If anyone knows the bar world, it’s Cedd Moses. The son of acclaimed LA artist Ed Moses launched, resurrected and successfully maintained 25 establishments in three states – including 18 in downtown LA – in both best and worst times. Some of them include by Cole and The nailpolish, The Golden Gopher, Seven Great Los Angeles and its recently reopened brewery, Home brewery at Union Station.
Moses grew up in the post-disco Hollywood punk landscape in the early 1980s, used to the Los Angeles nightlife scene. As he describes in his new book with Erik Cardona, Pour with heart: The essential magic behind the bartenders we love he became a Wall Street hotshot in money management with his face on the cover of Forbes by the time he was 30 years old. And he was unhappy.
“I felt like a stranger until I discovered the bar business,” he says in the book. “Nothing has given me more satisfaction than working alongside my fellow bar family colleagues, cultivating careers for people who, like me, have felt like strangers everywhere else. But now I am surrounded by the most wonderful people every day and I am grateful to them. Strangers are my fucking people.
The book is a guide for anyone wanting to get started in the business and pays homage to the magic behind the bartenders who brought nobility to the profession. Including legendary bartender Dale DeGroff wrote the preface and Eric Alperin, one of Pour with heartmost loved ambassadors of. It is a very personal love letter from Moses that touches on the topics of service, leadership and passion, and addresses pitfalls like the health risks of the profession including drug and alcohol addiction as well as lack of sleep.
“Some nights you are invincible. Other nights you barely hold out. It’s intoxicating. But like most intoxicants, having too much pleasure can be harmful to your health.
The main theme throughout Pour with heart is the concept of being of service to the person in front of you, the Moses belief system and ideology that is never wrong the act of manufacturing a glass with the art of portion a.
Moses grew up in a Los Angeles home in the ’60s that entertained a stream of artists and bohemians including Frank Gehry, Ed Ruscha, Dennis Hopper and Jack Nicholson, but he credits his passion for hospitality to his mother and devout Buddhist, Avilda Moses.
“I guess my values come from my mom and my creative side comes from my dad,” he says. LA Weekly. “He was a crazy, eccentric artist hanging out with counterculture types. These values are things that are deeply rooted in me. My mother was from the southern drinking rituals. Every day was a cocktail for my grandmother. It started with Bloodys in the morning and mint juleps in the afternoon until the first fireflies came out, then his bourbon and ranch water from there. She was a big influence on me, spending summers in Virginia growing up. It was my first real dose of hospitality.
“My dad was a stoner so he and me were very different that way. He was a social chat, always outside, much more than me. Ironically, I think there are a lot of people in the bar who are reserved and introverted and that trading helps us come out of our shells. Communicating and connecting with people gives you confidence.
The notoriously gentle Moses, who prefers to stay in the background, was inspired by the writings of motivational author Simon Sinek and the need and positive impact of good leadership. All proceeds from the book will go into his “For the Other” fund, intended to be a financial safety net for the book. Pour with heart bar staff.
“It’s a deeply personal journey for me,” says Moses, who opened his first waterhole in 1996, The Liquid Kitty. “We are on track to build 2,030 careers by 2030. We measure success by the number of careers we build for our employees. We are opening nine more bars next year. Our bartenders can make a difference in the lives of our customers. We believe that everyone is capable of doing great things.
“The book is not meant to discuss the merits or the downsides of the sauce, whether or not people should drink, or how much we should or should not drink. It is simply to explain that there is an anthropological reason why we are doing it.
Moses details life-threatening struggles to resurrect the Golden Gopher dive bar, which opened in downtown Los Angeles as the Golden Sun Saloon in 1905. Police raided the bar several times while the team was in receivership. Gangs, squatters and prostitutes had taken over the place. He started receiving death threats when they entered and took control of the space and suffered a series of break-ins.
“This adversity has led to an incredible culture in this bar, which is really the subject of this book,” says Moses, who plans to convert the old Lindy Hotel upstairs into a boutique hotel.
“Rno matter what you look like, where you’ve been or what you’ve failed in the past, there is a place for you here with us, ”says the father of two. “It took me decades of trial and error to figure it out, and I’m dying to share the magic that I’ve discovered.”
“I had left the bar business and got out barefoot and broke, with my last bourbon in hand, before handing over the bartender job to a goddamn machine. “