/Long Beach, CA that works for an unknown number of people with a wide variety of tastes...
I want to get a bunch of my old high school friends together when I go visit Long Beach again in October, and I want to find a place that:
A) Won't require reservations for big groups (because I don't know if there will be a big group)
B) Isn't a sit-down type of restaurant, but will serve food
C) Serves a variety of drinks (non-alcoholic, coffee, cocktails, etc.)
D) Is not a sports bar or a meat market or anything like that
E) Veers a bit on the eccentric without trying too hard to be "wacky"
F) Cheerfully caters to a jeans-and-t-shirt clientèle.
Bonus points if it panders shamelessly to nerds.
For an example of what I'm thinking, if the situation was reversed, and I had a bunch of people coming to Nottingham who wanted to go out and have a few drinks, I would take them to the Malt Cross
. There, I know I can get an excellent rum and coke or cup of coffee, a good burger, and I'm in an old Victorian vaudeville hall of awesomeness. Or, if I was feeling a bit more kitschy, I'd take them to the Pit & the Pendulum (the website looks like it was hacked, alas), where I know I can get a weird cocktail, some decent food, and it's decked out like a Vincent Price movie.
It doesn't necessarily need to be South Bay/Long Beach - it just seems easier to me, since we all grew up around Long Beach, Carson, Torrance, etc. I'll also caging rides from people rather than driving myself, and I'd much rather talk someone into driving an extra 10 minutes than an extra 45...
(I just don't want to end up hanging out at Del Amo Mall, like I did when I was 17...)