I'm looking for a place to go for drinks in the late afternoon/early evening on a weeknight to talk business with a client -- Westside, hopefully close to the 405 (Century City, eastern part of Santa Monica, and other mostly West environs are all O.K.). Here's what I'm hoping to find:
* Because it's a semi-meeting situation, we need to be able to hear each other, and need to have a table, not sit at a bar ... but still probably just ordering drinks (don't know if she'll want a bite, too, but she asked to meet for "drinks").
* I don't know the woman I'm meeting very well, but she seems pretty down-to-earth. I don't want a dive -- but don't want overly swanky.
* Neither of us is under 40 years old (I think) and I'm a man finding a place to meet a woman client. This means I'm hoping for a place that isn't too intimate, dimly lit,etc. Also means I'd like a place where we won't be the only ones in there, yet isn't so loud that we can't hear ourselves. Not too stuffy, not so hip that if you're over age 32, you can't get a seat.
A colleague suggested the W Hotel, but the one time I was there on a weeknight, the bar and restaurant area was pretty empty, which makes it awkward. If anyone has been there more recently, I'd love to hear.
Any opinions about Westside Tavern during the week? I've only ever seen it on weekends, packed with movie goers.
I would normally default to Culina and the nice bar-lounge area at the Four Seasons, but then I run into a place that might be too swanky and, on a weeknight, might be pretty empty. (Tried Smith House once, but went for lunch and wasn't impressed. Seems like later afternoon would be a dead time there.)
I'm relatively new to Los Angeles and know this is a tall order, but whenever I've searched this site, Chowhounds haven't let me down. I feel like I know these spots in other cities, but not here.
A million thanks in advance for any ideas!