Cedd Moses: The Man Behind The Bars
If you have ever celebrated a birthday, grabbed drinks after work, or booked back-to-back Tinder dates at one of Downtown LA’s bars—Cedd Moses may have influenced how your experienced turned out. Golden Gopher, Seven Grand, The Varnish, Bar Clacson, Tony’s Saloon, Casey’s Irish Pub, Broadway Bar—to name a few—have consistently created an atmosphere that’s a little gritty, distinctly original and always a good time. Since 2002, the team at Pouring With Heart (formerly 213 Hospitality) has been revitalizing abandoned buildings into bars and restaurants Downtowners regularly add to their social calendars.
So, who do we owe our bar tabs and hangovers? Cedd Moses: LA native, a disciple of punk and godfather to DTLA nightlife with a mission to build 2,030 careers by 2030. The industrious founder has an apathetic drawl, probably from years of resistance to popular bullshit.
“I grew up by the beach, but the beach bored me. I’d rather be in an abandoned warehouse hanging out with a bunch of like-minded kids than getting stoned on the beach,” said Cedd. At 16 years old, Cedd was playing in a punk band and sneaking into clubs such as Al’s Bar in the Arts District, Hong Kong Café in Chinatown and Gorky’s in the Fashion District. These were the iconic clubs that established Downtown LA as the nucleus of punk culture in the 80s. When Downtown businesses clocked out at sundown, a mass exodus ensued—and rebels, misfits and artists were attracted to the deserted city like creatives to an open floor plan. From here on out, Cedd’s passion for LA’s grit was born. “I loved being tied to the subculture of our city: the punk rock scene, historic buildings, abandoned buildings, the grit, and the soul.”
Flash forward to present day, Cedd’s preferences have hardly changed. He favors plastic cutlery over white tablecloths and humility over hype; crediting his appetite for the underrated to his friend, the late Jonathon Gold. “I go to more mom-and-pop Asian and Latino restaurants. I feel more comfortable there, and I like to support the subcultures. They give more flavor to our city.”
His support for the community doesn’t stop there. Cedd’s original goal was to develop Downtown’s nightlife by opening 10 bars—nothing precious or pretentious, just good people, great drinks and no attitude at the door. It was a simple philosophy. But 25 establishments and four cities later, it became evident that his real purpose is to invest in his employees by developing their careers. “We’re all about building careers for young people. I take personal satisfaction in that. They can start as a bar back, dishwasher, or whatever it is, we’ll give them a career path that moves into management and become a partner with us. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a college education as long as you’re hardworking and have heart.” Pouring With Heart’s employee partnership is a two-way tap. Employees were asked to vote on the company’s shared values and agreed on principles like “stay weird”, “we connect by serving others,” and “we embrace humility & gratitude”. A few bartenders have the values tattooed onto themselves, proving that the creed is not merely for their career but as a code of conduct for themselves.
“Pouring With Heart is what our brand is about ‘pour with mother fucking heart.’ ”
Today, the company tallies at around 500 careers but aims to be on track for 2,030 careers by year 2030. With that level of ambition, we can’t wait to experience the goodness that will pour out of their hearts and into our city. Thanks, Cedd. Downtown LA raises a glass to you.
Written by Janica de Guzman | Photography courtersy of Pouring with Heart