Not looking forward to squishing on the couch at home for the Grand Final this year, collecting everyone’s discarded beer bottles and pizza crusts and squinting at the fuzzy old TV? If you can’t be at the game this year, you can still get out amongst the buzzing fans, sip freshly poured pints between eruptions of cheers and even eat a proper meal. Here are our picks of where to watch the big game on Saturday – or just avoid it all together.
The Great Northern Hotel
For the Grand Final, the proprietors of The Great Northern Hotel will be putting on a sausage sizzle in the huge beer garden, with a few different sausages, mixed grill plates and more. If the weather turns inclement the screens inside the dining room and front bar, as well as the 20 unique beers on tap, should be enough to entertain even the most avid footy fan.
Railway Hotel South Melbourne
The traditional haunt of the South Melbourne Swans fan base, the Railway Hotel in South Melbourne has been doing Grand Final day events for probably about as long as there have been Grand Finals. This year they have a special set lunch for $50, which includes food and a reserved seat right in front of one of their big screens. It always sells out so call them ASAP to book. For the regular punters, there will be also all sorts of hand-held food and stacks of screens are put up both inside and in the courtyard. Doors open at 11am.
The Corner Hotel
Just around the corner from all the action at the ‘G, The Corner will be kicking off its Grand Final celebrations at 11am (they do a breakfast thing, but it’s already sold out). There are drink specials, competitions, 10 big screens and the unmistakeable roar of the crowd across the road. It’s so close to the ‘G that it’ll almost be like you were at the game.
Middle Park Hotel
Boasting nine plasma screens, five private booths (equipped with their own TV screens), 45 individual beer taps and gourmet pies, Middle Park Hotel’s sporting club vibe makes for the perfect environment from which to watch the game. With English oak and Queensland maple panels that once furnished the walls of the MCC long room, you can almost pretend that you are actually there.
The Post Office Hotel
Getting into action really early from 7am for brekky, The Post Office Hotel offers a family friendly option with TVs everywhere, breakfast, lunch and dinner, kids face-painting, DJs after the game, then Spoonful (playing two sets from 6.30pm) and all their usual services and amenities.
The Workers Club
Although the Workers’ big screen will be showing all the biffs and bumps of the 2013 Granny, sadly the rules have changed so much over the past few years that you’d be very lucky to see any good ol’ fashioned biffo from the players. But the Workers’ offering of Kranskys, finger food, cheap jugs and tinnies are in the spirit of the days when footy was still footy.
The Gem Bar and Dining
If you’re looking to avoid the game and the rowdy fans, then look no further than the Gem. They assure us that they are doing absolutely nothing for the Granny, so if you just want a quiet beer and to pretend like it’s any other Saturday, this is the place to grab your mates and talk about anything except grown men chasing after oval-shaped balls.