I know restaurateurs read these posts and I just wanna say...
I hate communal tables. Is the idea to have a dinner party with strangers? Hook ups?
I really hate them when I have to sit on a bench. Hard to get into, hard to get out of when someone is next to you. And impossible to have a private conversation. Especially if the joint has nasty acoustics.
I don't mind a "lively" room, I don't mind raising my voice a bit, but some of these places are like eating during a prison riot. Maybe works for the right group ("rowdy movie sets", etc)...?