Other than Piperade, is there anywhere with a table like this for a group of 8-12? Long tables just don't allow you to talk to more than the 3 people sitting around you. The group will be coming from the Hyatt Embarcadero, so walking or short cab distance is preferable.
Alternatively, we could take the risk of showing up somewhere with a first-come-first-served lounge area that serves appetizers, so long as the place is conductive to keeping the group together and not splitting us up. Perbacco and Slanted Door tell me this can be done. Any experience with this?