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The best bars and pubs to watch the AFL finals

Grab a pint and the best seats with a view of all the finals (and Grand Final) action

Adena Maier
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Adena Maier
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The AFL Grand Final is set to take over the MCG on September 24, and if you can't snag a ticket, the next best place to watch sporting history unfold is in a Melbourne pub packed with supporters. But what makes a great footy pub? A big screen (preferably more than one), good sight lines to the action on screen, a knowledgeable crowd, a variety of beers on tap and reasonably priced food. And if they drop the music and crank up the commentary, all the better.

Check out our list of the best bars and pubs to watch the AFL finals below. Meanwhile, all that sports-ing making you hungry? Head to one of Melbourne's 50 best pubs for a meal. And if you've got a passion for brews, check out these inner-city breweries

Recommended: Things to do over the AFL Grand Final long weekend.

Best bars and pubs to watch the AFL Grand Final

CBD bars and pubs
Photograph: Graham Denholm

CBD bars and pubs

The Crafty Squire is a big ol' beer barn and that (along with its 24 screens) makes it perfect for Grand Final celebrations. Book in for a table – or a 'Footy Pack' that includes drinks, snacks and a pub meal – here

Garden State Hotel will open at 10am on Grand Final Day and is offering a $125pp Grand Final Day package, which includes roaming food and bottomless drinks for four hours. Walk-ins are also welcome. 

Waterfront bar the Boatbuilders Yard is having a Grand Final Day Party from noon, with handball comps, a barbecue feast and the game played live on a mega-sized outdoor screen. Entry is free, but bookings are essential – snag a spot here.

North side bars and pubs
Photograph: Supplied

North side bars and pubs

You can start Grand Final Day in typical Melbourne fashion with brunch at the Provincial (it'll also be screening the game on the rooftop and level one). For $80pp, you can opt for a two-hour beverage package – bookings can be made here

Over at the Northcote Social Club, you can book a table and enjoy food and drink specials, and you can enter a raffle to win some goodies. 

South side bars and pubs
Photograph: Graham Denholm

South side bars and pubs

Over in Prahran, College Lawn is screening the Grand Final across more than 20 screens, and DJs are booked in to play after the final siren so you can party well into the night. There will be plenty of space for walk-ins, but you can lock in your spot here

For $98pp, you can enjoy small bites and beers at The Espy in St Kilda before the game kicks off on the big screen. For something a bit more substantial with guaranteed top-notch views of the game, you can opt for a three-course meal and three-hour beverage package for $125. Book your table here.

East side bars and pubs

East side bars and pubs

Head to Harlow in Richmond for a massive barbecue feast, with platters available to pre-order or buy on the day.  Buckets of Two Birds beer will be available, and DJs will be ready to spin tunes when the game ends. 

The Corner Hotel will lend its bandroom, rooftop, front bar and carpark to the Grand Final Day celebrations. There are 13 screens to watch the game on across the venue, and a post-game party will take place in the bandroom and front bar.

The crew at the Terminus Hotel is throwing an epic street party with roaming snacks and drinks from noon to 5pm. Further east, Auburn Hotel will be blasting the game live and loud across the entire venue. Game time bookings are available from 2pm onwards, and you can kick-on with live music that evening. 

West side bars and pubs
Photograph: Graham Denholm

West side bars and pubs

Over in Footscray, the Victoria Hotel is kicking off festivities at 10am with a heap of activities for the whole family. This pub has a dedicated kids room, and your children will be kept busy with face-painting, a roaming mascot, a soft play area, arcade games and more. That means adults can sit back and enjoy the game, completely uninterrupted. 

Did your team lose? Head to the Drunken Poet after the match for Irish folk tunes and ballads by Cillian Maher.

How about a pub with an outdoor area?

More things to do over the long weekend

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