To understand the story of the Dallas Bull, you don’t have to remember parking in the dirt lot at 8222 US Highway 301, or remember hearing the faint buzz from the glowing neon signs on the walls of the “Old Bull”. You don’t have to know every line dance, or know how to master the thrusts of the mechanical bull. You don’t have to be a drinker or a smoker, you don’t even have to know the lyrics to “Friends in Low Places”. To be a part of our history, all you have to do is walk through our saloon doors.
The Dallas Bull was introduced to Tampa in 1979, with throngs of patrons waiting outside for the first taste of the country bar that would one day become a legacy in the Sunshine State, and proudly boast the title of “the largest honky-tonk east of the Mississippi.” The small, gritty country bar was beloved by all that came through the doors…mainly due to the fact that customers felt like they were part of a family, like they were more than just another round of drinks to be served… like they finally belonged.
As the Bull’s popularity grew, so did the need for a larger venue to accommodate their growing fan base. The owners went on a country-wide tour of some of the most renowned honky-tonks and country bars the states had to offer, as well as visiting some hole-in-the-wall establishments along the way. They wanted a bar that could keep a true country feel while still appealing to the many different walks of life that filter through Tampa. Once the gentlemen knew they had achieved a vision for the perfect venue, their dream slowly came to fruition.
On May 30 of 2006, the Bull once again opened its doors to a packed house. While the new facility was just down the road from its former home, it could swallow the old Bull whole. At 34,000 square feet large, this honky-tonk was clearly a force to be reckoned with. This vision turned actuality boasts ninety-nine restroom stalls, ten full-liquor bars, six pool tables, three dart boards, two dance floors, and a partridge in a pear tree. Well, not really a partridge so much as an intimidating mechanical bull that sits atop a stage, patiently waiting for its next victim.
Speaking of stages, if they could talk, this one would have some rockin’ stories to tell. Like the time Kenny Chesney came by in his early days after a concert at Tampa Stadium and sat down with our house band to play a set of songs for an ecstatic Friday night crowd. Or the time Keith Anderson played under our roof, and Jake Owen moseyed over from his set at the Amphitheater and got onstage to play a few tunes with Keith. Or the time Kix Brooks, Randy Houser, Steve Holy and Heidi Newfield played a cappella for the St. Jude Partner in Hope concert. Or the time the Bull hosted the Charlie Daniels band, and the cast of Discovery Channel’s series Deadliest Catch sat in for the night to sign autographs and chat with the multitude of fans that filled our house. Yes, the Dallas Bull is rich in music history, and continues to wow our crowds with our yearly concert series that has included country stars new and old such as Luke Bryan, Eric Church, John Anderson and Tracy Byrd.
Thanks to a community that welcomed the bar with open arms, the Dallas Bull has made it a mission to give back to the Bay area in more ways than one. The Bull has been closely affiliated with the Angelus House for many years, which is a home for severely handicapped people that need care and assistance. It is the primary charity of Charlie Daniels, and was founded in the same year as the Dallas Bull. In addition, the Bull has worked with St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, and has donated towards many other noteworthy organizations such as the American Cancer Society and the Junior Women’s League of Tampa.
So that’s our story, and we’re sticking to it. The Dallas Bull cannot thank our patrons enough, both young and old, both country and hip hop lovers, for helping to create our history. Without you, the last thirty years would have been undoubtedly dull. Hopefully, we can make the next thirty years even more eventful and fun-filled for our loyal customers that keep our jobs both interesting and existing. So again, we thank you, and God bless.