lassic bars in O.C. are becoming an endangered species. These bars are pushed to the far corners of the guest’s view in favor of restaurant bars, rooftops and waterfront tables that fill the coastal landscape. An underrated American institution, a good, classic neighborhood bar is something to be treasured and loved. Wild Goose Tavern, located in Costa Mesa, is not just a good ol’ classic bar, but a great one. However, it is not only the checklist of great bar must-haves that makes Wild Goose Tavern what it is, but the quality of food chef Daniel Cherri is delivering to its patrons.
You would be forgiven if you drove by Wild Goose and didn’t think they served great food, or any food for that matter, because you wouldn’t think they had a kitchen solely based on square footage. The one chef Cherri is working with is without a doubt, the smallest kitchen I have ever seen, professionally speaking. The entire space is no more than 5’x8’, and yet, the team at Wild Goose is pumping out a wildly ambitious, delicious, ever-evolving menu. House-made tater-tots, pickled eggs (wipe that look off your face), various wild game sausages, also made in-house, and, personally speaking, one of the best burgers in all of Orange County. Those are just the staples as we haven’t even addressed the insanely good Taco Tuesday offerings, or brunch, which, as Chef describes, “… is like a Taco Tuesday but for the weekend.”
It really is a heroic feat what Cherri and his team have achieved, as kitchens with 10-times the space in Orange County often fail to deliver food even half this good. Let’s not forget though that you get to eat this amazing food in one of the best bars around. Showcasing one of the largest whiskey collections, including some rare, hard-to-find Japanese and other eclectic bottles, the rotating beer taps, and various weekly events all highlight the imbibing options. It all comes together to make the bar feel like you’ve stumbled into a special place, with that “Cheers” energy and romanticism we all think about when we imagine a seat at a classic bar.
It is extremely common to say that a restaurant also has a great bar in it, but here, it is the opposite; this bar has a great restaurant in it. Wild Goose is a space to be loved, and you will. Moreover, it is a culinary endeavor by chef Cherri to be appreciated and supported. It is an escape, in the best possible way, from the rush of Costa Mesa. A judgment-free zone, built for its neighbors, with regulars coming as far as Oceanside to eat, drink and smile. If this way of life sounds like a great way to spend a day, that’s because it is, so do yourself a favor, and next time you fancy a drink, take a gander at Wild Goose Tavern. Go at any time, feel at home, eating fantastically great food, as the chorus of characters assemble around you, to discuss important matters of the day, drink in hand. Cheers.
Wild Goose Tavern | 436 E. 17th St., Costa Mesa | 949.722.9453 | goosebar.com