Goat Hill Tavern

Not Rated.
Goat Hill TavernGoat Hill Tavern
BA SCORE
89
very good

53 Ratings
Ratings: 53
Reviews: 39
rAvg: 3.93
pDev: n/a
Taps: 141
Bottles: --
Cask: N
Beer-to-Go: 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:
Instagram:  http://www.instagram.com/goathilltavern 
Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/goathilltavern 

(Place added by: BeerAdvocate)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 53 | Reviews: 39 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Bazyx
3.75/5  rDev -4.6%

Photo of jeff1973
3.5/5  rDev -10.9%

Photo of jpaulsen
3.75/5  rDev -4.6%

Photo of berlinabb
4/5  rDev +1.8%

Photo of mhaugo
4.13/5  rDev +5.1%
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.

Photo of SmallFry
4.69/5  rDev +19.3%
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!

Photo of Mungo
1.69/5  rDev -57%
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.

Photo of drewmprs
3.8/5  rDev -3.3%
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.

Photo of Amdy
4.4/5  rDev +12%
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.

Photo of PhiloPsych
4.6/5  rDev +17%
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.

Photo of vince4953529
4.2/5  rDev +6.9%
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.

Photo of WOTO97
4.2/5  rDev +6.9%
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.

Photo of Halcyondays
3.71/5  rDev -5.6%
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.

Photo of DrinkinSurfer
4.58/5  rDev +16.5%
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.

Photo of QUERCUSAGRIFOLIA
4.22/5  rDev +7.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

I love this place. They've got a handful of good beers, Stone, Port, Anderson Valley, Bear Republic.... nothing fancy, but better than beers that you're going to get at other "divey-type" bars. The covered patio is great, we'll meet there for cigars and a few beers every so often. I recommend weekday visits as it tends to really get crowded Friday and Saturday nights.

The real jewel here is the 50's era shuffleboard arcade game. Good beer and shuffleboard, it doesn't get much better than that.

Photo of OlieIPA
3.86/5  rDev -1.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5

Located right off the end of the 55 freeway in Costa Mesa, Goat Hill Tavern is place to definitely enjoy a good beer! With about 60-80 so beers on tap, a fellow BA has plenty to choose from. They even have 8 or so RIS's to pick from (Old Rasputin was my choice) and several other beer styles to go along with it. Their selection includes several quality craft brews, including: North Coast, Stone, Alesmith to name a few. The atmosphere is pretty good, but the best time to go is probably before 9pm or so on the weekends...it gets way too crowded after that time. The only thing I'll have to criticize about the place is the glassware they provide you. The beers come in chilled plastic beer mugs. I think they could do a lot better then that. Other than that, this is a place that is worth going out of your way to at least try once...maybe even more then that.

Photo of DoubleJ
3.44/5  rDev -12.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 2.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4

Update 5/5/10: The atmosphere is starting to grow on me. Come on a weeknight to avoid the crowds, but there is still some size of a crown to play pool with. However, I did have a really nasty experience with Young's Double Chocolate Stout here; clean those tap lines better! Despite that one time, I haven't really had much issue with quality control.

This is like a cheaper, crampt, and older version of Heroe's (Fullerton). There are lots of drafts to choose from at the bar, but there are also some disadvantages about the place. I'll go through the aspects of the place one by one.

Although the place is big, me and my friend could not find a seat in the building, nor did it feel that big. Walls seperate the tavern at three different places, making it tougher to move around. All over the place are lots of raised "table benches" and wood shaving adorning the floor. If you look up to look at the ceiling, you will see old tap handles from decades past. Despite the overcrowding factor, the bar is easily accessible and there will be bartender to help you out shortly.

At the bar sit about 140 taps. It's true they have a portion being mass-produced beer, but you still have 70-80 or so good taps available. Don't expect me to run down the enitre list, but I will spit out some examples available during my visit: Chimay, Oaked Arrogant Bastard, Abbot Ale, Hacker Pschorr, Weihenstephaner, Full Sail, Mardesous, and many others. Essentailly, lots of British, German, and American beer, sprinkled with a few Belgians. Personally, I ended up grabbing some Kona Pipeline Porter. Prices are on the cheap side, many pints for less than $5. Most of the beers I've sampled have been in good shape, but a bit too cold from the tap.

