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Goat Hill Tavern

Not Rated.
Goat Hill TavernGoat Hill Tavern

Taps: 141 / Bottles:
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: N
BA SCORE
89
very good

44 Ratings
Ratings: 44
Reviews: 39
rAvg: 3.98
pDev: 14.07%
$$ - reasonable
[ Bar, Eatery ]

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

view map and get directionsMap 

Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: BeerAdvocate)
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Ratings: 44 | Reviews: 39 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of PhiloPsych
PhiloPsych

California

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
Photo of vince4953529
vince4953529

California

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
Photo of WOTO97
WOTO97

California

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
Photo of Halcyondays
Halcyondays

California

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
Photo of DrinkinSurfer
DrinkinSurfer

California

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
Photo of QUERCUSAGRIFOLIA
QUERCUSAGRIFOLIA

California

4.22/5  rDev +6%
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.

04-23-2009 17:07:16 | More by QUERCUSAGRIFOLIA
Photo of OlieIPA
OlieIPA

California

3.86/5  rDev -3%
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.

08-26-2008 00:33:56 | More by OlieIPA
Photo of DoubleJ
DoubleJ

California

3.44/5  rDev -13.6%
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.

02-09-2008 18:53:11 | More by DoubleJ
Photo of willjschmidt
willjschmidt

California

3.28/5  rDev -17.6%
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".

12-30-2007 18:59:18 | More by willjschmidt
Photo of Trueant1
Trueant1

Minnesota

4.21/5  rDev +5.8%
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.

10-17-2007 07:07:16 | More by Trueant1
Goat Hill Tavern in Costa Mesa, CA
89 out of 100 based on 44 ratings.