If you can’t get a ticket to the 'G during the finals, the next best place to watch sporting history unfold is in a Melbourne pub packed with passionate 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 tap beer and reasonably priced food. Oh, and if they drop the music and crank up the commentary, all the better.
All that sports-ing making you hungry? Head to one of our best gastropubs for a meal.
Footscray’s Plough Hotel might be a clean-cut gastropub, but that doesn't mean they're not super passionate about the Western Bulldogs. Just look at the way they've painted their exterior wall in Doggies colours – it's a beautiful thing.
In addition to having a fantastic selection of Victorian craft beers and a great pub menu, the Plough will be hosting a big screening party to cheer on the red, white and blue.
If you needed further proof that the west is losing its collective mind over the Grand Final, then look no further than the Railway Hotel in Yarraville, which has been painted red, white and blue from top to bottom. Naturally, the pub will be putting on a huge screening event, with doors opening at 11am.
Earlier this year, Station Hotel re-opened after a fire, better than ever. The pub is still famous for its top-notch steaks – and also for their passion in supporting the Western Bulldogs. Head down for the kick-off at 2.30pm for a screening event and get ready to cheer your loudest.
Melbourne's oldest pub is serious about the Grand Final. So serious, in fact, that it changes its name and signage if an interstate team makes the Grand Final, thus becoming a hub for interstate supports. So this year, they're turning into The Duke of Sydney, and are turning up the screens to the max to play the big match. Doors open at 7am, with breakfast available. Get in, Swans fans.
How many screens do you need to watch an AFL final? Prahran's much-loved sports pub has sixteen of them. What's more, you're surrounded by a passionate crowd of fans and friendly footy-loving staff. After the match, there'll be DJs from 6pm.
On the Thursday prior to the big game (September 29) the College Lawn Hotel will be running its annual Sportsman's Lunch. For $110, you get a two-course lunch and beverage package, with a line-up of guest speakers which includes former AFL great Liam Pickering, plus panelists Jack Riewoldt, Glenn Archer and Terry Wallace. What could be better?
They make it easy to enjoy the Grand Final at this refreshingly old-school pub: pay $65 and you'll get a deluxe burger with chips and all-inclusive beer, wine and cider for the entirety of the big game. Afterwards, celebrate your team's win (or party away your pain) with live music from 6.30pm.