My single biggest complaint were the cheap-ass plastic mugs used to serve the beer in. What the hell?! That reminded me of a late 90's Michelob commerical, where a bartender in training failed the course because the instructor told him "we don't serve (Michelob) in a plastic cup!" I understand that practice might keep their prices down, but come on, those plastic mugs are tacky.

All in all, you can expect to find some solid brews here, even if most of the taps aren't world class. But beware of those plastic mugs.

Photo of willjschmidt
3.28/5  rDev -16.5%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5

This was a tough place to review. I'm not sure how I exactly feel about this place, the truth is I'm conflicted.

The positives: They have 141 beers on tap and the prices are good. Most of them are $4-5 for a pint and ~$15 for a pitcher. It is a grungy dive bar, if that's what you're looking for. There is sawdust on the floor, tons of miscellaneous crap on the walls, and the bathrooms haven't been cleaned in months.

The negatives: The vast majority of the beers on tap are macros, there is very little on the tap list that wold excite a beer geek. I would say less than a dozen beers that would really interest me and even then none of those could be considered rare or very hard to find. The beers are served in plastic mugs. The place is an absolute dumb. It is also very smokey since they somehow get around the smoking ban by allowing smoking in a covered "patio" that is not at all separated from the main bar. I went on a Saturday night and it was absolutely packed. There was little to no "respecting beer" going on. I bet 95% of the beer being sold was Bud Light and everyone seemed like they came to get totally f---ed up. Even with 141 beers on tap I can't really call this place a "beer bar".

So I guess, I found more negatives than positives in "The Goat".

Photo of Trueant1
4.21/5  rDev +7.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 5

This is one of my old hangouts. I have always loved this place. In the mid 80's, this place introdused me to great beers beyond what you get in grocery stores. My favorites there are (since the 80's) are Murpheys irish stout and wattneys on tap.This is where I had my frist Sierra nevada winter welcome...on tap, and many other cult classics I have had on tap there. Today, there are many many ales to choose from. I think there have always been over 144 taps.
Sure, this place is a total dump! But I still love it.
On weekend nights...this place crawls with "the beautiful people" of OC. I have always enjoyed drinking my beer in this atmosphere.

I love this place! My only regret I have for it..I wish they had better glassware to drink my stouts and porters out of there.

Photo of Floydster
2.8/5  rDev -28.8%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 3 | service: 3.5 | selection: 2

I stopped here before going to Hi-Time Wines today in Costa Mesa

Located right on Newport Blvd. at the end of the 55 Freeway across from the Yardhouse and a BevMo

Walked into this place and noticed sawdust all over the ground, looked around a little bit and realized this place was kind of a dive

Had over one hundred taps from what it looked like, but nothing special or really worth mentioning

Some of the harder to find beers were Fuller's London Porter, Stone 11th Anniversary, and Lost Coast Oktoberfest, but those are all easily accessible at other places right now

Pints ranged from about four to five dollars and happy hour was all day before 7 pm

This place was overrated to me with a poor selection for how many different tap handles I saw

No Belgians or anything very high in alcohol

Left this place pretty quickly because it was more of a letdown that anything, would not recommend this place over the YardHouse across the street, much better brews over there, go to Hollingshead's or Beachwood BBQ if in this general area

Hi-Times was great afterwards though, found a 2006 Hair of the Dog Doggie Claws Barleywine and a Collaboration Signature Ale featuring Port Brewing's Tomme Arthur and a Belgian brewer

Photo of bradford
4.61/5  rDev +17.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 5

I stopped by after visiting Hi-Times wine cellar a couple blocks away with my brother on the way back from our cousin's wedding.
Atmosphere was cool, lots of taps everywhere, shit all over the walls, sawduct on the floor, plastic(unbreakable) mugs, chained down bar stools, Raiders on tv, holes in the ceiling to facilitate cigarette smoke.
Quality was good. A shit ton of taps with some pretty good stuff on. I had a Weihenstaphaner Hefe, Anchor Old Foghorn, and a Stone Oaked Bastard at 11 in the morning.
The one bartender working was earning tips. The kid was cleaning, bussing, pulling pints, being friendly, and was extremely fast and friendly
Selection was gret. With 141 taps, you're bound to find something worthwhile, and the Goat has a lot.
I didnt see any food, except peanuts, and the prices were fair. 4.25-4.75 per pint of hard to find goodies and 16 per pitccher for craft beer, Highly, highly recommended

Photo of janedoe
3.9/5  rDev -0.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 5

How could you NOT like this place?

