Photo by Gordy Tweit

Pluto’s  — "That Crazy Hippie Place on 11th" 

Before Dirty Dan’s Restaurant arrived in 1974, this location was known as a big "hippie hangout” located at 2111 11th Street, offering free peanuts.  The floor was covered with peanut shells and sawdust by design — part of the unkempt ambiance.  
Fairhaven’s "Hippie Mecca of the West” scene was going strong from late 1967 to 1973.  South-siders who remember those days believe it began in January 1967 when Timothy Leary’s was invited to speak to 1300 students at  Western Washington State College (now University).

  In May 1967, Pluto's was known as the Bowery Tavern, selling advanced tickets to the Jefferson Airplane concert the Carver Gym on Western's campus.   Also in town for the concert were Alan Ginsberg and Ken Kesey & his Merry Pranksters.  With Neal Cassidy as driver, the group arrived earlier in the week on Kesey's psychedelic painted school bus "Further” to distribute  LSD to Western Washington students.  
In an interview about that week, Kesey described  "taking a jolt of acid" and wandering into the gym to see Jefferson Airplane.  While he remembers some details of the concert….he doesn’t recall leaving Bellingham.  "Suddenly I wasn’t there anymore.” 


By 1968,  the Tavern was now Pluto’s featuring live music and dancing by "Pineapple Bedroom” until 1:30 a.m.  For concerts the stage could seat over 60 of the "hip-community."   It has been said by those who claim to remember, that Janice Joplin and Jerry Garcia stopped by on their way from concerts in Seattle and Vancouver.   Others remember John Lee Hooker and Muddy Waters.  No memories of food.  If it was served it was "counter-cultural” fare.  
Pluto’s advertising in 1970 showed a $1.50 cover charge, with dancing from 9 pm to 1 am; music by the 4-piece band "Double Tongue."

Many folks in the community have their own special memories of this "hippie hangout", and of a time in history that has made an indelible mark on the lives of everyone.

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