Help my near-perfect attempt for a 10-top
A place that will accommodate a group of 10 (even grudgingly is ok)
Won't mind a group of 10 getting a little loud on Sat. May 5th around 8/9ish (hopefully a place where there are a few other tables being a tad loud as well)
The decor isn't overbearlingly polite/beautiful/features falling water
Serves ok to decent to very good food
Serves better drinks/beer/cocktails
Mid-range pricing (8-15 app, 20-35 entree)
Is NOT above 23rd.
Is maybe a little gastropubby.
Is NOT going to be crowded with a "cinco de mayo" crowd.
Is not Agave.
May be you can try E.U.? They have a variety of European beers and is fairly "gastro-pubby" Food is around your price range.
Landmarc in Tribeca will do a 10-top (that's the limit) and should fit your bill. Drinks-wise their focus is on wine, but they have cocktails and beer as well. As far as loudness, it gets pretty busy, but I don't think they'll go for one of those LIttle Italy bachelor/bachelorette party type of scenes (what's the name of that terrible restaurant?).
Do Hwa is fun, and Alta might be able to fit the group - it's worth a try.
I also wanted to note Lederhosen. It's under your budget, it does get loud, the food is very good (but only german and not super-veg friendly), but we always have a great time and the beer selection is great. They will set you up with a picnic table and add one or two 2-tops to extend it.
What about Lucky Strike, the oldest branch of the McNally "empire."
I just saw somewhere they got a new chef, though he isn't changing the menu - just spicing up the nightly specials. They make good drinks and have decent to good food without the Pastis/Balthazar mark-up. I've been there on a Saturday with 8 people before with minimal trouble. On Grand and W. Broadway. For alternatives right near that corner that shouldn't be too crazy for a big group on Sat, also look into Corio (small plates), Papatzul (Mexican small plates), and Cafe Noir. All have decent, if not remarkable, food.
I would second ronoc's recommendation for Cafe Noir. Amidst the chaos that always seems to reign there, the staff have large groups down to a science. I once brought a nightmare-ish crew of 15 there one night, and 7 people got there early (and were seated immediately and orders taken, excellent cocktails and wine on the table within 5 minutes), 4 people arrived within a half hour of our reservation time (ditto on the original 7 whose food was already rolling out by that time), and another 6 people rolled in whenever they felt like it and called 4 more people to come by (yes, yes, I know that's more than 15, but that's the number we started with). Everyone was seated immediately, got food and drinks right away, and the servers were never snarky or rude, nothing but pleasant and accomodating, and we bombarded those poor people with requests for more food and drink. We stayed about 4 hours and left a very large tip. I personally love the food, it's by far my favorite late-night option if I'm looking for a place to sit back with friends and end the night with snacks and good wine. They serve Moroccan influenced tapas, all very tasty, good portions, and reasonably priced. I'm suddenly having visions of their tuna tartare with avocado, and the falafel crusted calamari, and the Morrocan pizza.
Don't be fooled by the crush of people at the bar, make a reservation for one of the nooks in the back, and push your way through the crowd to get back there and relax.