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Goat Hill Tavern

Not Rated.
Goat Hill TavernGoat Hill Tavern
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

39 Reviews
Reviews: 39
Visits: 54
rAvg: 4
pDev: n/a
Taps: 141
Bottles: --
Cask: N
[ Bar, Eatery ]

1830 Newport Blvd
Costa Mesa, California, 92627-2710
United States
phone: (949) 548-8428

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap @goathilltavern

Notes:
Place added by: BeerAdvocate

Instagram:  http://www.instagram.com/goathilltavern 
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Place: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 39 | Visits: 54
Reviews by mountainbiker602:
Photo of mountainbiker602
2.6/5  rDev -35%
vibe: 1.5 | quality: 1.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4

I was visitng Santa Ana for a conference and decided to head down the road for a cold one prior to checking into my hotel. The place is easy to find, just take 55 south until it turns into Newport Avenue. After you pass the first traffic light keep your eye out for the place on the left along a fairly unimpressive strip of businesses: Gas Station, Psychic, Mattress Store, Excercise Equipment Dealer, Pizza Joint. After turning around I was able to park in front. I noticed two bicycles locked to a front post (customers who lost their drivers license?), a few missing window panes in the front and loud music vibrations reverberating prior to entering. I entered the place around 11:00 PM on a Wed night. In the small vestibule in front I noticed a stack of the current issue of BA free for the taking. Upon entering the bar I noticed the place was crammed with a twenty something crowd and the music was blaring. The doorman (tattooed and pierced like a pin cushion) did not even give me a 2nd look after noticing I was probably older than his father. The bar area is off to your left from the entrance. Three young bartenders were very busy pouring from an amazing number of taps. As I was standing in front of the bar looking up at an overhead greaseboard beer menu some young punk had the audacity to request that I move because I was blocking his view of a tall blond also waiting for a brew. I felt like taking him behind the woodshed and for a thrashin but merely ignored the request while waiting behind three giggly girls with spaghetti straps showing cleavage.

The place is an absolute dump, the kind where the doormat should be on the inside in order to wipe your feet on the way out. It has the decor of a motorcycle gang clubhouse- where knives are thrown into the wall and members piss, puke, or spit anywhere. I cannot imagine that anything is sanitary in this joint. It blew my mind the place was full of women. The floor was covered with sawdust and peanut shells. The furniture looked like the type you would see inside a 12 year olds tree house (old car seats and dimensional lumber crudely nailed together). The bathroom was appalling, probably not cleaned in the last year. Lots of graffiti referencing mothers, BJ's, and orifices. And the odor singed the hairs in my nostrils- bring something to filter your intake air. Stickers and graffiti (magic marker and carved with knives) adorned the rest of the place as well. They have stashed a bunch of junk in the ceiling rafters, not sure if this was for effect or the need to get rid of old crap. Needless to say it looks horrible and is covered with dust. The place has fooseball, pool, and shuffle tables; a couple of old TV's were tuned to surfing and professional wrestling. Music was loud punk/indie.

There was a very good selection of draft beer however it is only served in plastic mugs. This must reduce the amount of medical care needed by patrons after they bash in each others heads. I requested a Stone Arrogant Bastard however the tender did not realize the keg was kicked until my mug was in position. I settled for a Stone IPA which was fresh, cold, and delicious. After seeing the rest of the place I wonder how well the beer lines are maintained.

I do not recommend this bar, despite the good beer selection it is impossible to ignore all of the bad stuff, do not waste your time- you wouldn't stop to inspect road kill by the side of the road, why stop here? (3,458 characters)

More User Reviews:
Photo of 2beerdogs
3.95/5  rDev -1.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.25 | food: 3.5

Photo of HippieDave56
3.88/5  rDev -3%

Photo of dagubna
4/5  rDev 0%

Photo of fthegiants
4/5  rDev 0%

Photo of AlexM
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%

Photo of GoatHillTavern
5/5  rDev +25%

Photo of TNeedles
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%

Photo of chippo33
2/5  rDev -50%

Photo of TaylorIPA19
3.5/5  rDev -12.5%

Photo of aoampm
3.89/5  rDev -2.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.25 | food: 3.5

Photo of Rollzroyce21
4/5  rDev 0%

Photo of Bazyx
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%

Photo of jeff1973
3.5/5  rDev -12.5%

Photo of jpaulsen
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%

Photo of berlinabb
4/5  rDev 0%

Photo of mhaugo
4.13/5  rDev +3.3%
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. (2,483 characters)

Photo of SmallFry
4.69/5  rDev +17.3%
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! (875 characters)

Photo of Mungo
1.69/5  rDev -57.8%
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. (560 characters)

Photo of drewmprs
3.8/5  rDev -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. (748 characters)

Photo of Amdy
4.4/5  rDev +10%
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. (582 characters)

Photo of PhiloPsych
4.6/5  rDev +15%
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. (693 characters)

Photo of vince4953529
4.2/5  rDev +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. (1,218 characters)

Photo of WOTO97
4.2/5  rDev +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. (643 characters)

Photo of Halcyondays
3.71/5  rDev -7.3%
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. (1,809 characters)

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Goat Hill Tavern in Costa Mesa, CA
90 out of 100 based on 39 ratings.