A few thousand other well-heeled celebrants were there for the same reason, but like any old-school S.F. restaurant, John's has a warren of elegant upstairs rooms ideal for mingling, and as a result the mood was more convivial than congested. Photographs of the restaurant's satisfied past customers - Alfred Hitchcock, Marlon Brando, Sophia Loren, Lillian Hellman et al. - gazed down from the dark oak-paneled walls, and the cocktails were frosty and potent.
John's Grill is of the same genre and attitude as Tadich's, Sam's and Jack's, right on down to the starched linens and starchier waiters, with a menu of toothsome classics like crab Louis, Joe's special, hangtown fry, grilled snapper, oysters Wellington, calves' livers and the Bloody Brigid cocktail: vodka, soda, lime, grenadine and sweet and sour. Plus Spade's circa-1929 chops, potatoes and sliced tomatoes, of course. Why mess with success? (63 Ellis at Stockton; 986-3274.) --Matthew Stafford