The bar has been operated by the same family since its opening in the 30s. It is currently owned by the grandson of the original owner.
In the 1990s it was threatened with demolition or removal when its lease expired. Due to concerted citizen and preservationist efforts the restaurant was preserved in its present location as a landmark. Celebrity sightings are still common.
The interior and exterior of the Formosa Cafe can be seen in the movie L.A. Confidential. Other movies shot here include The Majestic and Still Breathing (Brendan Fraser has recurring dreams of meeting his future wife in "Formosa" - he assumes this means the island nation off China, but winds up instead in L.A., where he meets Joanna Going).
It has been described as an "unimpressive, brick-red building with white & black striped awnings, it sits in a particularly faded section of Hollywood, near the corner of Santa Monica & La Brea Boulevards - a corner where hookers have been known to peddle their services even in broad daylight." This is no longer true since the City of West Hollywood has cleaned up this area and the new West Hollywood Gateway shopping complex has been built in the same block.