Goat Hill Tavern
Taps: 141 / Bottles: -
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: N
Ratings: 43 | Reviews: 39 | Show All Ratings:
4.13/5 rDev +3.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.75 | $$
The Goat Hill Tavern opened in the 1940s, which is well before Orange County was “Orange County”. And ironically, for being one of the older establishments in Orange County, it is one of the least “Orange County” bars you’re likely to stumble into (or out of). There are no $15 martinis on the menu. They do no serve endangered dolphin sushi rolls over julienned baby seal breast. There is no glam or glitz. Its beer and peanuts. And a lot if weird shit on the walls. That’s pretty much it.
This place is the type of dive bar that relishes in being a dive bar (in fact, it is on a number of “best dive bar” lists). It’s extremely dusty, kind of smelly, and the floor is covered in peanut shells. The building is split into three nearly equal parts. The center section hosts the bar and all 141 of their tap handles. There are also a few high tables surrounded by stools. One side has additional seating, billiards, and a shuffleboard table. The other is a sort of covered patio with about a half dozen televisions, benches, more pool tables, and some foosball. It is in this area that patrons can smoke, so it gets even smellier in here.
The bartender that poured for me was extremely friendly. We talked beer for a bit and he even gave my friend and I a guided tour of their amazing keg room. He also shared a little bit of the history of the bar with us, which included an old story about them having both Budweiser and Coors on draft at the very same time. This may seem like nothing now, but it was completely unheard of a few decades ago.
The beer selection today is very respectable. A lot of the 141 handles were everyday drafts, but they had a lot of imports, a number of locals, and a few special releases. Stone’s Götterdämmerung and Valiant’s Jericho ended up in front of me.
Another interesting little piece of information is that the Goat Hill Tavern is a popular hang out spot for Angel fans. There are signed uniforms framed on the wall, and apparently some of the players are commonly seen enjoying a pint there. Jared Weaver even came here to celebrate his no-hitter last year. These are my people.
Ultimately, I don’t believe anything I write could fully describe this bar. Imagine a place that provides equal real estate for model airplanes, animal heads, street signs, brewery propaganda, and completely random light fixtures. On top of that they have great beer, friendly people, and dirty bathrooms. In a nutshell… I love it.
09-10-2013 17:17:42 | More by mhaugo
4.69/5 rDev +17.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | $
This place is awesome! Its the go to spot for locals and out of townees alike. Even on a Monday this place has great traffic flow and is always ready to serve up some cold ones ! The best part about this bar is not only the selection but the atmosphere as well. They have a ton of old taps,
50's era signs etc, hanging on the walls and ceiling.
The outdoor section has a couple pool tables with ski ball stations to keep the vintage vibe. Overall, on a packed night this place can get crowded but still fun! The staff is always courteous but don't put up with bs at all .
Most if not all of the sloppy crew find their way out by way of the bouncers. They play what they want when they want ans serve you a wide selection of craft beer and the basics in the process. Nothing bad to say about this place . The crowd is always great hours are good and beers cold . LOVE IT!
09-05-2013 03:52:02 | More by SmallFry
1.69/5 rDev -57.5%
vibe: 1 | quality: 1 | service: 1 | selection: 3.5 | $$
What a dump! ("Dive" is reserved for more classy establishments.)
We could not determine what was more filthy - the patrons, restrooms or manners of their less than charming bar concierge, "Ian." (The latter has fully embraced the career option of pandering exclusively to losers for dollar tips in a jar.)
PS: When you arrive to see a line of cabs in the carpark waiting for the inevitable fares, you kinda get the hint you are about to enter Drunk Central.
Enjoy - if you've had all your shots and consider slumming with trash more than a spectator sport.
10-13-2012 06:22:31 | More by Mungo
3.8/5 rDev -4.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$
This is one of the places where I drank when I first started drinking good beer. It isn't a hardcore beer geek bar but it is great as an entry level place to take friends that want to drink better beer.
Totally different vibe compared with Yardhouse across the street. There are peanut shells all over the floor, people smoke in here, and the tables are a bit sticky.
Very few beers above 8%, with about half the taps dedicated to BMC, heinken, newcastle, pyramid, etc. There are a few decent IPA's on tap but sadly they seem to be past their prime as most of the clientele order pitchers of bud light.
Typical pub food, occasional eye candy, decent prices. I would prefer yardhouse for happy hour but late at night goat hill is a good place.
03-19-2011 00:48:30 | More by drewmprs
4.4/5 rDev +10.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | $$
This is one of those places where you go drink with your buddies in the morning right when they open. No one is there, you can enjoy a good conversation, a good beer(or 6 pitchers) play some pool, smoke indoors, blah blah blah. Oh and the beef jerky from celestinos, a local place right down the street! I hate coming here at night when all the frat boys and bro hoes take over. It seems that when i go i always see at least one of the following, a fight inside, a fight outside, chicks throwing up. Yet, it still does not stop me from coming back to this place over and over again.
