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Goat Hill Tavern

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

53 Ratings
Ratings: 53
Reviews: 39
rAvg: 3.94
pDev: 15.74%
Taps: 141
Bottles: 0
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)
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Ratings: 53 | Reviews: 39 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Halcyondays
3.71/5  rDev -5.8%

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.

Halcyondays, Feb 13, 2010
Photo of TNeedles
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%

TNeedles, Aug 21, 2014
Photo of Bazyx
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%

Bazyx, Apr 16, 2014
Photo of jpaulsen
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%

jpaulsen, Mar 07, 2014
Photo of drewmprs
3.8/5  rDev -3.6%

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.

drewmprs, Mar 19, 2011
Photo of jmatthew
3.85/5  rDev -2.3%

Grimy, filthy, and fantastic! From the sawdust floors to the plastic mugs and junk hanging from every possible surface of the interior, there are absolutely no frills to this establishment. It's a down and dirty dive bar with a kick ass beer selection. This is not a place for sipping beers; this is a place for throwing them back gregariously. A young beach crowd dominates the scene, which is always lively any night of the week. I don't know what the food tastes like because I can't recall ever eating anything other than peanuts. Lots of CA beers to choose from: North Coast, Lagunitas, Stone, Lost Coast, Marin, etc. Some bottled offerings but not much worth talking about. Taps are a bit unorganized and often kicked. But then again they don't offer any pretense of being a great beer bar, so expectations are kept in check. It's a decent place just as it is. Bar staff is fairly prompt despite the crowds, and serves up a bit of friendly attitude.

jmatthew, Sep 11, 2006
Photo of OlieIPA
3.86/5  rDev -2%

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.

OlieIPA, Aug 26, 2008
Photo of HippieDave56
3.88/5  rDev -1.5%

HippieDave56, Nov 14, 2014
Photo of janedoe
3.9/5  rDev -1%

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.

janedoe, May 25, 2007
Photo of fthegiants
4/5  rDev +1.5%

fthegiants, Oct 31, 2014
Photo of Rollzroyce21
4/5  rDev +1.5%

Rollzroyce21, Jun 11, 2014
Photo of berlinabb
4/5  rDev +1.5%

berlinabb, Dec 13, 2013
Photo of Dukeofearl
4.03/5  rDev +2.3%

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).

Dukeofearl, Feb 02, 2005
Photo of drewbage
4.04/5  rDev +2.5%

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.

drewbage, Jun 27, 2004
Photo of blitheringidiot
4.06/5  rDev +3%

***THIS PLACE ROXXX!!!***
Not only is the Goat Hill Tavern easy to find for this traveling Idiot, but there is parking available right out front, or across the street in a huge lot. Why the Goat Hill Tavern gets a 4.5 is because it's a perfect DUMP! What? Yes It's a dive but in a beautiful artistic manner that must be seen to be appreciated fully. Dirty windows adorned with rustic neon welcome you into a sawdust and peanut shell laden wooden floor that unveils about 1000 tap handles on the ceiling. It's a helluva sight for a beernut! Old signs of every sort decorate the walls like a beer buddies basement. What a relaxed kicked back vibe! One of the most rustic worn 'n weathered interiors this side of Portland's Horse Brass. Enjoy two pool tables, dingy booths and smoking for all.

If this place were my bar, I'd ditch the plastic mugs in favor of glass pints. Some of us got plastic mugs. Ugh! Also, with 141 taps, as advertised, a few are kicked but still on the list. A noble feat would be to keep the eraser board updated. Just a gripe.

Service consists of flagging down a haggerd 'tender that is two feet away pouring pitchers for the 20 something crowd that swarms this place like a frat party on a Wednesday! Not that I'm complaining about an attractive crowd, but the 'tenders seemd a little ho-hum and I was UMM...thirsty.

OK, lets talk beer! 141 aps is daunting, but for even this uber beer nut, there was a tap selection to please. West Coast Nut Brown, Rogue Brutal Bitter, Lagunitas pilsner, Stone Arrogant Bastard, and there are 141 in all. Wow!

As far as the Cou;d you take your Mother here test? HELL NO! This is dick in the dirt Cadillac quality which is my favorite. The bathrooms alone would offend John Wayne Gacey. Nice!

Last call: Bring a sticker to slap anywhere. $1 or $2 peanuts are both huge. A new fave spot of mine! Thanks Ken H. Also, 5 minutes away from the BEST beer store Hi-Times.

blitheringidiot, Aug 18, 2006
Photo of mhaugo
4.13/5  rDev +4.8%

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.

mhaugo, Sep 10, 2013
Photo of Myk
4.13/5  rDev +4.8%

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.

Myk, Jul 28, 2003
Photo of IntriqKen
4.14/5  rDev +5.1%

As down to earth as they come with sawdust on the floor...scratched up tables....warped pool tables...and all of the ambiance you would hope to find in an old fashioned neighborhood 'bar'.
For my experience the service was wonderful and the staff helpful in suggesting beers and offering tasters of beers I was unfamiliar with.
Somewhere around 145 different beers on tap with a wonderful selection from pales to porters to stouts to IPA's to belgiums.
I didn't get a chance to look at the menu but the beer selection was great and overall a great down home neighborhood 'bar' experience.

IntriqKen, Jun 26, 2006
Photo of 86sportster883
4.14/5  rDev +5.1%

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.

86sportster883, Dec 15, 2006
Photo of GoCubsMatt
4.14/5  rDev +5.1%

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.

GoCubsMatt, Nov 08, 2003
Photo of SwillinBrew
4.14/5  rDev +5.1%

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.

SwillinBrew, Oct 10, 2006
Photo of UncleJimbo
4.14/5  rDev +5.1%

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.

UncleJimbo, Aug 16, 2005
Photo of kiya
4.18/5  rDev +6.1%

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.
:)

kiya, Jun 05, 2004
Photo of vince4953529
4.2/5  rDev +6.6%

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.

vince4953529, Oct 18, 2010
Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.2/5  rDev +6.6%

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 – it’s 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 else’s, 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 it’s 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, “I’ll be back”. A Classic.

Last Visit: 26th July 2003

TheLongBeachBum, Jul 30, 2003
Goat Hill Tavern in Costa Mesa, CA
89 out of 100 based on 53 ratings.