Goat Hill Tavern
Taps: 141 / Bottles:
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: N
Ratings: 44 | Reviews: 39 | Display Reviews Only:
4.14/5 rDev +4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$
I visited the Goat Hill Tavern with TheLongBeachBum who was kind enough to meet me there when I was in the area for a convention in April 2005. The bar was easy enough to find, being located on the Hwy 55 not far from the beach in Costa Mesa, though the sign above the front entrance is a bit obscured by trees on the sidewalk as you approach by car. Parking is on-street or in various parking lots nearby (I think there is even some parking in the rear of the bar).
Saying the atmosphere is casual is a bit of an understatement. The place definitely has a "lived in" ("partied in"?) feel to it, right down to the side room with a hole in the ceiling, which apparently allows the room to be classified as "outdoors" for smoking purposes. There is lots of unfinished wood, and the walls and beams are covered in beer paraphenalia, automotive signs, and odds and ends. I think I remember a bicycle hanging from the ceiling as well. There were TVs behind the bar, and there was rock music playing throughout. The main room with the bar has tables for seating, but all drinks have to be ordered at the bar. The other room, which might actually be larger, has several pool tables, and a juke box. Both rooms have windows facing the street. The floor was littered with peanut shells. We visited on a weekend night, and the place really got packed after around 10 pm. The crowd was on the younger side, though mixed, and people were friendly, even (especially?) when it got extremely crowded, and we shared half our table.
The beer selection was good. I did not note the exact number of taps, but there were many, and with a lot of good regional microbrews, among others. Prices were good, especially if you bought pitchers, as we did. The service at the bar was fine, though obviously on such a busy night there was not a lot chitchat with the bartenders. Periodically during the night, the bartender would announce some sort of drink special, typically for the ladies, and there was much rejoicing, and an even bigger crush at the bar (thank God for pitchers). I didn't sample any food other than peanuts, which you can buy at the bar. I bought a large bowl of peanuts ($2), much to the amusement of The Bum, but they came in handy when we made friends with the group that shared our table.
Overall a fun place to go with a friend and perhaps to make some new friends over some good pints of beer.
08-16-2005 04:55:56 | More by UncleJimbo
4.03/5 rDev +1.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5 | food: 1.5
After driving by this place a number of times (usually going to Hi-Times Wine for my lambic/gueuze fix), I finally made it last weekend to this place for Extreme Beer Fest West, a mini-BA Meeting of those us us who don't like the cold weather in Boston.
This is a place of extremes- my first experience when I walked in was to see someone smoking! In a bar!! In California!!!! This does not happen anymore- not for years! Well, it turns out that there's a "patio" full of tables and chairs and booths and foosball and pool tables, and one tree at the far end- with a hole in the "patio cover" for the tree to stick through. It looked just like another room to this rundown dive bar. Unbelievable.
So we sidle up to the biggest table (proudly wiped down to remove stickiness sometime in the last decade) and meet some other BAs to begin the day. But first--- 141 taps!!! OMG!!!! All jammed together so you can barely see one tap handle behind another, and a lot of them are craft brews, quality brews, haven't seen that before brews. Exceptional. Mostly domestic beers, with a few UK, German, and a couple of Belgians for good measure.
Service was ok, but they were understaffed (one bartender) which meant lines- no table service, you have to go to the bar.
Prices decent, but by no means cheap.
The extent of the food menu is $1 for a small bowl of peanuts in the shell, and $2 for the large. We were there 6 hours, and headed out halfway through to hit the taco place across the street. A decent break, actually.
This place is a hoot. Great selection, great place to relax and let your guard down, but not something I will frequent (it's a little too far from home).
02-02-2005 21:05:50 | More by Dukeofearl
4.3/5 rDev +8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5
Dark, low ceilings, kind of smelly .. fantastic! Saw dust on the floor, brewerania (and other assorted crap) lining the walls, with the largest collection of tap handles I have seen in the ceiling of one room, and most importantly a wall of taps 2 deep. Apparently there are well over a hundred, with the offerings listed on a whiteboard above the bar. Also listed are pint and pitcher prices, both seemed very reasonable. Ordered up a Youngs Double Chocolate Stout, but there was a huge selection of both local offerings and imports. Glassware is a bit lacking - coming in a plastic mug. This place has a nice selection of bar games as well, with several foosball, pool, and shuffleboard tables.
All in all a great beer bar, but don't get dressed up thinking you are in for a fancy night on the town.
