The rest of the nation already hates us for our public holiday on Melbourne Cup Day, but Premier Dan Andrew really stuck the knife in when he decided we should have yet another day off in celebration of the AFL Grand Final. Could we be the only city in the world that gets off work for two whole days for a couple of sporting events? Probably.
But who are we to look a gift horse in the mouth. Rather than question the wisdom of our government leaders, let’s embrace this strange bounty bestowed upon us and honour our city in the only way we know how (i.e. with food and wine). If you’re looking for what’s open this public holiday in Melbourne we’ve got you covered, with our short and snappy long-weekend itinerary.
PS The weather this weekend is supposed to be off the chain. Melbourne, you’re alllright.
Get your long weekend off to an early start with drinks after work. Head to Double Happiness down Liverpool Street in the CBD and settle in for a cocktail or two. For something sweet and sour, order the Plum in the Golden Vase with white rum, apple juice, lime juice and plum vinegar.
Right next door, you’ll find Rice Paper Scissors which is serving up some of Melbourne’s best Asian fusion. Choose five mini dishes from their lip-smacking “Share the Love” menu (this will be a heartbreaking decision process, but you’ll get through it... just order another cocktail) and pay only $27.50 per person. Ridic. We love the BBQ lamb ribs, crispy barramundi salad and roast duck betel leaf. To name a few.
Then if you’re in the mood for some dancing (who isn’t, it’s Thursday night and you don’t have work on Friday), head on over to FAD Gallery in the heart of China Town on Corrs Lane for some time-honoured tunes and bad-ass beats.
If you’re on the hunt for what’s open this public holiday in Melbourne, you’ll be pleasantly surprised. You will not struggle to find cafes and restaurants open over the long weekend in Melbourne. In fact, it would probably be more difficult to find one that wasn’t!
One such café is Wide Open Road, which will be ready to welcome you and your hangover with Wide Open Arms. If you can’t face looking at the menu, trust us and order the bacon sandwich straight up. It comes with provolone, smoked mozzarella and apple and chilli relish. The coffee here is legendary, so whether your preference is espresso or filter, these guys have got you covered.
If football’s your thing, head on over to the Grand Final Parade, which is taking a different route for the first time in 38 years. With marching bands and roving entertainment, the parade will start at 12pm from the Old Treasury Building, making its way to Yarra Park at the MCG.
Be sure to dodge the rogue Sandgropers who are set to invade Melbourne this weekend to watch their beloved West Coast Eagles take on the Hawks at the MCG on Saturday. Covered head to toe in blue and gold, they’ll be the ones having trouble negotiating the tram timetables.
For those of us who have already had enough of the Grand Final before it’s even begun, the Queen Victoria Market is open this public holiday in Melbourne from 6am to 5pm with two hours of free parking if you feel like doing your weekly shop. If you’re not that organised, take the chance to browse the stalls and pick up a bargain or two while everyone else is on the other side of town gawking at footballers.
It’s time for dinner and what better place to spend your evening than the newly opened Lady Carolina on Lygon Street in Brunswick East, which is kindly staying open this public holiday. Order an Inca Punch (served in a cocoa pod!) while you peruse the Peruvian-inspired menu. Be sure to take note of the guacamole bar and ceviche options, and don’t pass up the opportunity to try the suckling pig.
If you’re up to it, go for a night cap at Mr Wilkinson up the road. Grab a booth or check out the courtyard and settle in for the night.
Got a ticket to the game? Your day is sorted, so you can skip ahead to Sunday. Just be warned that Bryan Adams, Ellie Goulding and Chris Isaak will be entertaining you before, during and after the game. Do with this information what you will.
Whether you like football or not, it would be pretty un-Australian of you to not watch the Grand Final, or at least be in the vicinity of a television playing the game, so head to one of these top-notch pubs for the ultimate viewing experience.
It’s been a big couple of days, so a sleep-in may be in order. When your tummy starts grumbling, head to Fitzrovia in St Kilda for a big breakfast. They are serving until 3pm, so there’s no rush.
Got a sweet tooth? Try the crème brulée French toast with banana, whipped mascarpone, toasted pecans and grilled Istra bacon with vanilla Box Grove verjus syrup (phew!).
If you’re in a savoury mood, you can’t go past the grilled chorizo and tiger prawn omelette with manchego, shaved shallot, roast red pepper and watercress. Um yum.
The fine weather is supposed to last until Sunday, so stroll on down to Milk the Cow for an afternoon of cheese and wine in the sun. For those of us who are feeling adventurous, order a “flight” which will allow you to sample a range of fancy fromage paired with wine, beer, cider, sparkling, whisky or sake. Whatever takes your fancy!
And because too much football is never enough, get yourself back to the MCG who will be throwing open their doors for fans to have a rare kick-to-kick session on the hallowed turf from 10am.
If this isn’t the recipe for a perfect long weekend, we don’t know what is. So what are you waiting for? Go forth, enjoy and don’t make the premier regret his decision.
Image credit: Drew Dunlop for The Urban List