Bull’s Tavern Six Years On The Edge
By Ray Morgan
November 2, 2012, Bull’s Tavern opened and changed downtown Winston-Salem nightlife. Now we have a venue for cutting edge music, across a wide swath of genres, three nights a week. And over the last six years, Bull’s has established a solid reputation for consistently throwing a great party!
For the Sixth Anniversary Celebration, owner and proprietor, Danielle Bull, promises to live up to her reputation! She’s inviting everyone to help her mark the occasion on November 11th with live music from Soul Jam, guest bartenders, drink specials, and “a bunch of good surprises! Y’all gotta come find out what surprises on the 11th!” Danielle exclaimed with a laugh.
Danielle admits she’s frequently out of sync with folks around her. Right now, her head is in April as she is working to book the best groups before schedules fill. “I often forget what day or month it is,” she says with a smile. “It’s a challenge to constantly rebrand yourself, to constantly be looking for the next thing people will want before they even know it’s out there. We limit cover bands, so everyone who plays here is extremely talented and I try to book as many different types of bands as possible.”
Her partner, Daniel, praises Danielle’s ability to find great acts and points out that Bull’s Tavern is diligent about taking it to the next level. “We know, based off what she’s booking, how we have to order for that week. These people want to see these bands so we need the right beers and liquors,” noted Daniel.
Daniel was with Bull’s from the start and left in 2015 to open Gate City Growlers. He came back in 2018 in a partner/mentor role. He drives all over NC looking for family breweries that haven’t hit the mainstream yet and brings them to Gate City Growlers and Bull’s Tavern.
“I think what separates us from most places around that do music is that we have a really in-depth bar and knowledgeable staff,” said Danielle. “Most the time when you go to a music venue, concert, you have a handful of beers and handful of wines to choose from. That’s it. Here, you have our rotating beer selection and our extensive Tequila collection with over 20 varieties. We set out to make 2018 the year of Tequila. We’re trying to step our tequila game up to our Whiskey level. We have over 50 whiskeys. We like whiskey and bourbon.”
Danielle calls her “Whiskey Man”, Cort over to join the conversation. Cort has been with her the longest, for all but 2 ½ months of the six years they’ve been open. It becomes apparent in the first 60 seconds he is the expert! Many people come in Monday on ½ Price Whiskey Night to sample the varieties with a knowledgeable guide. Danielle hinted they are preparing to redo their whiskey inventory and relaunch, never content to let it ride but always looking for something no one else has or knows.
She is predicting artisanal rum will be the next wave. “There are people coming up in the rum game. You have to jump on the forefront of everything,” she muses. “You gotta anticipate the next greatest trend. When we started Bull’s, the craft cocktails trend was starting. Now everybody is selling $10, artisanally made, exotic drinks. We sell them too, but it’s not our only focus. We won a Most Creative Margarita in a margarita competition this past week. We love making great drinks! We have a Boilermaker menu where you can order a pint from six different beers and six different liquors. This came out of what our staff tends to enjoy. We’re beer and shot folks!”
For year seven they plan to start some new things including a beer club; looking at options to offer performance art and live theater; and starting a weekly podcast around improv music and comedy.
They also plan to continue to give back to their community. Danielle has helped raise money for Samaritan’s Purse Ministries, Forsyth Humane Society, Breast Cancer, arts based organizations, Salvation Army, The Shalom Project, Planned Parenthood, NAACP, and so many others. She struggles to remember them all as they are doing something every month. She is passionate about being involved. She stood outside the bar last month and got 100 people registered to vote!
“We want to be a place that’s comfortable, where people want to come. We have a little something for everyone. You want to find something new, come here, whether it’s music or drinks,” remarked Danielle.
You can find the edge at Bull’s Tavern, 408 W. 4th Street, across from the Steven’s Center, downtown, Winston-Salem and online at www.BullsWSNC.com