Double Down Saloon owner P Moss indulges in love of writing

Updated May 15, 2018 - 3:20 pm

Chicago native P Moss lived in Minneapolis, New York and Los Angeles before moving to Las Vegas in 1991. The following year he opened the Double Down Saloon on Paradise Road, which quickly gained a cult following for its welcoming atmosphere, free live music and quirkiness, which extends to its slogan, “Shut up and drink,” and signature cocktail, Ass Juice.

The Double Down also is known to draw celebrities, whom Moss won’t identify. Rumor has it that one famous patron was Prince Harry, whose consumption of Ass Juice one afternoon in 2012 contributed to that evening’s foray into strip billiards and a naked shot seen around the world.

Moss opened a Double Down in New York City’s East Village in 2006 and Frankie’s Tiki Room on West Charleston Boulevard in 2008. While he still owns all three properties, he said, “I’ve got a great business partner now, I’ve got a great management team and I just want to concentrate on writing.” He’s the author of three novels, “Blue Vegas,” “Vegas Knockout” and “Vegas Tabloid,” which was released last fall, and “Liquid Vacation,” a Frankie’s companion book with recipes for original and classic drinks.

Moss started writing on a family car trip at age 8 and later studied journalism, “but I didn’t have a passion for that.” We recently talked to him about writing and his dive bar empire.

Review-Journal: What did you do before you opened the Double Down?

Moss: I was a gambler. I was writing all of that time as well. When I was in L.A., I was writing screenplays — but then again, who isn’t? I had a little bit of success, but none of the movies were ever made. When I moved here, I was working on something with a producer I’d worked with before. It was going to happen; it was kind of a big deal. And then the next big thing came along and it got pushed to the back burner. I knew it would never get made. That’s when I decided I’d never write anything I didn’t own.

What brought you to Las Vegas?

Gambling, for one. The casinos. I’ve always been a gambler, still am. But it was different then. Back then I used to play blackjack, and I still am a sports bettor. There were a lot of sports books, and there were a lot of guys who were characters. I’d sit in the sports book a row behind them and listen. And it’s a nice town; you can really get a nice house five minutes away from the action. It’s a place I always wanted to end up.

Why did you want to open a dive bar?

I spent most of my life sitting in bars, so why not own one and enjoy that? I wanted to open a bar that would be a place where I would like to go. I just did something the opposite of what a lot of people were doing. I tried to fashion it in my own image, and then you let it take on a life of its own.

Why did you choose the location on Paradise Road?

Nobody wanted it because it was a piece of crap. There was a dead bird in the beer cooler. It was filthy. We had to scrub this place for a month to get it clean enough to get a cleaner to come in. Nobody liked the location because it was in “the fruit loop”; that’s ridiculous. I open the door and I’m looking right at the MGM. How could it not be an amazing location? How could nobody see this? I did.

What is it about the Double Down that has brought it fame around the world?

The vibe in this place is really unique, it’s cool as hell and people love it for their own reason. What I tried to do from the beginning was treat everybody equally. We have a very wide demographic. You’ve got these people sitting next to each other at the bar. There’s a plumber who just got off a hard day’s work. Next to him is a kid, next to him is a guy in a suit, next to him is a movie star, next to him is a bum. The guys are thrilled because they’re being treated the same as the movie star; the movie star is thrilled because he’s being treated like everybody else.

What prompted you to write novels?

When you’re writing fiction, you’re writing for yourself. You get to create situations. You get to become part of situations you couldn’t in real life, because there are consequences.

Where do you get your inspiration?

Any good writer is observant. Sometimes you’ll see something and you write about what you see. I don’t do that. I see something that interests me and I’ll take the basic idea and I’ll just embellish it and take off in another direction. Becoming good at writing came from reading — reading the kinds of things you like to write, and learning from what you’re reading. My perfect day would be if I could write something over the top like (James) Ellroy and phrase it beautifully like (Truman) Capote would. I’m not saying I’m as good as either of those guys, but if I can do that, it’s been a good day.

Who is your main audience?

Pretty much everybody. I was doing a book signing at a Borders. I went back to my car to get some props and this old lady — she had to be 85 — she’s running, like an old lady can run, and yelling at me and waving a book (“Blue Vegas”). She wanted me to sign it. She told me how much she loved the book and how much I got old Las Vegas correct and nobody ever does. I looked at her and said, “Even the part where the hooker cuts the guy’s (body part) off?” She looked at me and said, “Every page.” I just did an event at the Henderson library; it’s these older ladies. And the stuff I write isn’t for old ladies. I write about nasty things. I’m not stuck in one demographic. But the old lady thing, that makes me really happy.”

Contact Heidi Knapp Rinella at or 702-383-0474. Follow @HKRinella on Twitter.

