The Surly Goat

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The Surly GoatThe Surly Goat
58 Ratings
The Surly GoatThe Surly Goat

Type: Bar

7929 Santa Monica Blvd
West Hollywood, California, 90046-5107
United States

(323) 650-4628 | map

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Added by verdugobar on 02-08-2010

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Ratings: 58 |  Reviews: 36
Photo of tpix
3.28/5  rDev -26.6%
vibe: 2.75 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3 | selection: 3.25

In my experience I could not describe this as a quiet place. I made the mistake of visiting on Karaoke night, and a constantly painful caterwauling left a slightly unpleasant aftertaste in my Saison. The selection of beers was quite impressive, and the service was quite cordial. It is in a fairly dense part of West Hollywood, so parking can be problematic. I will give this another chance on a night that is not Wednesday.

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Photo of ndinh
3.6/5  rDev -19.5%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4

this place needs a little bit more time to find its stride and get organized. The bar is centrally located so it'll do well for sure. We went the first Friday after opening week and it was jam packed. The bartenders were nice but were scrambling to pour and sometimes the wait was a bit too long. Unfortunately, this is not only a beer bar but a full bar so you have the people ordering their mixed crap so bartenders tend to take longer to shuffle through customers. The beer list was good but not well organized. The board list didn't match the menu so we weren't sure what was available. Strange thing....I asked a bartender for Doggy Claws and she said they were out. My friend asked another bartender a couple of minutes later and she got a pour. Huh? There was also a cask on the board and when I asked, the bartender said they don't have a cask.

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Photo of SirBentham
3.75/5  rDev -16.1%

Photo of wethorseblanket
3.75/5  rDev -16.1%

Photo of beernazi
3.75/5  rDev -16.1%

Photo of GRG1313
4/5  rDev -10.5%

Photo of gregoryG
4.06/5  rDev -9.2%
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...

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Photo of WOTO97
4.09/5  rDev -8.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4

All-in-all a great spot for a location in dire need of a solid beer bar. The bar actually reminded me of a Chicago bar, which is definitely a good thing: focus on hanging out with a great patio area. While there, I had a consecration, three sheets, idiot, and the craftsman saison. All were solid as expected. The service was great; the bartender was generous with tasters and friendly banter at the bar. Service lost some points for simply because the bartender working there didn't have a very solid beer knowledge. Aside from that, very friendly and diligent. I must also note I visited on a Sunday evening and the place was relatively empty. The selection was pretty good. Admittedly, Beachwood has a better selection of the hard to find stuff, but from the looks of this spot, the Goat is surely on its way to greatness. Definitely a fun spot and worth the trek if you are considering visiting.

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Photo of Antg8989
4.14/5  rDev -7.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25

Definitely one of the better places to stop if you're in the mood for a good beer. I prefer the Surly Goat in Encino, as there is a pool table and shuffle boards. Who doesn't love games with a craft beer? Overall, decent selection - there's usually 2-3 that catch my eye.

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Photo of Mista_Carta
4.15/5  rDev -7.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4.25

Really good selection and great specials, guest taps, etc. They even put a few taps on special for "happy hour." One of the best options for this part of town. Fun little "beer passport" program—tick off all the breweries to get discounts and special access to events.

Biggest gripe? No half pours. With almost 30 taps it is inevitable that you will want to try several but several full pours = boozy Suzy. Add to this a couple, how to put it, less than knowledgeable barkeeps. When I asked about "half pours" one actually told me to look at the menu, some of them were smaller pours. Uh... That's because they are higher ABV—yes, Dogfish 120 Minute is going to be a small pour, otherwise people would be crawling out of there. Yes DIPAs are going to be smaller pours... So awesome going to places that will do a 8oz or 6oz or 4oz. Not sure what the downside or hesitation is there. I ended up leaving a lot of beer in glasses. You win, you get my $ but you also lose since someone else that may have really wanted that beer just watched you pour the last of it down a drain.

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Photo of phoenixashes
4.16/5  rDev -6.9%
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.

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Photo of SubpoenaDeuces
4.19/5  rDev -6.3%
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.

