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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)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 53 | Reviews: 39 | Display Reviews Only:
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
Photo of WOTO97
4.2/5  rDev +6.6%

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.

WOTO97, Mar 18, 2010
Photo of Trueant1
4.21/5  rDev +6.9%

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.

Trueant1, Oct 17, 2007
Photo of QUERCUSAGRIFOLIA
4.22/5  rDev +7.1%

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.

QUERCUSAGRIFOLIA, Apr 23, 2009
Photo of AlexM
4.25/5  rDev +7.9%

AlexM, Sep 10, 2014
Photo of WVbeergeek
4.25/5  rDev +7.9%

This place is classic, imagine the traditional bar no hip promotions or big advertising campaign. Just a bar with a slew of different beers on tap (150). Yes, that is the main reason to come here for the atmosphere, a down home (me being from WV living here) throw the peanut shells on the floor hold your pint and walk around and get to know people type place. If your not into the social scene of drinking, and you want an intimate tasting session check across the street (Yard House). When I was there this summer living and working in Newport Beach we frequented the Yardhouse across the street, didn't even now about the Goat Hill Tavern. Yes, someone had the audacity to open up a competion of beer selection like the Yard House across from this place that has been a privately owned beer emporium for years. Hell, this is authentic, they got their name from the fact that when Newport Beach closer to the ocean first became developed Costa Mesa was still a place where you could go to see a goat, therefore the sophisticated people near the ocean nicknamed Costa Mesa the Goat Hill. This place sells their beer for a much cheaper price than the Yard House, but it is a different type of place. Not a place that is modernized with real chefs, and state of the art draft system, along with the state of the art stereo bumping good ol' classic rock. They don't claim to be anything but a place where you should come to get a decently priced pint to enjoy other people's company. Should be appreciated by all people, in my opinion.

WVbeergeek, Jan 06, 2003
Photo of Rumrunner
4.28/5  rDev +8.6%

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.

Rumrunner, Aug 10, 2003
Photo of mickeymac
4.3/5  rDev +9.1%

Henry and Harry's Goat Hill Tavern is an O.C. institution. The City of Costa Mesa has been trying to shut the place down for years, citing fights, noise, and just general mayhem. The crowd gets pretty rowdy, although I'd imagine it has settled down a bit with the closure of the nearby Marine Corps base. In addition to Marines, the bar used to have a regular clientele of rugby players, who ususally stopped by in uniform after a match. Inevitably, a drunk rugby player would say the wrong thing to a drunk jarhead and all hell would break loose. The selection of beers on tap is the best I've ever seen in southern California. They're lined up all the way across the back of the lengthy bar. The prices are pretty reasonable too. This is most certainly not the place for a romantic date. It is, however, a fun place to sample a lot of beers and see a usually rowdy crowd.

mickeymac, Jun 08, 2002
Photo of rowew
4.3/5  rDev +9.1%

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.

rowew, Jan 21, 2005
Photo of alexgash
4.34/5  rDev +10.2%

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.

alexgash, Nov 30, 2004
Photo of dagubna
4.4/5  rDev +11.7%

dagubna, Nov 06, 2014
Photo of Amdy
4.4/5  rDev +11.7%

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.

Amdy, Mar 02, 2011
Photo of Hampants
4.45/5  rDev +12.9%

This is a great place to drink beer. They have a ton of different beers on tap and they are reasonably priced. The atmosphere is very relaxed and casual and there are a variety games including shuffleboard, pooltables, Golden Tee, and pinball.

The food choices are nonexistant besides the peanuts, but if you are hungry ask the bartender and you can get a pizza delivered.

Hampants, Mar 12, 2003
Photo of DrinkinSurfer
4.58/5  rDev +16.2%

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.

DrinkinSurfer, May 06, 2009
Photo of PhiloPsych
4.6/5  rDev +16.8%

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.

PhiloPsych, Dec 23, 2010
Photo of bradford
4.61/5  rDev +17%

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

bradford, Oct 02, 2007
Photo of SmallFry
4.69/5  rDev +19%

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!

SmallFry, Sep 05, 2013
Photo of jcalabre
4.8/5  rDev +21.8%

Ambience: Sawdust and Peanut shells on the floor, vintage tap handles hanging from the ceiling, pool tables...
Cuisine: Peanuts, Hot Dogs, Pickled Eggs
Clientele: Bikers, Businessmen, yuppies, beach bimbos, quite an eclectic mix
Beer Selections: 140 on Tap!! Most of these are west coast micros
Parking: behind the building

If you're in Orange County this is a ***must*** for any beer lover. I was there a few days ago. I had on Draught: Stone 6th Anniversary, Stone IPA & Rogue Dead Guy. How many places can top that?

jcalabre, Jun 28, 2003
Photo of GoatHillTavern
5/5  rDev +26.9%

GoatHillTavern, Aug 25, 2014
Goat Hill Tavern in Costa Mesa, CA
89 out of 100 based on 53 ratings.