Goat Hill Tavern
Taps: 141 / Bottles:
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: N
Ratings: 44 | Reviews: 39 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by mountainbiker602:
2.6/5 rDev -34.7%
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?
03-13-2007 15:31:03 | More by mountainbiker602
More User Reviews:
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
Goat Hill Tavern in Costa Mesa, CA
89 out of 100 based on 44 ratings.