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The Surly Goat

Not Rated.
The Surly GoatThe Surly Goat
BA SCORE
97
world-class

48 Ratings
Ratings: 48
Reviews: 32
rAvg: 4.44
pDev: n/a
Taps: 27
Bottles: 100
Cask: Y
Beer-to-Go: N
[ Bar ]

7929 Santa Monica Blvd
West Hollywood, California, 90046-5107
United States
phone: (323) 650-4628

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap @surlygoatbar

Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: verdugobar on 02-08-2010)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 48 | Reviews: 32 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of RolandBlunts
4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

Photo of SirBentham
3.75/5  rDev -15.5%

Photo of SoCalBeerIdiot
4.25/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of Kramerwtmf
4.25/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of Bnoise11
4.25/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of beernazi
3.75/5  rDev -15.5%

Photo of euskera
4.72/5  rDev +6.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

An oasis for beer geeks in a desert of stores on Santa Monica Boulevard. Cool, quirkly laid-back atmosphere, excellent selection, great service. Beer list is always slightly different when I go there, which I most definitely enjoy.

Always on my list when I visit LA..

Photo of raulstotle12
4.75/5  rDev +7%

Photo of GRG1313
4/5  rDev -9.9%

Photo of belgbeerdrinker
4.25/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.53/5  rDev +2%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

This is a really cool place and really stands out in an area that doesn't have much to offer in the way of beer bars.

You would walk right by the place if you weren't looking for it as there is no branding on the outside except for their logo and there was no indication from the outside that this beer even had beer, let alone craft beer.

The atmosphere is really cool. Clean and pleasant with a bit of an old school feel to it. One bonus for me was that they were playing 90's alternative music.

Selection was excellent. Nothing extraordinary on tap, although they had Abyss on deck that wasn't tapped while I was there. Good selection of styles too, with a mix of IPA/DIPA, stouts, saisons, Belgian Ales, etc. Pliny was on tap too.

Don't miss this place if you are in the area.

Photo of pmoore311
4.5/5  rDev +1.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Awesome bar, great atmosphere and great location and good tunes. Being from the Detroit area and in the Los Angeles area often for work, this is my go to spot. This is also the place where I had the pleasure to have my first PtE on tap so maybe I am partial. Definitely worth checking out.

Photo of DoubleJ
4.59/5  rDev +3.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

There are some people who believe that everything happens for a reason. While I've enjoyed many nights at Verdugo Bar and have a good relationship with owner Ryan Sweeney, I had never ventured over to West Hollywood to check out his other bar. I knew I would visit one day, it was a question of when. With place review #400 in my sight, I listed several choices to the BA Community of which place I should visit for that milestone. Congrats Surly Goat, you are the winner of that contest....

Using the Verdugo Bar as a base, I knew that the Surly Goat had high standards to chase in every department. Perhaps the best aspect of the Verdugo Bar is the dark, lounge-like atmosphere that's tough to replicate. To my surprise (or not surprising, depending on your point of view), The Surly Goat maintains a similar, awesome atmosphere. It's dark on the inside. A well lit bar area with taps written in chalk. That big goat head hanging over the bar is easy to recognize. Candles lit at every table. Lots of open space behind the stolls of the bar. Several games available to play in another part of the bar, including 80s arcade games and table games. No shortage of goat-related memorabilia, especially the ones in the German bock adverts. And let's not forget about the few areas outside where one can drink.

Two different female bartenders serving drinks during the night. It was easy enough to approach the bar and ask for a drink, though on a busy night I could see it turning into a clusterfu<k. No cluster tonight, but I did have to give a little time. I did receive good beer knowledge from one of them, when I asked the difference of styles between two of the taps. Speaking of....

There are over two dozen taps, a cask (when available), and 40 different bottled options. Many of the taps options are not easy to find, and this is reinforced from options like Firestone Unfiltered DBA, World Wide Stout, Tongue Buckler, Zymaster, Los Padres Ale, Craftsman Ochre. Other brands availale from the keg include Russian River, Avery, Lagunitas, Coney Island, Weihenstephaner, Stone, Ballast Point, Port, Eagle Rock, Anchor, Sam Adams Chocolate Bock. And that's saying nothing from the small, yet impressive bottle list (Firestone Anniversary, Cuir, several Russian River's, Eclipse series). In a nearly perfect marriage with the beers, the serving temperature, freshness, glassware, and pours are excellent. And extra props for oversized flutes with different volume lines; a 33 cl pour is actually going to give you 33 cl of beer, plus head. The prices are somewhat reasonable too ($6-8 pours), especially given that you're not going to get shortpoured.

