If you've never heard of Dear Pluto, you're unlikely to stumble upon it by chance.
Located in a dingy back alley in Surry Hills with nary a storefront window in sight, the 'Dear Pluto' sign stands out incongruously amidst the backdoors and loading doors that populate the rest of Wilshire Street. But that's exactly what Dear Pluto is about, inside and out – amazing little finds in unusual places.
The shop – if you can call it that – lacks the usual glaring sales signs, tiled floors and loud music. Instead it oozes culture, with a stack of the Spit Press available free of the side of the counter, artistic posters promoting local art and just for aesthetic appeal on the walls, and a charming assortment of pleasantly mismatched furniture acting as tables and chairs for patrons to make use of.
On weekends, the space masquerades as an op-shop – it's characteristic items each handpicked by owner Emma Daniels, who ensures that every piece of clothing and every accessory is in perfect condition, unstained and untorn. Yet on Monday nights, movie screenings accompanied by homemade popcorn take pride of place at the venue, making use of its projector and the hobnob seating.
On a monthly basis the courtyard plays home to a very carefully selected assortment of treasures to be found at the Flea Sale. Most recently, speed dating nights have been added to the event menu (in an ultra cool, no desperados, cocktail party style gathering of well spoken youths who don't take the event too seriously, and are more interested in meeting interesting people than entering into relationships), along with Spanish lessons from one of Dear Pluto's loyal customers. And that's not all – Emma and Bobby, the friendly folk behind Dear Pluto are always thinking up other ideas, hosting a variety of events related to the arts and culture.
The best thing about Dear Pluto is that it isn't just a shop. The staff aren't in uniform, but are tastefully dressed to the nines and will meet you at the door to talk to you as if you're a potential friend rather than a customer. The clothes, accessories and trinkets are varied and unique, and importantly, not at all overpriced (from $2 - $50). Snacks and drinks are often offered free of charge, and when it's available beers come at $2 a bottle (Carlton) and wine at $3 a cup. Dear Pluto is an artistic and social space, where you can come in, be inspired, meet someone (and have a great conversation) and find a whole lot of wonderful paraphernalia. Not to mention their extremely friendly cat who wanders in and out throughout the day and is not at all averse to being petted or scratched behind the ears.
If you do love your clothes, art or culture and are sick of generic suburban malls and overly commercial boutiques, you will absolutely adore Dear Pluto. It has heart and attitude and has mustered a loving community around Sydney who regularly venture in to view, shop and mingle.
For more information about upcoming events, check out the Facebook Page located here or join the Mailing List at the Dear Pluto website.