By Timothy G. Beeman II
Bull’s Tavern just celebrated its fifth anniversary this past November. They came along when ticketed shows were still in fashion. Ziggy’s, the second version, was there. Krankie’s still had bands playing. The Garage was going strong. But, Danielle Bull came along when the ticketed show was still a viable option. However, she did not charge a ticket or cover charge. She wanted to be in the city of “Arts and Innovation” and wanted to fill a need that the city had.
There were bars that featured DJs, like the few that were across the street from where Bull’s opened. There were music venues that served drinks. But, there was not really a “music bar.” And, now, most of the other locations are either closed, changed what they their focus was or are in the process of going away. The block on Fourth Street has evolved into a more entertainment friendly locale. That leaves Bull’s Tavern in a prime position to be the music and libation hot spot in town. Not that it was not already on its way to becoming so.
The customer base at Bull’s Tavern is diverse. From millionaires to the most “blue collar” of workers. The staff at Bull’s is probably the most diverse in the triad. Danielle creates a “family” atmosphere where the employees have each other’s backs. She has employees that have thrived at Bull’s that haven’t necessarily at other venues. At the same time, she has bartenders that have masters degrees. Basically, if they can do th eir jobs, she is all for giving them a place to be. The bartenders, the sound guys, Danielle, everyone, serves a good time, good music and good libations.
They can make craft cocktails, just about anything you can dream up with close to 200 different spirits. A good wine list is there for those in need of a little vino. And, let us not forget that Bull’s Tavern boasts a hefty 24 taps with beers that range from the dark and heavy to the hoppier IPAs to the robust ciders. Danielle and her staff do request that you not order a 10-minute craft cocktail at midnight on a Saturday night. It just puts a bit of strain on the customer flow and backs the whole bar up. But, you will get the best Manhattan you will ever have if you work with them.
But, Danielle has always had an eclectic array of musical tastes and that is what she brings to her musical offerings at the bar. Roots and reggae to rock and roll to hippy Grateful Dead tributes, they can all be heard at any given time. She had a dream of having a place for up-and-coming bands, or as she calls them “baby bands,” to cut their teeth or get their feet wet and grow, hopefully, she says, to where they are too big for Bull’s Tavern. And, that has happened. Take for example, Brothers Pearl, which is probably one of the biggest draws in the Triad. They have almost outgrown her. And, she’s proud of that.
The popular music styles historically come and go. Danielle prides herself in the fact that she adapts to what the market needs without compromising her vision. “You have to be ready for the sea change,” she said, referencing the entire album Sea Change by Beck.
Danielle hasn’t had the burden of having to fill large performance spaces that require large ticket prices just to pay the bands. Danielle doesn’t have that kind of space, but she is happy with what she can provide the town. And, for the most part, she does not charge a cover. Also, she can offer a place for the after-work crowd to gather, have a fellowship, enjoy great libations and call Bull’s Tavern their “neighborhood bar.”
Yes, five years in and Bull’s Tavern is, in fact, becoming the place to be. If you look through the events calendar, they have a lot going on. You can be assured that if it is on the stage, it will be good. It may be weird, but it will be good. The drinks will always be on point.