The Surly Goat shares some trails with its older sibling Verdugo; a good beer list, people who know beer, and a great atmosphere. In fact, I would even say this is almost like Verdugo Bar v2.0. Congrats to Ryan and his crew for opening another must stop beer bar in the LA area, and happy #400 place review to me! Now if I could only find a convenient place to park in West Hollywood....

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.64/5  rDev +4.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

I headed over to Surly Goat tonight with my buddy after a dinner at Golden State Cafe. We got there right after they opened at 6 and there was tons of seating around the space. We grabbed some stools at the bar but there are also tables towards the back of the space. A very modern space inside aesthetics wise. They have around 26 taps all of which are great import and craft selections. The quality of all of my pours was very good as well. We got exceptional service all night long from one of the bartenders so that was awesome. Best of all, they now do tasters! Apparently they did not do so in the past from what I understand. Prices were reasonable for everything (especially the tasters at $1 or $2 depending on what kind of beer you want to try). I will definitely be back here in the future and I highly recommend this place if you are looking for a spot in the area.

Photo of augustgarage
4.3/5  rDev -3.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Those familiar with Verdugo Bar, BoHo, or Little Bear will immediately recognize Ryan Sweeney's (if not Adolfo Suaya's) signature on this fortress of his craft beer empire: nondescript, monotone exteriors (though the enclosed patio is a nice divergence from the theme), subdued signage, dark modernist/minimal interior design (with key lighting where it is most needed thankfully), a night-club atmosphere (complete with plush booths, distinct seating areas, Karaoke and DJ nights), and a full bar with no food (though you can bring in or even order some from outside).

In Glassell Park, this formula strikes me as out of place, but in West Hollywood, it integrates well with the surrounding community. Personally I much prefer pubs to clubs, but I won't fault the atmosphere just because it isn't my scene.

In any case, the selection and quality of beers at Surly Goat is among the best in Los Angeles. I'd list a couple dozen taps, but you can easily peruse their website for the most up-to-date info. You will always be greeted with clean lines and wide variety (with a rapidly rotating tap and bottle list). I really appreciate the emphasis on seasonal beers, new beers, and on stocking a wide variety of styles at all times.

The staff is attentive and friendly (though I suspect attractiveness and extroversion were more important than customer service or product knowledge during the hiring process), and pours are all served in appropriate glassware.

Happy hour offers a small number of $4 beers for the more frugal among us...that said, the overall value is not the best given you can pay $9 for something like a small pour (25cL) of Tripel Karmeliet (wander over to the Whole Foods and pick up a 750mL bottle for a couple more bucks). Most pints are $7 which is fine given the location and selection. Bottle prices are higher than most stores but lower than many other bars, so that's a wash.

Worth a visit if you are in the area - if my pockets were deep enough to live near-by I'd probably be a regular.

Photo of Philousa
4.61/5  rDev +3.8%
vibe: 3 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

The Goat is the best beer bar I've found in the greater LA area. A year ago, this might not have held much weight, but there are burgeoning spots that are making themselves known in LA, so I think this is a pretty bold statement. Bear in mind, I haven't been to most every great beer bar in LA, so take it with a grain of salt. each time I've been there, they have local stuff that's either hard to find or is different than what you'd find anywhere but the tasting room from which it was brewed. They also have a great selection of craft beer across the US that you might not find on the west coast, such as slightly rare DFH or Avery beers. Their choice of beer leans heavily towards the US craft beer, but they have a couple taps devoted to the Belgian or German brews.

The only reasons I docked points is the area and the atmosphere. They really go for a clubby feel on the weekends, and the cool atmosphere is just a bit too dark for my preference. It doesn't really lend towards a friendly atmosphere in which you could easily strike up a conversation with a fellow craft beer advocate. The area sucks for parking if you go on a weekend, too. I guess that's Hollywood for you, though.

