You don't have to be a footy head to love Grand Final day in Melbourne. Even if you don't know your 50 metre penalties from your torpedos, Grand Final day, just like Melbourne Cup Day, is a pretty neat excuse for a beer and a barbecue. Plenty of venues across town will be hosting Grand Final day parties on September 27, with drink specials and food all afternoon and the big match beamed live. Don't get caught holding the ball—check out our guide to the best Grand Final day parties in Melbourne.
THE GRACE DARLING HOTEL | COLLINGWOOD
On Grand Final day, the motto at Collingwood's The Grace Darling Hotel is seemingly to go big or go home - literally. Each year they set up their giant projector screen (three screens altogether) so you can catch every bit of the action with your mates. The Grace Darling crew will also be putting on a free BBQ from 12pm-2pm and have their in-house DJ's spinning records throughout the day. A rocking' Grand Final celebration indeed!
LAMARO'S | SOUTH MELBOURNE
Not content with being one of the best gastropubs in Melbourne, Lamaro's is also putting on a cracker of a Grand Final day party from 11am. There'll be drinks specials from until 2pm - think Carlton Draught pots for $3, bubbles for $8 and the special 'Sherrin' cocktail for $10 - plus a delicious street side BBQ from 12pm-4pm. Free for Lamaro's footy tipping entrants, the annual Grand Final day BBQ usually sells out so make sure you get in quick.
CORNER HOTEL | RICHMOND
Just a couple of drop punts from the MCG, Richmond's iconic Corner Hotel is one of the most ideally located pubs to soak up the atmosphere of the big day. For the lucky few who have scored tickets to the game, breakfast will be served from 9am-11am to kick-start the day in style (bookings essential). For the rest of us, the match will be beamed on 10 screens around the venue. It's first come, best dressed in the front bar, where there will be prizes and giveaways including Corner Hotel gig tickets and merchandise. You can also book a table in the band room, which will be open from 10am.
THE ROSE HOTEL | FITZROY
With its vintage footy memorabilia behind the bar, footy tipping charts on the wall, big screens throughout four separate rooms, and menu of affordable pub grub, Fitzroy's Rose Hotel is the sort of place created for days like these. Don your footy scarves and get there early (or better yet, make a booking) to secure a table. Otherwise you'll be stuck squashed up next to the bar. Drinks are cheap and the staff will be just as engrossed in the match as you will be—and regardless of which team wins, you can expect to hear their theme song blaring throughout the venue afterwards for a bit of after-party fun.
TURF BAR | CITY
One of the city's best sports bars, Turf Bar boasts three huge screens and plasma TVs throughout the entire venue, ensuring you've got a great vantage point from wherever you are, making it the perfect possie to watch the Grand Final in Melbourne this year. There's a great menu of char-grill steaks, pizzas, and pub food, and more than 20 local and imported beers available. All finals, including the Grand Final, will be broadcast live, with bookings advised for Grand Final day. And if you have such a great time that you want to re-live it, you can head back the following weekend (October 5) to repeat the fun for the NRL Grand Final.
FEDERATION SQUARE | CITY
Spending Grand Final day with some little ones, or just want to escape the alcohol-fuelled shenanigans that will take place in licensed venues across Melbourne? Get yourself down to Federation Square, where the screening of events like the Grand Final, World Cup, and Australian Open has become a tradition. There's no shortage of decent places for a bite to eat nearby, and entry is free. Fed Square will be in the footy zone all week, with player appearances, live entertainment, and kids' footy clinics happening all week in the lead-up.
BUILDERS ARMS HOTEL | FITZROY
We love nothing more than a novel way to offer drink specials and Fitzroy's Builders Arms Hotel will do just that, with $2 pots of Cricketers available from 1.30pm until the first goal is scored, after the match starts at 2.30pm. The match will be shown in the public bar and Andrew McConnell and Josh Murphy's dining room, Moon Under Water, which will be offering its acclaimed sharing menu for $65 a head. The front bar will be open from 9am for those looking for an early start, and all finals matches will be screened in the public bar.