The Goat Hill laughs in the face of those other bars that put crap up on the walls (in pathetic attempts) just to be hip. This is the real deal for sure. Peanut shells and sawdust on the floors, knick-knacks on the walls and ceilings; this place savors the heritage of SoCal through years and years of randomness as patrons have added their own flavors from near and far. One can't get bored with the sights and sounds (and smells!) of the Goat Hill.

And if that's not enough…there's their 141 brews on tap. The plastic mugs are unfortunate - but befitting to the roadhouse environment - as it could easily be a venue where Jake and Elwood would perform without reservation.

Photo of mountainbiker602
2.6/5  rDev -33.8%
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?

Photo of 86sportster883
4.14/5  rDev +5.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

I've been to the Goat Hill a number of times, usually in the early evening of a weekday. As you might expect the clientele, at that time of day, tends to be the after work, let’s stop out for a beer crowd. This time, I stopped in after dinner with some co-workers and wound up staying till closing. This is a fun place with decent music, a primarily young crowd (20s – 30s), lots of entertainment (pool tables, foosball tables and shuffleboard tables), and numerous flat screen TVs throughout. The selection of tap beers is expansive, although you’ll have to drink your beer out of a plastic beer mug. They list their beers on a large blackboard hanging over the center of the bar. On this visit they had listed Stone’s Oaked Bastard, but unfortunately the bar had already kicked the one keg that they had gotten. I settled for a mug of Arrogant Bastard, since I hadn’t previously had this on tap. This was followed by a Stone IPA and finally a Mirror Pond Pale Ale. The beers were fresh, the bar staff was fast, and the crowd was friendly. I go here mainly because of the very large selection of good beers on tap. And, unlike other places with a large selection, I’ve never gotten a beer that tasted old, or off. As for the décor, the place is pretty much a dump, but with lots of mildly interesting crap strewn about. Overall, a fine place to stop in with a some friends to have a few good drafts. Recommend you eat before you get there though, as they don’t offer any real food.

Photo of SwillinBrew
4.14/5  rDev +5.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

I dont know why i've waited so long to review this place. I've been coming here for 19 years and it smells the same, fricken awesome.

The Goat is a total dive bar with a sports bar like attitude. Dingy but full of charm. There are stickers all over the place. On the walls and ceiling are surfboards, lamps, street signs, a stuffed moose head, pictures of early orange county, xmas lights and probably the kitchen sink. It's like a garage sale was pasted up there. There is a front door and back door which once in awhile allows a breeze to flow thru the bar... if you're lucky, and the breeze flows from back to front, you get a great aroma from the infamous bathrooms. Just a solid dose of aged puke and stewed rankness... it just has to be experienced. I wont say more on the bathrooms because it looks like other post already took care of it, but damn, i'm so glad i'm a guy and dont have to sit down. Hell, i cringe when i stand in there.

There's several areas. The main bar area, behind the bar area and the patio. There are plenty of TV's with various sports on. Perfect to watch while your draining your pint.

You can smoke where the pool tables are even though it looks like a room. That's because at one time it was a patio and it's been since covered up except for a few holes... thus it's still a patio and thus outdoors. It's great when rains. Big puddles form, mix with the peanut shells and just add to the stank... AWESOME.
There's over 130 taps. I was just here with IPAviator and i had some Deschutes Inversion IPA, Arrogant Bastard, Old Rasputin, Oggi's Blond and a Stone IPA. There's a good and solid selection here. By the way, dont let the interior here fool you. They just had their beer lines and keg cooler redone. It's very orderly and clean.

What can i say. You need to get here and experience the Goat.

Goat Hill Tavern in Costa Mesa, CA
89 out of 100 based on 53 ratings.