1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 53 | Reviews: 39 | Display Reviews Only:
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 Rollzroyce21
4/5  rDev +1.5%

Rollzroyce21, Jun 11, 2014
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 chippo33
2/5  rDev -49.2%

chippo33, Aug 09, 2014
Photo of fthegiants
4/5  rDev +1.5%

fthegiants, Oct 31, 2014
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 willjschmidt
3.28/5  rDev -16.8%

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".

willjschmidt, Dec 30, 2007
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 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 jeff1973
3.5/5  rDev -11.2%

jeff1973, Apr 04, 2014
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 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 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 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 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 TNeedles
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%

TNeedles, Aug 21, 2014
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 TaylorIPA19
3.5/5  rDev -11.2%

TaylorIPA19, Aug 04, 2014
Photo of HippieDave56
3.88/5  rDev -1.5%

HippieDave56, Nov 14, 2014
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 dagubna
4.4/5  rDev +11.7%

dagubna, Nov 06, 2014
Photo of berlinabb
4/5  rDev +1.5%

berlinabb, Dec 13, 2013
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 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 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
Goat Hill Tavern in Costa Mesa, CA
89 out of 100 based on 53 ratings.