Bull’s Tavern: Still Here Doing What They Do
By Timothy G Beeman II
For seven years, Danielle Bull has been atop the “Bad-Ass Women’s Club” in Winston-Salem. She owns the only female-founded bar in downtown. She has brought live music in an intimate setting back to the forefront of entertainment options. She’s strong, she’s smart, she’s tough. She’s amazing.
Bull’s Tavern started in 2012 when Danielle left the “corporate world” and started what she thought was going to be a bar with acoustic/singer-songwriter style music with good drinks and a “quiet” atmosphere. Well, that idea didn’t last long. She and her dad, Darrell built a stage, a large bar, an inviting space and set out to turn the town upside down. Since then, they have rebuilt the stage, rebuilt the sound system and rebuilt the way bars are done downtown.
Danielle is proud of being a diverse bar owner of a very diverse bar in every sense of those words. Her employees come from all walks of life, all orientations, all backgrounds. The music she has in Bull’s Tavern is from many genres, including funk, R&B, rock, soul and jam bands. Their customer base is diverse and ever-changing, although you can find a lot of familiar faces in that establishment. Yeah, going strong for seven years.
But this past year has seen a lot of changes and adversity not only for Danielle, not only for Bull’s Tavern and not only for her employees. The year saw a lot for the city.
The Business 40 closure was huge. One can argue the reality versus fiction of what actually caused the downtown downturn, but the truth is the downturn happened. Business has been down for Bull’s Tavern as it has for everyone, but Danielle is still standing strong. She and her folks are there and they’re still serving the music lovers and drink lovers of Downtown Winston-Salem.
The drinking culture has changed. What was popular to drink last year or the year before isn’t necessarily the “hottest” item now. Perhaps it’s not IPAs or Fireball bevvies now. In a recent interview, Danielle said that she was kind of surprised that the biggest selling alcoholic beverage in the country right now is alcohol-infused seltzer water. Having to roll with the punches as to what to stock and what to pull back on is a difficult task but, again, she stands tall and strong, bringing the town what they want.
The same can be said about the music scene. Anyone who pays attention to pop culture knows that music is everchanging, nothing stays the same. What people listen to this year may not be the same as their tastes preferred last year. But one has to keep their ear to the ground to know what is coming and how to accommodate the music-loving public. Case in point, in the last seven years, Bull’s Tavern has hosted 2800+ live music events, running the gamut in variety and genre.
Bull’s Tavern suffered a huge loss this year. Danielle’s father, Darrell, passed away in May 2019. It was more than Danielle losing her dad. It was the whole bar family losing their rock, their “papa Bull.” The whole team pulled together and kept Bull’s Tavern going through the passing and the community came together for an amazing memorial service on the Bull Family Farm. Even with that, Danielle and Bull’s Tavern are still standing strong.
2019 has tested the mettle of most of Downtown Winston-Salem but Bull’s Tavern has shown perseverance and resilience in the face of hardship. Danielle is still bringing relevance to an everchanging music and bar scene and still showing why she is “Bad Ass.”
408 W 4th St.