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Photo of dksl16
4.2/5  rDev -6%
vibe: 3 | quality: 5 | service: 3 | selection: 5

Let me preface this by saying that I've been eagerly awaiting the opening of The Surly Goat since the day I heard it was coming to my area. There is nothing comparable in terms of beer selection around We/Ho and Fairfax and it's certainly a welcome addition to the neighborhood. It does, however have its share of problems.

BEER: En par with Verdugo (equally amazing selection, maybe a little pricier)

ATMOSPHERE: The bar setup is similar to that of Verdugo, but the seating area is a lot larger. Unfortunately the place is just missing that something extra. With no food, no "activities" except for a Pac-Man machine, and with TVs exclusively showing cult films, Surly Goat is a hard sell for non-beer geeks. Mixed service (sometimes you get friendly and knowledgeable, sometimes you don't) doesn't help matters.

If you're looking for a night of great beers in a relaxed atmosphere, this is the place. Unfortunately, in terms of the complete bar-going experience, it fails to rise to the level of Verdugo and Blue Palms. I'd place Surly Goat a distant 3rd in the LA beer scene.

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Photo of fthegiants
4.25/5  rDev -4.9%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25

Photo of Kramerwtmf
4.25/5  rDev -4.9%

Photo of belgbeerdrinker
4.25/5  rDev -4.9%

Photo of HopHead84
4.25/5  rDev -4.9%

Photo of Bnoise11
4.25/5  rDev -4.9%

Photo of SoCalBeerIdiot
4.25/5  rDev -4.9%

Photo of augustgarage
4.3/5  rDev -3.8%
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.

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Photo of DCLAguy11
4.3/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of zestar
4.36/5  rDev -2.5%
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.

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Photo of Metalmonk
4.38/5  rDev -2%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

So, we walk in and sit down at the bar, and immediately noticed how beautiful the two women bartenders were, and how knowledgeable they were about beer. I remembered this line from a review I read here (a couple below mine) and turned to my friend and told him what it said: "hot chicks at the bar that know the difference between a porter and a stout." One of the "chicks" caught our conversation at the wrong time, totally misinterpreted and glared at me like I was some chauvinist pig or something...I couldn't get her attention the rest of the night to apologize and explain. Whateva, sista!

The other bartender couldn't have been nicer or more knowledgeable. I had a Rogue Mocha Porter (delicious) and a Ballast Point Three Sheets oaked-aged barleywine (outstanding), and my friend had a Scaldis and a Matilda. All from the you see the focus on quality there. Saw all kinds of other stuff on offer, on tap and in bottles, hardly a dud in sight. Impossible to not find a top-notch beer to enjoy, and the tap list regularly rotates too...

The atmosphere is dark, which I like, although parts of the room have an austere quality. As soon as you walk in the door, in front of you is the coziest area, kind of a den sort of vibe with tons of framed pictures of goats of various varieties...and then the bar immediately to the right (well-stocked with spirits as well), and then a long row of tables directly behind. Was a Thursday night about 10 pm, and there was a good crowd, but still plenty of elbow room. And don't look for a big sign outside, it's not there, just the street number...we drove by it a few times, looking more for the sign than the #. Totally kick-ass place, the Goat, I'll be back before I leave this town...

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Photo of oldsailor
4.39/5  rDev -1.8%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Photo of Pachoo
4.44/5  rDev -0.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

One's experience at the Surly Goat is going to vary considerably based on what bartenders are working that night and how busy it is. I am from the East Side, and as such, have a great disdain for the greater Hollywood area. However, as much as I try to avoid it, it does have most of the great concerts that I end up attending, and as such, I need a place to drink excellent beer before I hit the dance floor/mosh pit/balcony seating.

One of the few places I can walk into and know I will be delighted with the tap list on any night and find something or two that is not only world class, but that I have not tried before. My experiences here have been varied almost entirely on my experience with the bartenders, which, like its sister bar (Verdugo) can either be incredibly nice and knowledgeable or just plain shitty in almost every category except for not hurting my eyes.

Beer list is constantly rotating both on tap and in the cellar.

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The Surly Goat in West Hollywood, CA
Place rating: 4.47 out of 5 with 58 ratings