Big Dallas Bull

Brandon, Fla.’s 700-capacity Dallas Bull honky-tonk doesn’t officially host national acts – that is unless you count the time Brad Paisley chose the club to launch his new record, Time Well Wasted.

It also “unofficially” had Brooks & Dunn on its small stage recently, as well as Big & Rich, Phil Vassar, Rascal Flatts, and a bunch of other country standouts.

In February, the venue is moving four miles down the road where it will have a minimum of one national act per month – officially.

“A lot of times, the bands come here to basically hang out and party after their show, that kind of thing,” co-owner Lewis Surratt Jr. told Pollstar. “I’ll kick my band off the stage and let them take over. About a week and a half ago, we had Phil Vassar with a full band. We did that as a free concert.”

Brandon is east of St. Petersburg and Tampa. Acts that play at those cities’ St. Pete Times Forum and Ford Amphitheatre, as well as various fairgrounds in the area, will swing by after their shows, knowing the 25-year-old venue has good security for their visit.

“Some have played shows locally and sometimes we catch them on the right nights where it’s the end of a tour and they just want to go hang out somewhere and blow off some steam,” Surratt said.

Unfortunately, nearby U.S. 301 is expanding and will be clipping the hokey-tonk’s already-undersized parking lot. The owners decided to build a new Dallas Bull that will be in the shape of a barn and cost more than $5 million.

The 3,200-square-foot building, which will have an approximate capacity of 2,250 on two levels, includes a 32- by 28-foot stage, a package store, western wear shop, banquet room and dressing room with a private shower, Surratt said.

This means he will be more active in talent buying, but he said the original club has never had a lack of calls from agencies looking for a stage for their baby bands.

The owners expect to be handed the keys to the new Dallas Bull in January and are planning a soft opening in February.

Joe Reinartz