Despite my minor gripes, I will seek out The Goat in the future and I recommend you do the same.

Photo of Beezee
4.5/5  rDev +1.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Myself and a few serious midwestern beer nerds stayed a few blocks from this bar. We all agreed it was excellent. Prices are reasonable for LA -5 bucks a pint -the average price in LA seems to be about 7 bucks a beer. The atmosphere is great with old school video games, flat screens with sports, nice booths, nice art, dark atmosphere and an outdoor seating area. Great bottle selection. Great tap list with a cask on tap. Bartenders are very friendly. Great BBQ spot next door. Had a great time watching the Bulls lose and drinking a Pliny.

Photo of SubpoenaDeuces
4.19/5  rDev -5.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 5

First and foremost, this and Verdugo are my favorite spots in LA. I love the bottle list and amazing taplist this location offers. The special monthly events keep things interesting as well. The prices are incredible especially when you consider the west hollywood area and the quality of items on tap. I once got a tulip of consecration for $7 I believe, well below retail.

The only complaint I have about this place is some spotty problems with bartenders occasionally. I love the owner Alan and he always makes sure that we have a good time however, there are several instances where I requested something from the bottle list that was unavailable and I was ostracized for having requested it. Come on, if you saw Papier for $40, you would request it wouldnt you? Another instance I requested a certain batch of Temptation and they brought up a different bottle and I didnt want a different batch and the bartender mocked me behind my back and my friend called her out on it. Rough spots to an overall excellent place. It would take a lot more to keep me from coming back to this awesome establishment.

The shuffleboard tables are great and the mix of people is perfect. There's Voyeur right next door so when clubsters get heismanned at that spot you get an influx of random people that pepper the place up with a great vibe.

Overall, this place is a gem and I regularly blow my friends minds from out of town when we can sit down and enjoy a batch 4 bottle of temptation when the need arises. keep up the good work.

Photo of gregoryG
4.06/5  rDev -8.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5

Has a really nice selection of brews on tap. the dudes that run the place seem to know their beer but the girls behind the bar have never impressed with their knowledge of brew. i have dj'd there a few times and a plus of this place is that they usually have pretty good music playing by decent djs. also you can bring in food from the surrounding area to eat with your beer. parking can be pretty bad in this part of Los Angeles but there is a small valet parking lot next door that only costs $5...pretty cheap for hollywood...

Photo of zestar
4.36/5  rDev -1.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

I stopped in last night and had a very good time as usual. I like going here on weeknights when the crowd is light and there's room to breathe and enjoy the beer. The decor is clean, sophisticated, and punctuated by some nice touches like the vintage coin-op video games and collection of framed keg labels creeping their way along the top of the wall.

A varied selection of quality offerings awaits you on the tap list, which almost always something new (lots of good local options). The option of half pints is always appreciated, though even more smaller pour options (such as flights) would be even better. The bottle list is solid and affordable, and there's a neat bottle fridge where you can easily check out the majority of the selection and prices.

Overall, this is one of the better places to grab a beer in the LA area.

Photo of mrvid123
4.86/5  rDev +9.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

Weho isn't worthy! Ok, some folks are.
Gotta love a joint that always has a Barleywine and a sour waiting for you everyday of the week. Not sure how they turn a profit on their beers, they always seem to be significantly cheaper than neighboring spots. Dual patios are a nice touch. I like the layout of the bar because whatever room you are in you kind of feel like you are in a private room. Monthly special events are always awesome, they threw a great New Years Eve party and their 4/20 Lagunitas celebration was cool too. Parking isn't that tough if you have a little patience and check out side street. Metered parking is free after 6pm too I believe. I bring in food from the Whole Foods across the street. Good times.

Photo of Foppie
5/5  rDev +12.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Great lighting
Awesome beers served properly
Quick and attentive service
Amazing and always rotating list of rare taps
Baby Blues BBQ next door delivers for free, the Goat has menus behind the bar if you ask.
Always amazed at what crazy 11% + beers they have available for $5
Awesome bottle list for great prices.

