Formosa Cafe

7156 Santa Monica Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90046
www.formosacafe.com (currently down)

Parking: West Hollywood Gateway Complex ($1.50 for first hour or metered parking on Formosa or Santa Monica Blvd.)

Daily, 5-7 pm, features $3 beers (draft and select bottles), $5 well drinks, $6 specialty drinks and $4 appetizer menu

We’ve only known the old Hollywood standard, the Formosa CafĂ©, in its relatively recent life as part of the West Hollywood Gateway complex – a one-stop shop for anything and everything, including stores like Target, Best Buy, Ulta, BevMo, SuperCuts, Payless, and a handful of cheapish chain restaurants.

As handy as the complex is, it’s refreshing to see an old school haunt like the Formosa stand its ground (apparently the result of preservation efforts in the 90’s) in its original location at the corner of Formosa and Santa Monica Blvd – across the street from the production offices known as “The Lot” (formerly Warner Hollywood Studios). The bar itself is Asian-themed with black and red lacquered surfaces, and it celebrates its Hollywood history with glossy photos of the stars of yesteryear lining the top of the bar.
Formosa’s happy hour is a good one – great drink prices, a nice appetizer selection, and a cool, quiet crowd of people. We went for the draft Stella and the Cranberry & Vodka (with a splash of orange), and for food, the delicious sesame fries and pretty tasty vegetable eggrolls. Bonus points for our waitress advising of last call, but not so crazy about the early happy hour. Also, while the bar doesn’t seem like a great place to meet new people, it does seem like a cozy spot to get to know someone better.

Bottom line - any happy hour where the server gives a heads up that a drink is filled with a lot of vodka does all right by us.

Rating: 3.5 Martinis

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