If there is one thing Michael Maxxis knows how to do well, it’s set a stage. Along with being a filmmaker and video director, Maxxis is one of the owners of El Cortez Mexican Kitchen & Tequila Bar, and the idea-man responsible for its sultry yet edgy interior. He got to dip his hands in to the design-candy jar again with Have Mercy, a ‘southern table & bar’ in the space directly above El Cortez.


The visual experience alone is worth a visit.


Corrugated tin, naugahyde, wire mesh cages, worn area rugs, tacky wallpaper and banged up knick knacks aplenty: this is a place where all y’all will want to pull up a chair, pop open a cold can of PBR and stay a while. IMG_2825

Bourbon flows, the neon glows and an Elvis impersonator takes the stage every Tuesday night.

IMG_2839On other nights, that stage sees country, rock, and bluegrass bands, and karaoke on Wednesdays. Nightly food and drink promotions help to further get you into the right frame of mind.

Brandon Baker (formerly of El Cortez and Alberta Hotel) has created a cocktail menu that sees a judicial use of Kentucky whiskeys and bitters, as well as a measure of Herbsaint, a liquorice flavoured liquor. While the Peach Cobbler and the Wild Goose Flying in the Night Sky could use some tweaking, the Rattlesnake and the Hyaw Now! Punch are two very solid, nicely balanced, thoughtful concoctions.


Left: Rattlesnake (George Dickel rye, lemon juice, honey syrup, egg white, Herbsaint) Right: Hyaw Now! Punch (EGJ VSOP brandy, house blackberry punch, prosecco, rosemary, blackberries)

The food is classic southern truckstop/diner with Chef Porter inserting some creative license here and there. The dishes are not for the dieter:  Frito pie with barbecued pulled pork, fried green tomatoes with shrimp, sweet corn hush puppies — and that’s  just on the ‘snacks’ side.  If you’re looking for something with even more heft,  the shrimp and grits and the fried chicken and donuts are two worthy offerings.


Frito Pie with barbecued pulled pork, tomatillo salsa and housemade ranch dip.

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Fried green tomatoes and shrimp with andouille tomato gravy.

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Fried chicken and donut.

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Shrimp ‘n grits with tomato andouille gravy.

Have Mercy delivered on all counts: great atmosphere, boozy cocktails, affordable beer and good ol’ down-home cooking.  Check their website for the live music lineup and head on down for a cold one.