The Upper West sounds like the best fit but I’ll look into the ones that I don’t know well. I don’t really have a top end budget in mind. I think ones that would be too expensive would also get eliminated for many other non-budgetary reasons making them poor fits.
I don’t think that I probably emphasized enough that while we all would like good food and drinks, the non-food & beverage factors are more critical. This is a group of former co-workers who haven’t seen each other in 10+ years. The ability to comfortably talk and hear each other and not feel rushed is what is most important. I also expect that given that everyone is arriving separately from all over S. CA after work that we won’t arrive at the same time. Hopefully a majority of us will arrive on time or close to on time but I already know one person who will probably be at least an hour late and I expect that at least one other person will probably get held up in the office and arrive late. Getting seated before everyone is there is important as is not feeling rushed to leave. I know a lot if not most restaurants don’t want to seat groups before everyone is there and I understand why but any place too strict about that is probably not a great fit.
I love Hatchett Hall and wish I thought it was a good fit but the times that I’ve been (granted mostly on weekends), its been very loud and hard to hear each other. Scopa was really loud also the one time that I was there. I don’t see my constraints making MB Post a good fit either.
Thanks for the recommendations. I really appreciate it and will look into these places. If you think of others that are a better fit or would change your answer based on the above, let me know. Thanks!