Restaurant ambiance- how to get it

I have been driving past Wood Tavern in our neighborhood since we moved here, and there always seems to be a line out the door. Intrigued, I finally got around to snapping a few shots to share with you. Here's their personal recipe for successful ambiance:
Start with dark, rich wood (floors, tables, chairs, beams, railing...)Then contrast it with a nice deep natural color like green. Add some expertly placed soft lighting, some artistic flourishes, and voila, you have an elegant eating establishment. Perfect for date night (as I keep hinting to my hubbie).
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I love the description from this recent review:
"Wood Tavern, a place that expresses the spirit of its neighborhood with the prim, wood-trimmed outlines of a Craftsman house gone interior-designer mod. With a big-grained hickory floor and walls a light-to-dark gradient of forest-y green, it’s a room wrapped in the woodsy semiotics of masculine comfort, shined up with a little varnish of urbanity."
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Of course, everyone has a different idea of what is a comfortable environment. It's all about the consumer. What works in Rockridge, CA would not have flown in my old stomping grounds of Hampden, an up-and-coming neighborhood in Baltimore, MD.
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Rocket to Venus , located just up the street from where I used to live in B'more, was an unique expression of this neighborhood's hipster vibe: urban, gritty, and artsy.
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Here's how a reviewer summed it up:
"The Atomic Age d├ęcor of Rocket to Venus, with its sunburst mirror, robin's egg blue paint, metallic accents and pill-shaped windows, pays homage to the legendary Hampden space program, or so the story on the menu reads. Inside a plain building with simple signage lies a great place to drink or dine. Cheap but tasty food, reasonably-priced drinks and a low-key atmosphere make this a great hangout " (source)

So, what sort of restaurant atmosphere makes you feel comfortable? When you're looking for a neighborhood joint for date night, to meet up with friends, or just a place to sit back and watch the world go by while sipping your beverage of choice, where do you gravitate to?