This is what West Hollywood needed a place with solid tunes and a relaxed atmosphere. The front patio just got redone and is super comfortable now with cushions galore. Game room in back is fun too!

Love this spot!

Photo of phoenixashes
4.16/5  rDev -6.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5

The Surly Goat came up on me a bit unexpectedly because of it's neutral looking outside. If you're having trouble finding it, I would keep an eye out for the enclosed outside seating area.

I really liked the feel of the cozy, artsy atmosphere. The beers are written on blackboard slates above the bar which I love. The selection was diverse and more unique. I had the following beers:

Velvet Glove by Iron Fist Brewing - Oatmeal Stout that tastes like oatmeal raisin cookies with a hint of spice/cinnamon. Wonderful stout overall.
Pliny the Elder by Russian River - Not as hoppy as I like my IPAs but full of complex flavors and a great mouth feel and nose, especially on tap.
Union Jack by Firestone Walker - They offer union jack on cask which makes the beer creamier then I've ever had it. Excellent on cask.

The service was average-good. I was pleased that the bartenders knew what they were talking about regarding the beers. Very pleased with the fact that they offer half-pints on a lot of the beers. I would recommend getting their early (around 8 or 9) to help avoid crowds.

Photo of ManuelHerrera
4.74/5  rDev +6.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

Moving to West Hollywood, my roommate and I were concerned we wouldn't be able to find great beer in L.A. but we were wrong...dead wrong.

In the eyes of the experienced beer lover, The Surly Goat is the equivalent of staying in the penthouse suite at The Four Seasons in Valhalla. With a solid 20-odd beers on tap that range from the Firestone's Pale 31 to A-Beer-I-Swear-To-God-You-Haven't-Heard-Of Ale, there is a beer that's sure to satisfy even the most casual of beer drinkers.

The Goat models itself after all the "trendy" L.A. scenes... in other words you'll probably pass it a couple of times and not even know it. From the outside it looks more like a random black box theater until you see the signature Goat. Walk inside and you've got beer and goat paraphenalia all over the walls.

The crowd varies depending on when you go - during the weekday happy hours your more likely to find a closer to middle aged crowd with some scattered twentysomethings, but go on a weekend and all bets are off. The Goat is crowded (often with a line!) with attractive young professionals, hipsters, and even a little bit of the college crowd.

This is my favorite bar in LA and I can't recommend it enough. It's got a lot of character and definitely worth a shot. And if you don't like it, it's just a short stumble back to your normal watering hole, which I'm assuming is Bar Lubitsch or The Dark Room.

Photo of Hojaminbag
4.6/5  rDev +3.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

The Surly Goat is in West Hollywood, which seems to be a trendy neighborhood to me. The Surly Goat itself, at least, is a trendy type of place. I walked in on a Thursday night and it was pretty packed with well-dressed, young, professional-looking people. People were pretty friendly though, as a group approached my friends and I to start a conversation and hang out for a good chunk of the night.

When you walk in, the bar is directly to your right, with the tap list written on individual chalk boards on the wall above it. The rest of the bar in front of you is divided into three sections, with the sections on either side raised a little bit. On the right is a door to some outside seating, which is great for a night in Southern California.

The bartenders were polite and very efficient, taking care of everybody as fairly as possible on such a busy night. Both were females the night I went, and both were pretty cute.

Now onto the beer. The tap list was impressive, and can be found at all times on the website, so there is no need to go into an in-depth discussion here. I had an Abyss which was great, if you want to know more, go to the website.

The bottle list was fabulous. The list itself says that all the beers on it are stored at 50 degrees and made for cellaring. Some of the highlights were Black Tuesday (75$ does any other bar sell this???), FW Anniversary 12&13 (32, 36), Black Butte XXI (18), Cuvee de Tomme, Russian River temptation and Damnation, and two vintages of the Abyss. These were the highlights, but there were other beers. I would have been happy ordering every beer on the menu, but I didn't have the cash.

Overall, the Surly Goat has one of the most carefully chosen selections of beer that I have seen in any city, and definitely the best I encountered or found in the LA area. Quality and quantity. Prices weren't cheap, but for the area and quality of beer, I was more than happy with it.

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The Surly Goat in West Hollywood, CA
97 out of 100 based on 48 ratings.