01-21-2005 16:28:18 | More by rowew
4.34/5 rDev +9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | $$
Stopped in here after handing all my money over to Hi-Times. Once I found this joint and walked in, I was pleasantly surprised to find sawdust on the floor. Low-ceilinged with dim lighting that suits the dark wood abundantly used in the fixtures. There was a decent amount of bar-clutter junk on the walls and on the support beams. Many of these items were plastic newspaper delivery boxes from various cities across the country. Cool. I mozied up to the medium-length bar and took a comfortable seat. I looked up and saw tap heaven. There must have been 125 tap handles in front of me! This was a bit overwhelming, especially since I have been living in Utah for the last 2 years. Scanning the tap handles made me giddy, but it was difficult to see all the handles as some were hidden behind others, etc. Luckily, I noticed a large wipeboard above the bar that had all their tap selections listed by style. Excellent. They also had the prices, which I thought were very reasonable (4 bucks a pint) considering I was in California. Very good selection, with most styles represented. A few macros, but lots of California micros, several Belgians, and some other good imports. I noticed there were some tap handles in front of me that were not listed on the board, one of them being Stone Imperial Stout. I dutifully ordered that and the barkeep handed me a frosty plastic mug filled with the dark nectar. I would have preferred a non-plastic snifter at room temp., but this isn't the type of place that does that I guess. A little disappointing, but the free peanuts and the fact that you can toss the shells on the floor made up for it (almost!). Bartender was friendly, and the whole place seemed down to earth. Good vibes; good beer.
11-30-2004 20:22:34 | More by alexgash
4.04/5 rDev +1.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5
The mystical magical place that is the Goat is best summed up in every beer geeks first reaction... "Jesus.. this place is flithy.. cool stuff though.. gah.. what's that smell?.. Ohh.. beer taps.. lots of beer taps!"
For the well travelled beer drinker, the goat probably doesn't offer much in the way of exciting new discoveries, but it does offer a lot of choice in one place.
The atmosphere rolling out of this place is pure grungy din, but the atmosphere alone makes up for any ickiness you might feel.
Go.. play some foosball or shuffleboard.. drink a few brews. While this place may not hav all the spit and polish of the Yardhouse up a block, but the atmosphere in here is a lot more homedown and friendly.
06-27-2004 21:36:09 | More by drewbage
4.18/5 rDev +5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5
this is a definite must stop if you're passing through orange county.. they've got about 175 beers on tap, which is reason alone to stop. the decor is what i really love about this place; everything from the fire hazards due to the wiring hanging from every corner to the more than 500 tap handles attatched to the ceiling throughout the place.
one thing that i have to note, and a complaint about this establishment is the beer selection. while they DO have 175 beers on tap, i'd say about half those beers are what some call "fizzy clear beer", lagers take up a huge section of those 175 taps.. from every variety of budweiser to coors to miller to pabst.. there are quite a few horrid brews taking up precious space in their keg room. imagine.. you have 175 taps.. why not fill them up with great beer?
either way.. hit up the goat hill tavern..
then stumble across the street and hit up the Yard House..
which has about 200 taps. yes, i'm not joking. 200 taps across the street from 175. and the yard house actually has quite a few more rare beers on tap than the goat hill, but the ambience there leaves a lot to be desired.
06-04-2004 23:49:07 | More by kiya
4.14/5 rDev +4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5
This place is a dump. That being said, this is as good as a dump gets. I mean that in the most positive way. The beer selection is truly great if you are a fan of American microbrews. They have well over 100 beers on tap, and while they do waste a few taps on the typical AB/Miller/Coors beers, there is a lot of great stuff to try. I had my first experience drinking Double Bastard here and it was everything I had hoped it would be. I also tried Old Foghorn and Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale (it was a night in which I felt it necessary to stick to west coast brews). As far as this place being a dump, it is. The seats are sticky and the floor is covered in sawdust and peanut shells. Of course, if you are willing to overlook that (and I am), this is a great place to have a few pints. The prices are really great, as almost everything is about $4, $4.75 if you are feeling saucy. The crowd is unpretentious and the jukebox is filled with sing-a-long hits (heard during the visit were Weezer, Men Without Hats, Outkast, and G'N'R just to name a few). If you enjoy selection, you appreciate a bar where appearance is not important, and you are in the LA area, this is a great bar for you.
11-08-2003 09:25:40 | More by GoCubsMatt
4.28/5 rDev +7.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | $
My first words to those who have never been here. Upon walking through the door, look up. Check out the ceiling.
I finally made it here after hearing so much about this place. I was not disappointed. My kind of tavern. Get this. I got invited to a wine tasting event in Costa Mesa. It was so warm I did not try one glass of wine as I just could not stomache wine in the hot sun. I said to my girlfriend, " Let's get out of here and try the goat." She agreed.
