We say "green neon sign," you say Formosa Café. We say "Mai Tais," you chant "Formosa Café." We say "red booths below star photos" you call out "Formosa Café." We say "old converted Red Car," you're like, "c'mon, Formosa Café."
And when we knowingly reference one of the famous scenes from 1997's "L.A. Confidential," you say "Lana Turner," with a quick follow-up of... "Formosa Café."
A venue can zoom to iconic status in multiple ways, but, usually, for the most part, the public can cite a single stand-out tidbit about the place, if that, but typically not several.
But the Formosa Café, the formerly snug 'n swanky hangout at 7205 Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood, has been around for over 90 years, meaning fans do really, really know their Formosa facts.
What to do, where to go and what to see
Those fans were sorry to see it shutter at the end of 2016, but news as tart as a freshly made citrus-based cocktail arrived on June 5: 1933 Group, the nightlife outfit behind the semi-recent revitalization of Idle Hour in North Hollywood as well as a host of other retro-fabulous bars, will soon "...revive the destination's cherished nostalgia and celebrate its rich story."
The extends to the deep-toned red-and-green look of the snazzy spot, and the menu, too, for 1933 Group intends to "...weave Formosa Café's previous Chinese influence throughout the culinary program."
A renovation a couple of years back, ahead of the café closing in 2016, gave the space a more modern design.
So how authentic and true-to-its-origins will this fresh refurbishment be, ultimately? One positive sign: Family members who can trace their history back to café's original owners are working with 1933 Group on making the Formosa shine again. (Good to note: Clarion Partners are the landmark venue's owners, while 1933 Group will manage the café. Curbed LA says the new management lease is of the "long-term" variety.)
If you know your stars of bygone Hollywood, you know that John Wayne, Marilyn Monroe, and Elvis Presley all called upon the nitery back in the day. And if you know your 1925 history, then you know that that's when the Formosa Café, about two years before sound film became a feature film phenomenon.
That makes for a good long tale to tell, all told, and that the Formosa is just a number of years out from its centennial cheers those who love to see cinematic slices of our local character polished and preserved.
When's the opening date? Stay tuned. But 1933 Group did reveal that construction will begin "in the coming weeks." Time to find your best Mai Tai-sipping frock, once again, as one of Hollywood's starriest joints is coming back around.