In 1976, Chow Yu began to transform the house into a center for cultural activities. After the "Formosa Incident" in 1979 (the brutal crackdown of Taiwan's rising democratic movement), Wistaria Tea House became the meeting place for political dissenters and a new generation of artists. In 1981, Chow Yu opened Wistaria Tea House which deeply influenced the renaissance of tea culture in Taiwan. Wistaria Tea House successfully developed a new "way of tea" by creatively transforming Daoist aesthetics and the idea of self-cultivation traditionally cherished by Chinese literati within the sphere of consumer culture. Furthermore, it became a meeting place for social activists and critical scholars holding many symposiums and public discussions. This mixture gave Wistaria Tea House its unique atmosphere and cultural significance.
In 1997, Wistaria Tea House was declared a Taipei City historical site. In January of 2003, the Taipei City Cultural Bureau formally turned the operation of the teahouse over to the Wistaria Cultural Association, which heralded a new era for this "public space of Dao".