Love it or loathe it, Grand Final day is happening and Melbourne is expected to turn on an absolute screamer of a Saturday – and we’re not just talking about the footy. Sunny skies are forecasted and with a public holiday tomorrow, everyone's in a good mood. Here’s a list of quality spots that will take care of your needs, be they eating, drinking, yelling-at-the-telly or all of the above.
Fitzroy is home to many great footy pubs. The Napier, The Standard ... but in the residential streets between Smith and Brunswick streets is perhaps the greatest of them all: The Rose. No nonsense in the best sense, the front bar heaves on game days. There are meat raffles and there's a (slightly) quieter side bar where with a bit of luck you'll be able to grab a table. There's a great restaurant upstairs, a park at the end of the block that's perfect for a half-time kick, and if you're a West Coast fan, you'll be welcomed.
406 Napier Street, Fitzroy
(03) 9417 3626
What better way to get the most of the sunshine than sticking around St Kilda at its local, Grovenor Hotel. On Saturday it will offer punters an all-you-can-eat barbeque with an extensive selection of top-notch local beers. St Kilda Burger Bar will provide the venue’s annual Grand Final Day BBQ, offering a whole feast of burgers and hotdogs between 12pm–2pm. There will also be free pots of Stone & Wood Garden Ale until the first point, prizes and some special-menu burgers.
The Smith will have the game on the big screen, $3 beers from midday to first bounce and free mini pies and sausage rolls from bounce to siren. If you want to get away from the bustle, there are also private rooms you can book.
Great Northern Hotel
The Great Northern knows that every big day should start with a big breakfast – hence it’s opening at 9am for bacon-and-egg rolls. Considering the weather forecast, you’ll want to get down early to secure a spot in one of Melbourne’s largest decked beer gardens. Both inside and outside will be left unreserved, and the pub has one of the city’s best beer lists with 22 taps ready to help celebrate the day.
The National Hotel
If you missed out on tickets to the ‘G, this place is an excellent second best. Six big screens, a variety of drink specials and raffles throughout the day and a true-blue menu selection of sausage rolls and hearty burgers accompanying the chaos, with the addition of swish options such as beef sausage bahn mi with Sriracha slaw.
Open from 11am. Bookings are essential.
College Lawn Hotel
A crowd favourite (thanks largely to its beer garden), this list wouldn't be complete with this Prahran local. A friendly pub with 16 screens showing the game – if you can’t find a good viewing position, you’re doing it wrong. After the main event, DJs will be playing crowd pleasers from 6pm until late. Doors open at 11am.
Welcome to Thornbury
Skip the classics altogether and get up to Thornbury, home to Melbourne’s first permanent bar and food-truck stop. Welcome to Thornbury is licensed for around 700 people, so there’s plenty of room for you and your mates as you watch the game and work your way through six of your favourite food trucks. Welcome To will be open from 11am on Grand Final day. With a huge range of quality beers on tap cocktails to be had and all those food trucks, we suggest you get in early to secure the best possible position.
Moon Dog Craft Brewery
Moon Dog Craft Brewery is open from 11am, and will screen the game on a real “bloomin' big screen” (we assume that means it's quite large). Needless to say, Moon Dog is home to a range of delicious beers on tap. It will take care of the meat pies and pizzas, and if you come wearing a footy-club jumper and the teeny-tiniest shorts you can find, staff will shout you a jug. Challenge accepted.
With 50 taps pouring 32 craft beers from around the corner and around the world, Forester’s Hall has the biggest selection of local and international craft beer on tap anywhere in Australia. Hosting its first Grand Final Day, Forester's will have three massive screens all showing the game, Bluebonnet Barbecue will put its spin on Australian beer food and there’ll be footy sweeps, DJs after the game and with a 4am licence, no need to go anywhere else.
Want to be part of a real GF crowd atmosphere but missed tickets to the game? Federation Square always draws a big, fun crowd who get right in to the spirit of any big event. Join your fellow Melburnians for free music and entertainment in the lead up to the game, then gather around the big screen to watch the live broadcast. You can also get in on the party early, as Fed Square's program begins on Grand Final Eve.