THE BOTANICAL | SOUTH YARRA
The Botanical calls itself, 'the place to be if you're not at the 'G' and who are we to argue? Doors will open from 10am on the day, with punters able to expect the game on multiple big screens with surround sound, prizes, and giveaways and a tipping competition. An all-day barbecue, a la carte menu, and drink specials (including $2 pots and $5 sparkling from midday until the first goal) will ensure no footy fans go hungry (or thirsty). Stick around and celebrate your team's win—or commiserate the loss—with an afterparty throughout the main bar and courtyard, including a set by live band, Intrepid Hounds.
THE LEVESON | NORTH MELBOURNE
Given it is owned by former North Melbourne champion, Corey McKernan, you'd expect North Melbourne's Leveson to be a pretty happening Grand Final day venue—and you'd be right. Known for its all-out Superbowl parties, the pub will host an all-day party to celebrate the last Saturday in September. There are three ticket prices available, from $10 general admission (with a drink on arrival and plenty of plasma screens inside and out) to the VIP package at $90 a head, promising finger food and premium drinks plus the game on two big plasma screens. DJs will take over after the final siren to ensure the drinks flow long into the night.
WORLD BAR | SOUTHBANK
With its views overlooking the Yarra River and close proximity to the 'G, there are few better locations to enjoy the Grand Final in Melbourne than Southbank's World Bar. Two huge screens and four plasmas will broadcast all the live action. To entice you, there will be $10 pints of Heineken and 'chef's footy grazing specials' all day. Add in the live music after the game, the menu of delicious a la carte nosh, and the healthy beverage selection (with more than 50 wines, 40 beers, and 10 ciders) and it's nothing short of a winner.
ST KILDA BRANCH | ST KILDA
An art deco bank-turned-bar, St Kilda Branch will turn its attention to footy on Saturday. $70 will land you an all-inclusive ticket to the Branch's Grand Final shindig. The ticket covers five hours (12pm-5pm) of finger food, basic spirits, Carlton Draught, house wine and soft drink, as well as post-match entertainment, with the game shown live on the big screen. The restaurant-slash-bar offers a relaxed environment plenty of places to sit and the chance to people-watch over Barkly Street with floor to ceiling windows throughout.
THE PROVINCIAL | FITZROY
Smack bang in the middle of Brunswick Street, there's little wonder The Provincial has become a Fitzroy institution. With the warmth of a traditional pub mixed with its shabby chic style, it has become a destination for comedy, music, and events in Melbourne. The main bar will be open from midday on Grand Final day, with a $65 ticket entitling you to finger food, beer, wine, and a courtyard barbecue for the afternoon. The game, of course, will be shown on several screens. DJs will hit the decks from 5.30pm.
PRECINCT HOTEL | RICHMOND
Owned by the Darcy Group, including footy identity and Triple M radio host, Luke Darcy, Swan Street's Precinct Hotel is a popular sport for big sporting occasions, and with good reason. It's spacious and comfortable, with an expansive outdoor deck and plenty of large-screen TVs so you don't miss a single mark, kick, or handball. Doors open at 10am and entry is free, with no bookings required. The pub is promising traditional footy fare (think pies and chips) plus live music and DJs throughout the day and, best of all, footy scarfs and guernseys are encouraged.
MELBOURNE CENTRAL LION HOTEL | CITY
What could be more 'Grand Final day' than taking home your very own premiership beer jug to remember the day by? That's one of the drawcards at Melbourne Central's Lion Hotel, which will be open from 11am on Grand Final day right through until 3am on Sunday morning for those post-match celebrations. Take advantage of the lunch special ($15 for a homemade pie and pot) before 3pm and stick around for the drink specials and entertainment from 9.30pm onwards. Table bookings are recommended.
HALF MOON | BRIGHTON
A favourite pub of many a Briiiightonite, Half Moon on Church Street is once again putting on a super special Grand Final day shindig - think an all day BBQ with $2 sausages (mmmm sausages) and $5 burgers. Let's hope it takes a while for someone to kick the first goal because Half Moon have some epic drinks specials - $2 pots of Carlton and $2 glasses of wine from first bounce to the first goal. Shhhhweet. Free entry too!
Main image credit: Jennifer McManus.