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焼き鳥屋さんで集まったのですが、とても楽しい、かつ有意義な時間を過ごしました。

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    This sentence is strange besides the point asked. It should be とても楽しく、かつ. – user458 Aug 17 '11 at 16:13
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~のですが (or ~のですけれども, or ~んだけど, or any of a number of variants) is often used in this way to "set the stage" and provide a context for a succeeding clause or sentence. Here, the purpose of ~のですが is to mark information that will help the listener understand the second half of the sentence. As such, the が here is best translated into English as "and", not "but".

This is one of the many uses of ~のだ to provide supporting information for other statements.

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