03-02-2011 10:21:29 | More by Amdy
4.6/5 rDev +15.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | $$
Goat Hill is a blue-collar, wood-chips-and-peanut-shells-on-the-floor dive bar. The beer selection, though, is very different from typical watering holes. They have 140+ beers on tap, many of which are top-quality. They always have several seasonal craft brews. I found Stone IRS and Emperial IPA on tap months after they had disappeared from everywhere else. They have several stouts, including Old Rasputin, which is terrific on draft. They also have a number of Belgians (including Chimay), though these seem to be rather over-priced. Many nights the place is completely packed with people, but in the afternoon and early evening it's pretty quiet. They don't serve food other than peanuts.
12-23-2010 01:27:40 | More by PhiloPsych
4.2/5 rDev +5.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | $$
Came here around 1 pm on a Saturday afternoon, only a few patrons sitting around nursing their own beers and being solemn. I suggest you park in the nearby residential neighborhood to be less visible to the constant police patrolling.
I like the atmosphere, not pretentious, very down-to-earth. You got to see all the interesting things they hang on the ceiling and on the walls. The bathrooms aren't as bad as most people described, I've seen a lot worse.
By 3 pm more people showed up and there were interesting mix of clientèle. Bartenders are friendly and quick, also you can actually purchase their t-shirt.
Vast selections, but nothing that would make you go "wow". During the founder hour I had a pitcher of Racer 5 and pint of Stone RIS for $12, which was awe-inspiring. They had few seasonal stuff like SN Tumbler and Stone 14th Ann on tap.
No complain about the smoking, it's what a bar supposed to be. It's not a hospital or a church, I actually appreciate they did not succumb to the "smoking-ban" that has plagued much of the country.
If you want to sample the rare RR or Lost Abbey stuff you won't find it here. But it's a good bar for people who are looking for good old-fashioned craft beers.
10-18-2010 18:50:00 | More by vince4953529
4.2/5 rDev +5.5%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 3 | $$
Goat Hill. . . definitely a hidden gem. Just off the 55, you can easily miss it if you aren't paying attention. Walking in, you are overwhelmed with the pungent smell of spilled beer and smoke--actually, pretty gross. Once you get over the smell and make your way to the bar, you realize this place has a shit load of great beer.
Literally, a ridiculous amount of beers on tap. The clientele can be a little lame at times, but it is well worth it for the quality of selection. The guys at the bar are pretty cool, and service is prompt.
Probably not the best spot for a first date, but definitely worth your time to venture out to the Goat.
03-18-2010 19:10:43 | More by WOTO97
3.71/5 rDev -6.8%
vibe: 1.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | $$
Ah, the Goat Hill, never been here before, but I've been meaning to try it out. Cigarette smoke is what you smell walking in. It reeks of of this shit; I don't know how they got around the CA smoking laws, but there are people clearly smoking in the tavern which sucks because I like this place a lot. Hung out with DoubleJ and played some pool on the North end where the smoke was light, but there was still a hint of it in the air. But going to buy a beer at the bar you're pretty much punched in the face with that revolting putrid stench. A 4/4.5 atmosphere score plummets because of that. I actually ended up liking the plastic mugs, made me feel strong when I picked up the beer.
The quality of the tap beer was exemplary with the consideration of how much they had on-tap. I had a #9, Murphy's and Black Butte Porter, all tasted as they should, can't really vouch for the 9 as I've never seen it before, but the other 2 I've had, and they were great.
Service is solid, quick if they were at tad slow to pick up on me, but all around nice.
Selection is good, nothing super rare, but anyone will find something here they like, even saw Chimay for $17 a pint, but the rest of the brews are much more reasonable. Tons of pints under $5, saw Racer 5 which I didn't get for $5.75 which is outstanding in Orange County.
I liked this bar a lot when I moved to the North corner and didn't have to deal with the smoke. We're not in Texas, we're in CA, it's not 1975, get the smoke out of the bar, and I'll come back. Goat Hill, I like you a lot, but there are a lot of great beer spots in Orange County, including Heroe's, which this really reminded me a lot of with the peanuts on the floor/down to Earth feel, where I don't have to deal with cigarette smoke, so they're going to get my money in the future.
02-13-2010 06:42:54 | More by Halcyondays
4.58/5 rDev +15.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4 | $$
You got to love the Goat. More beers on tap than you will know what to do with. The prices are reasonable, especially during happy hour. The baskets of peanuts are super cheap and you can throw the shells on the ground. The shuffle board table is in pretty good shape and it is free to play. There are also pool tables, a bunch of tv's, and some random other stuff. You have to admire the huge amount of tap handles hanging from the ceiling. The Goat Hill Tavern is on of my favorite places to hangout. I don't smoke, but it is smoker friendly on the covered patio.
05-05-2009 23:53:38 | More by DrinkinSurfer
Goat Hill Tavern in Costa Mesa, CA
89 out of 100 based on 43 ratings.