Barstool: Bull’s Tavern

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by Eric Ginsburg

I wonder if, when her father named her, he had a premonition that someday she would run a bar.

It only seems appropriate that with a name like Jacqueline Danielle Bull — after none-other than Jack Daniels — you’d end up owning a booze-based establishment. I met Bull by accident last week, just after she bought a round of Jameson shots for practically everyone at the bar. It was early on a Thursday evening, and most every patron inside was part of what looked like an impromptu engagement party, dressed in street clothes and crowded around the bar towards the back of the elongated room.

Bull wasn’t working, but she called out to her bartender from the end of the bar, where she was chatting with two beer reps, that the next round was on her.

She wouldn’t do that for just anyone, Bull later explained; these are some of her best customers, a crew that routinely celebrates all its momentous occasions at Bull’s downtown Winston-Salem tavern.

Bull, who goes by Danielle, opened the bar and music venue three years ago, in the Fourth Street storefront next to Recreation Billiards that used to house a club called Mod Bar. In that time she’s started receiving thousands of booking requests a month, amassed a trove of grammatically embarrassing résumés and started planning a basement component to the space, like the Whiskey Box under Rec Billiards.

The man who named her after whiskey built the black booths on the right wall and seating area along the left, hanging the speakers from the ceiling that face inwards from the front window.

As the engagement party saunters to the sidewalk seating in front of Bull’s Tavern, which looks out at the Stevens Center and the other cultural institutions along the main drag, Bull explained her vision for an upfit of the venue. She’d like to find a time to close the bar and knock it all out at once, but that’s more problematic than it sounds.

Besides the expanded capacity from an added component downstairs, she envisions about 40 taps to replace the dozen she has now.

Some of the current lineup is local, including a Hoots handle, but the beer reps were here for a Great Lakes Brewing Co. tap-takeover night that would really commence once night fell.

Cleveland-based Great Lakes is one of the most respected craft breweries this country offers; look no further than the Dortmunder Gold lager, a 16-time medal winner at the World Beer Championships, including gold, silver and World Champion. It was one of four Great Lakes’ beers on draft that night, including the worthy Alberta Clipper porter and the new seasonal Sharpshooter session wheat IPA, a smooth and well-rounded brew.

It’s apparent from her interactions with staff, her patrons, the beer reps and even her neighbor who wandered in that Bull is a people person. Stories about cleaning up puke or watching people flirt across the room using Tindr come easily. And maybe that, more than her name, explains why she’s cut out for the bar industry.

Visit Bull’s Tavern at 408 W. Fourth Street (W-S) or find it on Facebook.