Tampa’s Dallas Bull country nightclub is in ‘dire need’ of help to stay alive

Money raised through crowdfunding will just 'slow the bleeding.'

Aaron Lewis plays Dallas Bull in Tampa, Florida on February 10, 2017. - Chris Rodriguez
Chris Rodriguez
Aaron Lewis plays Dallas Bull in Tampa, Florida on February 10, 2017.

On its best nights, long-running Tampa country music venue and dance club Dallas Bull plays host to more than 2,100 party goers.

These days—after months of mandatory closure to try and stop the spread of the novel coronavirus—assistant manager Jose Romero says the 31,000 square-foot club hosts a maximum of 50 people on the nights that it’s even open.

“We are struggling,” Romero told CL in a Thursday phone call. The Bull is unique in Tampa for its sheer size, the way it mixes line dancing with hip-hop on the dance floor, and how it’s hosted countless mainstream country artists before (Jake Owen, Florida Georgia Line) and even after (Kenny Chesney did a surprise acoustic show) they got big. 

Romero deferred specifics to the Bull’s general manager, but he told CL that the club did get some PPP (it does not appear in a database of entities which got at least $150,000) and paid the employees it had to furlough or layoff in the wake of the pandemic.

“The owner [Lewis Surratt Sr.] has given up his own paycheck so management can keep its health insurance—you don't want to go without health care during a pandemic,” Romera added.

The struggle is why the 41-year-old hotspot, which moved into 3322 U.S. Hwy. in east Tampa in 2006, is asking for help via a GoFundMe campaign that says, "we are in dire need of all of our friends help in saving our beloved establishment."

“With much humility, we are now reaching out to you,” the fundraiser adds, “to help keep this Honkey Tonk alive.”

Even if successful, Romero told CL that the $45,000 raised would just delay the permanent closure which clubs like his—and countless others, especially ones that act as strictly music venues—fear.

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About The Author

Ray Roa

Read his 2016 intro letter and disclosures from 2022 and 2021. Ray Roa started freelancing for Creative Loafing Tampa in January 2011 and was hired as music editor in August 2016. He became Editor-In-Chief in August 2019. Past work can be seen at Suburban Apologist, Tampa Bay Times, Consequence of Sound and The...
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