5 must-see bands at Punk Rock Bowling 2018
5 must-see bands at Punk Rock Bowling 2018
Gabi Coffee & Bakery Is Like A Korean Speakeasy From The 1920s
Gabi Coffee & Bakery Is Like A Korean Speakeasy From The 1920s (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Five must-see acts at the Electric Daisy Carnival 2018
Five must-see acts at the Electric Daisy Carnival 2018
The "13 Reasons Why" mustang cruises down the Las Vegas Strip (Courtesy Netflix)
4 fun and fascinating museums in Las Vegas
U2 in Vegas through the years
U2 in Vegas through the years
Dirt Dog In Las Vegas Makes Crazy L.A. Street Food
Dirt Dog In Las Vegas Makes Crazy L.A. Street Food (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-journal)
Black Tap In Las Vegas Makes This Instagram-ready Golden Knights Shake (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-journal)
Nevada Ballet Theatre Premieres Until December
‘Until December’ debuts at ‘Ballet & Broadway’ season finale (Carol Cling Las Vegas
Celebrate The Golden Knights With Knights-inpired Latte Art (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Yodeling Boy Mason Ramsey Signs With Atlantic Records, Debuts First Single
Yodeling Boy Mason Ramsey Signs With Atlantic Records, Debuts First Single Ramsey, who shot to fame after a viral video of him yodeling at an Illinois Walmart surfaced, just debuted “Famous.” “If I'm gonna be famous for somethin'/I wanna be famous for lovin' you/If I'm gonna be known around the world/I wanna because of you, girl” Mason Ramsey, “Famous” It’s been quite the rush to stardom for the 11-year-old, who appeared on The Ellen Show and performed at Coachella earlier this month. “I’d been to Nashville a few times before, but never thought something like this would happen. It’s a dream to sign with Atlantic and Big Loud.” Mason Ramsey “I loved recording ‘Famous’ and can’t wait for everyone to hear it.”
Steve Aoki, Pitbull And Other Stars Make An Apperance At The "Keep Memory Alive" Gala
Steve Aoki, Pitbull And Other Stars Make An Apperance At The "Keep Memory Alive" Gala. (Janna Karel Las Vegas review-Journal)
"Hamilton" Fans Line Up Overnight At Smith Center To Get Tickets
"Hamilton" fans line up overnight at Smith Center to get tickets. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
5 concerts to see in Las Vegas this week
You can visit the speakeasy in The Mob Museum's basement... if you know the password
6 new foods hitting movie theaters in 2018
Lip Smacking Foodie Tours takes you where the locals go
Donald Contursi talks about Lip Smacking Foodie Tours, which offers walking tours of restaurants on and off Las Vegas Boulevard with food samples and tidbits of history about the places they visit.
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson Welcomes New Baby Girl!
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson Welcomes New Baby Girl! The 45-year-old actor posted an adorable photo on Instagram, celebrating his newborn baby girl, Tiana Gia Johnson. Dwayne Johnson, via Instagram Dwayne Johnson, via Instagram Dwayne Johnson, via Instagram This is Johnson’s second daughter with his girlfriend, Lauren Hashian. His oldest daughter, Simone Garcia Johnson, came from his previous marriage. Johnson and Hashian first announced they were expecting another child back in January. Congratulations!!
Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend Car Show celebrates 21st year
The Stray Cats, Jerry Lee Lewis, Duane Eddy, Elvira and Mitch Polzak make appearances the 21st Annual Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend car show at the Orleans hotel and casino on Saturday, April 21, 2018.
This "Alice in Wonderland" cocktail changes colors and flavors while you sip
Take a tour of The Underground at The Mob Museum
Prince death investigation coming to an end
Prosecutors in Minnesota plan an announcement Thursday on the two-year investigation into Prince's death from a drug overdose Prince was 57 when he was found alone and unresponsive in an elevator at his Paisley Park estate on April 21, 2016. An autopsy found he died of an accidental overdose of fentanyl. Search warrants unsealed about a year after Prince died showed that authorities searched his home, cellphone records of associates and his email accounts to try to determine how he got the drug. The county attorney has scheduled a morning announcement at which time charges could be filed.
Art Bell’s Top 10 Shows
A selection of radio host Art Bell’s most popular shows.
Big Bounce America visits North Las Vegas
Billing itself as "the biggest bounce house in the world," Big Bounce America visits Craig Ranch Regional Park in Las Vegas.
David Copperfield in court after man injured during magic trick
The attorney for a British man who is suing illusionist David Copperfield said his client suffered serious injuries after being called on stage during Copperfield's show at MGM Grand.
Disneyland debuts new foods for Pixar Fest on Friday
Pixar Fest takes place ahead of California Adventure’s Pixar Pier expansion. (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sneak Peek at New Decorations, Merch and Parade for Disneyland's Pixar Fest
Las Vegas Philharmonic celebrates 20th anniversary season
Orchestra’s 2018-19 season features premiere, more (Carol Cling/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Downtown Las Vegas' newest bar is a reggae lounge
Jammyland serves island-inspired cocktails. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
5 things connecting Las Vegas and Marilyn Monroe
1. Marilyn Monroe, known then as Norma Jeane, obtained her first divorce in Las Vegas at the age of 20 on September 13, 1946. 2. According to some biographers, Monroe lived at 604 S. 3rd Street for four months during the summer of 1946. The house has since been torn down and is now the site of a parking lot. 3. In 1954, Monroe almost married Joe DiMaggio in Las Vegas but the wedding was called off last minute. The wedding was to be held at the Hotel El Rancho Vegas which was located on the southwest corner of Sahara Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard. 4. Las Vegas has at least one road dedicated to the star. Marilyn Monroe Avenue is located in east Las Vegas and intersects with Betty Davis Street and Cary Grant Court. 5. There are currently more than 20 Marilyn Monroe impersonators for hire in the Las Vegas Valley.
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like