My team is coming in from out of town and meeting our clients for drinks.There will be 6-7 of us, in the Penn Quarter, probably around 7-8pm. Looking for a nice scene, but also a place that's not too crowded and where we can talk easily. Nopa was recommended - is that a good fit?
While I love Rasika, I'm not sure if you can easily talk there. The Penn Quarter location can get awfully loud at times. And in my opinion Zaytinya is nothing but a lot of noise (not really my favorite restaurant as I've mentioned before).
My recommendation would be Poste. There are a couple of different areas you can meet for drinks and some food--a regular table, the back bar area or even the lobby/lounge of the hotel.
Another option would be the bar area of either Central or The Source.
I think the restaurant meets a few of your requirements. The décor and service is nice. Also, unlike other restaurants where its one big giant space, NOPA has a few "rooms" so it isn't as loud. Food wise, the menu descriptions read better than executed. Nothing spectacular or particularly memorable.
Del Campo might be a good alternative.
re: shake N baik
+ 1 on everything you said about the food - went there a couple months ago.
But I know food isn't the main focus for the OP this time around, so I think it fits. We went with another couple and had no trouble with noise - and it is nice space.
I also like the Poste recommendation. Proof has been much too loud the couple times I've been.