Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Happenings; Country-Western Spirit Rocks at Mavericks at the Landing

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Happenings; Country-Western Spirit Rocks at Mavericks at the Landing

Article excerpt

Byline: Laura Capitano

Inside The Jacksonville Landing, red is the new pink. The forces behind the new Mavericks Rock N' Honky Tonk waged a color war on Club Paris' sickly shades, with red velvet and rustic wood emerging triumphant. (Hopefully said forces also burned a few sage bunches to drive out any lingering bad spirits from the previous regime.)

A Texased-up facade built from unpainted wood perks up the club entrance across from the Landing food court. Wagon wheels, horseshoes and tin roof shingles complete the look. You get to walk through swingin' doors to the club proper, a cutesy Old West delight you don't see much anymore, save for the occasional video store that has a set leading into its "18 & up" room.

Inside, the saloon theme is developed to the hilt, from the cocktail servers in corsets and fishnets, to the pool tables, to the entire stuffed elk on loan from Toney Sleiman's hunting trophy collection.

The upper level of the club has been dubbed Miss Ellie's Bardello and is done up in crystal chandeliers, animal print furniture and framed black and white pin-ups of dust bowl-era ladies, some wearing nothing but pearls. The Bardello also holds the VIP sections, and I choose to assume the featured dance poles are for the ladies to do the can-can.

Part concert venue, part dance club, Mavericks roped me in twice already, for a lunchtime Trace Adkins concert for Gator Country radio contest winners and for its grand opening celebration featuring Lila McCann. The country-meets-rock theme seems a natural fit for Southern rock-loving Jacksonville. When you see couples twirling around the dance floor and so many people in the crowd singing along with the performer, it's clear Mavericks found its niche.

Both performances sounded good enough that I watched every minute, despite being a country music novice. And how nice to have a stylish yet casual downtown music venue -- one where no one would dare hiss at you to sit down. …

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