I like the idea. It’s a good way to give people information in character, and to come up with new stories from conversation. I agree that rank protocol would have to be observed, and that refreshments would have to be limited to water, tea, coffee, or drinks with similar characteristics for other races and cultures. If it’s appropriate for a conference at work, it’s probably all right for a conference in the TSN.
It doesn’t preclude the bar, we can have a formal meeting and then go and relax afterwards to be more informal. The bar is where personal background details can emerge. And where paper umbrellas in cocktails can be twirled, with no harm done.
It might be helpful to define when the conference is over: we don’t want it to go on until the last minute before the next shift. The senior officer must have the authority to dismiss everyone back to their duties.