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West Hollywood’s Formosa Cafe will be restored and reopened

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New operators plan to recreate its vintage aesthetic

Formosa Cafe with neon sign illuminated WehoCity | creative commons

Just months after West Hollywood’s historic Formosa Cafe closed its doors to the public, bar owners Bobby Green, Dimitri Komarov, and Dima Liberman tell Los Angeles Magazine they’re planning to reopen the place as soon as next year.

The trio owns the 1933 Group, which operates a number of themed vintage-style bars around LA, as well as the newly renovated Highland Park Bowl. Now, they say they have signed a long-term lease with Clarion Partners, which also owns the adjacent West Hollywood Gateway shopping center, to manage the 92-year-old bar and restaurant.

A protected West Hollywood landmark, the cafe’s prospects for preservation in some form were already looking good, but Green, Komarov, and Liberman tell LA Magazine they plan to not only reopen the venue, but to restore it to a version of its midcentury glory.

Long before a recent renovation wiped away much of the cafe’s vintage charm, it was a Golden Age Hollywood staple, as Vintage Los Angeles' Alison Martino told KPCC in January. The restaurant’s interior (a converted Red Car) famously played itself in L.A. Confidential.

The 1933 Group will reportedly rely on vintage photos to recreate the bar’s historic look and feel. The back room will be converted into a dining room with Chinese cuisine. Naturally, the building’s exquisite neon sign facing Santa Monica Boulevard will be staying put.