The Surly Goat

BA SCORE
99
world-class

57 Ratings
The Surly GoatThe Surly Goat
PLACE INFO

Type: Bar

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

(323) 650-4628 | map
surlygoat.com

Notes:
No notes at this time.

Added by verdugobar on 02-08-2010

PLACE STATS
Score:
99
Ratings:
57
Reviews:
35
Avg:
4.6
pDev:
6.74%
 
 
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Ratings: 57 |  Reviews: 35
Photo of DoubleJ
4.59/5  rDev -0.2%
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....

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Photo of GRG1313
4/5  rDev -13%

Photo of aoampm
4.5/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.53/5  rDev -1.5%
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.

 788 characters

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.64/5  rDev +0.9%
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.

 877 characters

Photo of fthegiants
4.25/5  rDev -7.6%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.58/5  rDev -0.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

First mistake was going to this place on a Saturday night, much less one after the Bruery RS party. Place had a line out the door. This was the first time I've ever been waiting in line to get into a bar. I felt authentic LA/WeHo style.

Anyways, after about 20 minutes we were into a massively packed bar. Didn't really pick up much on the atmosphere, other than a few neat paintings of goats, Indiana Jones on the TV and a bar shoulder to shoulder packed with what looked like pretty normal people for this neck of the woods.

Selection and even pricing was awesome. Only $8 for a Deliverance on tap, full pour, tulip glass? That's like, cheaper than I can get it in the bottle at a very reasonable store, much less a hotspot like this.

Bartenders were hot, had one with fake boobs, one with big boobs and one, like the story about Goldilocks and the three bears that was just right. They were all very attentive, especially during such a busy period. Like many places these days, the list of beers they have, and the actual beers they have varies. Tried to order some Alpine stuff first, fail, didn't have it. Ended up going with the Cuvee de Tomme after the Deliverance. $40, seems pricey, but I can't even get it for that much on ebay, so to have that in an LA hotspot, deal, plus it was damn good, so there you go.

I would love to come back to this place when its not a Saturday night. If I lived in the area, this would be a popular place for me on a Monday or Thursday night.

Oh yeah, and I like shooting high end bottles, and they were totally cool with me leaving with the bottle at the end of the night. Nice.

 1,625 characters

Photo of BeerBucks
4.5/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of wethorseblanket
3.75/5  rDev -18.5%

Photo of Metalmonk
4.38/5  rDev -4.8%
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 tap...so 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...

 1,741 characters

Photo of DCLAguy11
4.3/5  rDev -6.5%

Photo of HopHead84
4.25/5  rDev -7.6%

Photo of belgbeerdrinker
4.25/5  rDev -7.6%

Photo of Hojaminbag
4.6/5  rDev 0%
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.

 1,934 characters

Photo of sillyhed8
5/5  rDev +8.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Ooooh....had my bourbon county with vanilla here...couldn't be better

69 characters

Photo of Kramerwtmf
4.25/5  rDev -7.6%

Photo of barflybastard
4.5/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of oldsailor
4.39/5  rDev -4.6%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Photo of SoCalBeerIdiot
4.25/5  rDev -7.6%

Photo of RolandBlunts
4.5/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of augustgarage
4.3/5  rDev -6.5%
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.

 2,021 characters

Photo of Mista_Carta
4.15/5  rDev -9.8%
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 is 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 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.

 1,073 characters

Photo of Bnoise11
4.25/5  rDev -7.6%

Photo of jwolfe1311
5/5  rDev +8.7%

Pretty much the best. Gets really busy weekend nights. nice and dive-y but not dirty.

87 characters

Photo of OlieIPA
4.94/5  rDev +7.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Finally got a chance to go out to Hollywood this past night and visit this fine establishment...and I can say it was worth the drive.

A: Basically a toned down version of Verdugo; Leather seating, dim lighting, and a moderate volume of music playing in the background. Definitely a place to bring a date and/or hang with a few friends.

Q: Ordered a few beers, both IPA's, that were extremely fresh. Nothing to really complain about at all.

S: Prompt and polite. The bartender was great and I even had a chat with a guy who worked at both Verdugo and The Surly Goat. He was even nice enough to open up a bottle of "Hop in the Dark" and share among the customers.

S: 24-32 taps (roughly) of higher-end craft beer. Couldn't ask for much more.

F: Not sure if they serve food.

Overall: It's definitely a trip from Orange County, but well worth it. A must try. Cheers!

 869 characters

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The Surly Goat in West Hollywood, CA
4.6 out of 5 based on 57 ratings.
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