
celebrated Mexico City chef-owner Gabriela Camara—and The Battery; and
Oakland’s Oliveto Cafe & Restaurant.

Bellota is the newest and largest restaurant for The Absinthe Group, whose other
stylish San Francisco restaurants include Absinthe Brasserie & Bar, Comstock
Saloon, and the Boxing Room.