Goat Hill Tavern
Ratings: 48 | Reviews: 39 | Display Reviews Only:
3.44/5 rDev -11.8%
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
4.2/5 rDev +7.7%
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
4.14/5 rDev +6.2%
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
2.8/5 rDev -28.2%
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
10-11-2007 04:20:38 | More by Floydster
4.25/5 rDev +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.
01-06-2003 21:15:20 | More by WVbeergeek
4.06/5 rDev +4.1%
***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.
08-18-2006 04:56:35 | More by blitheringidiot
4.14/5 rDev +6.2%
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, lets 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 youll 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 Stones 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 hadnt 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, Ive 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 dont offer any real food.
12-15-2006 00:44:02 | More by 86sportster883
4.04/5 rDev +3.6%
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
4.3/5 rDev +10.3%
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
4.03/5 rDev +3.3%
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).
02-02-2005 21:05:50 | More by Dukeofearl
Goat Hill Tavern in Costa Mesa, CA
88 out of 100 based on 48 ratings.