Goat Hill Tavern

BA SCORE
89
very good

55 Ratings
Goat Hill TavernGoat Hill Tavern
PLACE INFO

Type: Bar, Eatery

1830 Newport Blvd
Costa Mesa, California, 92627-2710
United States

(949) 548-8428 | map
goathilltavern.com

Notes:
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/goathilltavern
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/goathilltavern

Added by BeerAdvocate

PLACE STATS
Score:
89
Ratings:
55
Reviews:
40
Avg:
4
pDev:
12.5%
 
 
View: Place Reviews | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Ratings: 55 |  Reviews: 40
Photo of 2beerdogs
3.95/5  rDev -1.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.25 | food: 3.5

Photo of Halcyondays
3.71/5  rDev -7.3%
vibe: 1.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4

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.

 1,809 characters

Photo of SwillinBrew
4.14/5  rDev +3.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

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.

 1,843 characters

Photo of mickeymac
4.3/5  rDev +7.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 2.5

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.

 882 characters

Photo of shoegueuze
4/5  rDev 0%

Photo of TNeedles
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%

Photo of alexgash
4.34/5  rDev +8.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 5

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.

 1,735 characters

Photo of jcalabre
4.8/5  rDev +20%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

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?

 525 characters

Photo of OlieIPA
3.86/5  rDev -3.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5

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.

 863 characters

Photo of IntriqKen
4.14/5  rDev +3.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

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.

 591 characters

Photo of vince4953529
4.2/5  rDev +5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

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.

 1,218 characters

Photo of TaylorIPA19
3.5/5  rDev -12.5%

Photo of jmatthew
3.85/5  rDev -3.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 2.5

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.

 955 characters

Photo of janedoe
3.9/5  rDev -2.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 5

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.

 713 characters

Photo of berlinabb
4/5  rDev 0%

Photo of Myk
4.13/5  rDev +3.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 5

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.

 1,152 characters

Photo of WOTO97
4.2/5  rDev +5%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 3

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.

 643 characters

Photo of theautorestorer
3.34/5  rDev -16.5%
vibe: 2 | quality: 4 | service: 1.5 | selection: 5

I used to work around the corner from the Goat and I would stop in for pint on the way home. Lousy atmosphere and service. Rude and short bartenders and a filthy bar. The restroom is just as bad. The local customers are rude and unfriendly. But the beer selection is excellent. I'm a big steam beer fan. My only complaint is the tap lines are not flushed so you get stale beer at times and if you take it back to the bartender he acts like you're trying to rob him. The keg room is impressive. A good place for a beer in a dirty glass just like a sailor likes, don't bring a date though.

 587 characters

Photo of PhiloPsych
4.6/5  rDev +15%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

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.

 693 characters

Photo of drewmprs
3.8/5  rDev -5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 4

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.

 748 characters

Photo of GoCubsMatt
4.14/5  rDev +3.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

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.

 1,191 characters

Photo of bradford
4.61/5  rDev +15.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 5

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

 921 characters

Photo of mhaugo
4.13/5  rDev +3.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.75

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.

 2,483 characters

Photo of QUERCUSAGRIFOLIA
4.22/5  rDev +5.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

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.

 500 characters

Photo of Amdy
4.4/5  rDev +10%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 5

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.

 582 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Goat Hill Tavern in Costa Mesa, CA
4 out of 5 based on 55 ratings.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.