Friday, May 06, 2022

Friday at the Formosa

The Formosa Cafe on Santa Monica Boulevard in Los Angeles opened in 1939, known as Hollywood’s Golden Year: “The Wizard of Oz,” “Gone with the Wind,” “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” and “Stagecoach.” The celebrities that have frequented this treasured waterhole over the years include Elvis, James Dean, Frank Sinatra, and Humphrey Bogart. Actor Tony Curtis recalled going there frequently while filming “Some Like It Hot” with Marilyn Monroe. From the Formosa website:

On any given day, patrons might have seen Ava Gardner dancing past the old, red leather booths, or John Wayne nursing a late-night scotch (he was caught making scrambled eggs in our kitchen one morning, after reportedly passing out in a booth the night before).

My last few visits had been very sad experiences, as new owners had stripped the interior of its historic and beloved decor. This time though, I am VERY pleased to report that the Cafe has been restored to its former glory.

We just stopped by on a Friday night, with no reservations. Fortunately we were able to score a few stools at the bar.

Enjoying a few drinks with the Shirley gang, SJR and Melissa (aka “The Colonel”):

The historic celebrity photos are back, too; some signed, some unsigned:

Reservations for dinner are available, and I definitely plan to score a booth in the future.

LOVE these light fixtures!!

In a case of shoot now, look later, I haphazardly chose this booth to capture:

Later, I discovered that besides Dick Van Dyke, Phyllis Diller, Milton Berle, and Marjorie Main, none other than Shirley Temple hung on this wall, SANS autograph, though.

I’ll take one of these lamps, please.

To my knowledge, the exterior and the sign are the only parts of the Cafe under any kind of historic landmark protection; the interior is completely vulnerable.

PLEASE stop by the Formosa and support it with your $$; this place is a treasure!

See more Formosa Cafe photos at my main website.


Nanook said...

A Treasure, indeed-! Thanks for your documentation of much of its goodness.

Daveland said...

Nanook - I am really looking forward to making a reservation and enjoying the place properly again!