Fremont East’s Discopussy makes a quick impression on Downtown Las Vegas’ house and techno scene

DIscopussy’s interior
Photo: Anthony Mair / Courtesy

Don’t bother trying to explain Discopussy to your parents, or why it’s in your Google search history. Even Corner Bar Management’s Mauricio Morales still has trouble, and he helped open the venue.

“The theme’s pretty jarring,” he admits with a laugh. “It was really hard telling my wife where I was going to go to work.”

As vice president of marketing and entertainment, Morales books all the musical talent for Corner Bar, the company behind Downtown staples Commonwealth, Park on Fremont, Lucky Day and now, Discopussy. “For a long time, before I came on board, we were definitely playing music that’s more open format,” he says, “more hip-hop, R&B, catering to the local and tourist crowds there. But Discopussy was our first chance to really make a dedicated house and techno venue.”

Everything about the cavernous 6,500-square-foot space looks the part: neon LED lights wrapping the bar, industrial black textures hugging the walls, a gigantic disco octopus sprawling with tentacles in the center of the room. It’s strange. It’s cool. And it’s exactly what Morales envisioned when he used to DJ at the bygone Insert Coin(s) video game bar, in the space where now Discopussy stands. His dream of this space becoming a home for “house heads” like himself wasn’t far off.

Since Discopussy debuted last year, Morales’ keen eye and ear have brought some of the deepest cuts in techno and house to the Downtown lounge. From The Juan MacLean and Matthew Dear to Todd Terry and Mark Farina, Discopussy is a love letter to old-school house, “harkening back to warehouse raves,” he says. “We try to be as eclectic as possible, but as much as possible honor where that music came from. So that’s where you’re gonna see those classic Chicago, Detroit, New York house heads coming into Disco to play music.

“We want them to know that as the entertainment capital of the world, there is still a place for authentic house,” Morales says.

And though it can be risky going against the Top 40 grain in any club—Morales has seen talent pulled off the decks for it—he’s adamant artists can play what they want at Discopussy, which attracts a good blend of young and veteran dance-music fans.

“We all find out that every song we love that is produced in 2021 has riffs and rhythms and melodies that were anchored in classic house songs from the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s,” the 34-year-old Morales says. “They end up learning something new, or they catch on to a familiar lyric.”

And after the past year, he adds, people are excited to get back on the dancefloor no matter what’s spinning. By booking timeless talent, he’s looking to give Discopussy’s crowds the “sort of indescribable magic that happens when you’re a house head,” he says. “It’s almost a type of religious experience.

“I’m conscious that every bar that we build, especially ones that are dance-forward like this, create memories for people,” he continues. “If we have an opportunity to make that memory better by getting some unknown, unnamed talent or known talent, then I’m gonna go for that.”

DISCOPUSSY 512 Fremont St., 702-754-1225, discopussydtlv.com. Thursday-Sunday, 10 p.m.-2 a.m.

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Amber Sampson

Amber Sampson is a Staff Writer for the Las Vegas Weekly. She got her start in journalism as an intern ...

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