Atmosphere is pure dingy tavern. The smell of the place is musty alcohol, and beer. My girlfriend was a bit upset about the uncleanliness of the place. Tables not wiped down, dried spilled beer on the tables and bar, dried dirty bar rags left on tables, unemptied ashtrays with cigarette and cigar butts left in them with ashes across the tables, oh, and peanut shells and dust on the floor. Plenty of knick nacks (junk) on the walls and hanging from the ceiling. I did love the old photographs from the fifties though. The walls and ceiling could be stared at all day and night.
The building looks like it used to be a fifties diner. They ripped out the middle and built a bar in its place. On one side are booths. Fifties styles and colors. On the other side are booths. Fifties styles and colors. There are also plenty of tables and chairs throughout the place. On the 'smoking side' of the tavern there are pool tables, foos ball tables and video games. The place has a small humidor with cigars to purchase.
There is a fully stocked bar for the non beer drinker. The food is peanuts and microwave hotdogs. I refused. I do not drink swill and I will not eat swill.
140 taps and a selection of bottles for the brew drinker. I wish they had a written menu. It was tough to pick looking at the taps. Some taps in the back are hidden by other taps or the taps are turned sideways to fit on the wall. Too much neck turning for me. Anyway there are brews from the worst to the best. Mostly craft brews on tap but there are a few imports and some imports in bottles.
For tavern lovers check this place out. For the swanky looking for a place to be seen type of person. Stay away. I love places like this. Just be careful where you sit, you might stick to your seat.
08-10-2003 07:54:49 | More by Rumrunner
4.2/5 rDev +5.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5
The second, and last stop on the recent Southern California BA Pub Crawl. Whilst we only did two establishments, after the Costa Mesa Yard House, this was a complete 180° round-about turn. The Goat Hill Tavern is the anti-thesis of the corporate style Yard House, with its fancy façade and large range of average, sometimes over-priced, beers. It seems so ironic that this place is almost directly opposite the YH.
The GHT offers a little of all that is good. A genuine down to Earth atmosphere, which immediately welcomes all, and judges none. Festooned and decorated with a plethora of street furniture, Breweriana, stuffed and mounted animals, signs, posters and a whole host of eclectic items. The décor is well its very, erm well Goat Hill. More of a den, than a Bar, but it works for me.
A fantastic range of Taps, almost 150, lend this establishment a Permanent Beer Festival atmosphere. The bar is on your left hand side as you enter, which includes a few macros, sure, but it also hides a superb range of micros, some of which are seldom seen. I loved the Bear Republic Racer 5 excellent. The beer range is unparalleled for this area.
Entertainment includes a few Pool Tables, wearing Peanut Shell and Sawdust Chips, a Juke Box full of Golden Oldies, and balancing Growlers full of Beer on your head, or someone elses, during BA Socials. This is the sort of place (thankfully) where you have to be really bad to get thrown out! Beware of the Toilets though, they bite.
I do not really have much more to add, that has not already been eulogized about below.
A semi-dive bar, which really kicks ass. Want to drink overpriced beer and look good with your Bud drinking yuppie friends, well - stay at the Yard House. Want to drink a great range of excellent beers, at great prices, in a bar with real atmosphere with your BA buddies and end up getting rip-roaring drunk without fear of being hassled by the alcohol Nazis or Steven Segal look-a-like Bouncers at the YH then stay here. One last thing, no real food, so its advisable and best to eat before you get here for a drinking session though, a mistake I sadly made on my last visit.
As Arnie said, Ill be back. A Classic.
Last Visit: 26th July 2003
07-30-2003 05:02:58 | More by TheLongBeachBum
4.13/5 rDev +3.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 5
THIS PLACE RULES
the atmosphere, is my type of place, a nice saw dust on the floor bar with old classic signs everywhere. proably close to a thousand or two, old handpumps screwed into the ceiling, a giant hole in the ceiling in one room so that it can be considered a patio for smokers. an amazing amount of taps with mostly good beer. bathroom is pretty nasty. i think my shoes caught some sort of disease in there. don't touch anything, but added to the whole of the bar.
quality and selection of the beer was pretty good. lot of different stuff ranging from old rasputin to budweiser to goat hill black sheep, still not sure who brews it, forgot to ask.
service was very friendly. school teaher brought a bottle as a peace offereing between NY an SOCAL. it worked well, and the barkeep put it on ice for us. he also gave a guided tour of the keg room, which was something i would like to have in my house. they didnt mind that someone was sleeping on the table or even that i got my ass beat by two other BA's, good times.
and the best part was the food. if u are hungry u have the choice between, peanuts, hot dog or pickled eggs. WOW.
07-28-2003 00:59:02 | More by Myk
Goat Hill Tavern in Costa Mesa, CA
89 out of 100 based on 44 ratings.