Some things just go together, like PB and jelly, and Posh and Becks, so this year we’ve teamed up with MINI to bring you, our discerning readers and drivers, our fortnightly MINI Fave 5 series: The must-try guide to Melbourne, celebrating the launch of the new MINI 5-door hatch!
Footy fans, rejoice! After an arduous six months of spear-tackling, eye-gouging and biting, the AFL Grand Final has arrived at long last. Pitting the highly-fancied Hawks against this year’s surprise-packet in the West Coast Eagles, Saturday’s clash has all the makings of a classic.
Whether your team’s playing or not, the Grand Final is one of the biggest days on Melbourne’s sporting calendar, so don’t miss your chance to pull out your scarf, belch with the best of them, and hurl profanities at the umpires as if you know the rules better than them. Because football.
Assuming you’re not one of the lucky few to have nabbed one of the 100,000 prized tickets, we’ve put together a list of our five favourite Melbourne pubs for your ultimate grand final experience.
The Great Northern Hotel
With its quality beer garden, massive TV screens and top-notch pub-grub, you’ll wish the Great Northern was your local. The GN will open at 9am, so get there early and lock in a prime spot to spend your afternoon. If you’re a West Coast fan, you’ll feel right at home with scores of other Sandgropers set to stream through the doors of this Carlton institution.
Fave dish: Get stuck into a homemade pie or a snag from the food station in the beer garden.
The London Tavern
Just a couple of torpedo punts away from the MCG, you can almost smell the Sherrin at the London Tavern, which makes it a great spot to drop by on your way to or from the game. Or just get stuck in and stay all day. If the sun is shining, the beer garden is one of Melbourne’s best outdoor venues to watch the game, and the sports bar up front will keep you fed and watered. The London Tavern is getting the party started early, opening at 10am. Someone’s keen!
Fave dish: Start your day with a classic bacon and egg roll. Still hungry? Try the cheese kransky with caramelised onions.
The Rose Hotel
One for the true footy nut, The Rose welcomes you with walls of vintage memorabilia and ancient footy cards displayed around the horseshoe bar. Beloved by Fitzroy locals for its old-fashioned charm downstairs, the Rose has undergone a facelift upstairs with a schmick dining room and rooftop bar overlooking Rose Street. Open from midday, The Rose boasts not one, not two, but THREE TV rooms, as well as a big screen in the main bar, you won’t miss a minute of the football action.
Fave dish: The Rose will be running a special footy menu on Grand Final day, featuring homemade dagwood dogs, potato cakes and meat pies. Boy oh boy.
A Greville Street favourite, College Lawn will have a mega 16 screens tuned to the grand final action this weekend, so you’ll have no excuse for missing that sneaky Cyril Rioli goal. Locals love this joint for its epic Sunday sessions and once you cop an eyeful of their beer garden, you’ll understand why. Let’s hope the Melbourne weather gods have some sunshine planned so we can make the most of the great outdoors. College Lawn will open at 12pm with a DJ jumping on the decks after the game.
Fave dish: Order the legendary parma with beer battered chips to keep you going all day long.
The Rising Sun
As the unofficial home of the Swans in Melbourne, you can expect to spot a former Sydney legend or two at the Rising Sun, especially on Grand Final day. Although the Swans were sadly bundled out of the comp after a heart-breaking semi-final loss to North Melbourne, this fine south-side establishment will be open from 10am and is guaranteed to be abuzz with finals fever. With big screens and great grub, there’s no better pub in South Melbourne to watch the biggest game of the year.
Fave dish: The Rising Sun is ambitiously offering its full menu, so get stuck into a game-day classic with the vegetable pastie, served with tomato relish, salad and shoestring fries.
Image credit: Michelle Jarni for The Urban List
We're thrilled to partner with MINI to bring you our Fave 5 series—our fortnightly guide to the best of the best in Melbourne. From food to fashion, Campari to Crossfit, each Fave 5 edition is researched and recommended by The Urban List, and driven by the new MINI 5-Door Hatch—putting the city at your fingertips and giving you the freedom to explore it!