Fair Oaks Pharmacy’s neon sign, which was restored and re-mounted on the building after years of languishing in obscurity.
A recent post by the Los Angeles Beat of vintage Los Angeles restaurants included Fair Oaks Pharmacy in South Pasadena.
Although it is true that Fair Oaks Pharmacy has a nifty neon sign and an antique lunch counter, the listing deserves an asterisk. When the Daily Mirror moved its HQ to South Pasadena in the 1990s, the pharmacy was just another average corner drugstore of the 1960s – and had no lunch counter. When the business was sold in 1989, the new owners restored the vintage sign, which had been removed and as I recall had been stuck in an alley. The lunch counter, alas, is not original to the building, but was removed from a drugstore in Missouri. At that point, the drugstore began offering lots of antique items and Route 66 memorabilia. Eventually, it expanded into an adjoining space that had been occupied by a shoe repair shop.
To quote the Los Angeles Times, March 23, 1995:
At first, Michael Miller, a pharmacist, had bought Fair Oaks Pharmacy as a place to sell medicine. But the Millers became intrigued with the idea of restoring the pharmacy’s old soda fountain, which had been dismantled in the ’60s. As a teen-ager in Brooklyn, Michael Miller had worked at his grandfather’s soda fountain and candy store, learning how to whip up eggnogs and chocolate sodas.
Through an ad in an antiques magazine, the Millers found a turn-of-the-century pharmacy and soda fountain in Joplin, Mo., that was about to go out of business. In Joplin, the Millers hit pay dirt, buying up the old soda fountain fixtures, malt mixers, antique stained glass cabinetry and other items.
Hence the asterisk. The interior seems old and was done in an attempt to re-create what was originally there, but much of the furnishings are from another drugstore.