Hey there Keirtar.
I dont think I can answer all your questions as I dont get out much!
But when I have been out...
We went to a tapas bar in Dubbo a while back and they had a couple of local young guys playing acoustic guitar. It was great stuff, though as the resturant is small, they were probably a bit loud for conversation.
And thats my main problem with most music at cafes/resturants. The music is a killer when it comes to conversation. Either its just on the edge of your hearing and is annoying because youre trying to figure out what the song is or its just too loud for any conversation to go on. I really really hate yelling at my fellow diners when at a table!
I was at St Ali a while back too and whilst I liked some of their music and you could still have a conversation, the bass was probably the most annoying thing of their sound system. All I could hear was the low end thump of the sub woofer. But I am pretty attuned to low end noises as has been proven in hearing tests, so they affect me more I guess. Still, probably good not to have too much bass anyway. As it can affect your body and put you off your food or drink.
A friend is a muso and hes been doing gigs for years. Mainly RSLs and the like. Sadly the poker machines have killed the pub and club scene for musicians. When weve gone to support him (as in watch him play, not play ourselves!) its really sad to see that everyone hangs around for the raffles but then these places empty and hes playing to very few people. I think he said one night he played to a guy who was asleep in a chair in front of him in this huge auditorium at a club. ;D
But thats how it is, thanks to pokies.
Anyway, thats some of my thoughts. Hopefully they were coherant enough.
Welcome to Coffeesnobs too!