Considering how many sports bars there are in Melbourne, it often begs the question – just where is the best place to watch the footy? Well, do not worry, as we have listed a few of our absolute all-time favourites. There’s something for everyone here, whether you’re a hardcore football fanatic or a more casual follower of the game.
The Elephant And Wheelbarrow
94-96 Bourke St, Melbourne CBD
On the top of our list is The Elephant and Wheelbarrow, a traditional British pub that boasts multiple television screens, showing not just AFL but the Tennis, the Premiere League and the NRL. Many of the locals come here for the lively sporting environment, so for anybody looking for that classic sports bar feel, you’ll be right at home.
The extended range of beers on tap offered is the perfect accompaniment to game day, be it a traditional English ale or a home-grown Australian lager. Feel free to chat to the bartenders – they love their sport just as much as the next person and aren’t afraid of some light-hearted (or heated!) banter.
Whilst you’re there, don’t forget to grab some of their delicious food as there’s nothing more Australian than chowing down on a chicken parma during a heated match.
90 Swan St, Richmond
If you’re the kind of person who would rather eat a cheese and meat platter and drink some hipster craft beer whilst watching the game, The Posty has you covered.
Containing a more relaxed vibe for those who want to get away from the loud fanfare of other sport bars, The Posty is a boutique bar that also specialises in wood fire pizza, with a large selection of draught and craft beers to tickle your fancy. Additionally, if you’re more of a cocktail type, there are also many distinct and exciting concoctions you can try whilst cheering for your team.
Bakers Arms Hotel
355 Victoria St, Abbotsford
For those seeking a no-nonsense bar that loves their sports, look no further than the Bakers Arms Hotel. Originally established as a bakery in 1876, the hotel was renovated in 2015 to create a stripped-back brickwork look that gives the venue a rustic and earthy feeling.
Barkers Arms are also one of the few sports bars showing live screenings of the World Cup, trading live alongside all the action at all hours!
Their multiple screens show sports around the clock in full HD to make sure you get the best experience out of your sport-bar outing. Every day of the week you can get $3.50 pots, $7 pints and $5 spirits during their happy hour from 4 – 6pm. You can also rent out their private function room if you’re looking to host an AFL extravaganza for your friends. Not only that, you can stay long after the game has ended, with their licensed bar and TAB open until 1am!
Northcote Social Club
301 High St, Northcote
Perhaps the most iconic staple of northside’s High St, the Northcote Social Club is home to indie and alternative music acts and a cosy bar interior that expands out to a recently renovated outdoor decking area.
There are televisions screening the footy throughout the venue, including the deck area, front area and the bandroom so you need not stress about getting a great view. The kitchen serves a range of food but the most revered dish according to the locals would be the mouth-watering classic beef burger, with which you can wash down with an ice-cold beer.
The venue is so loved that even Lady Gaga paid a visit back in 2012 to see what the fuss was all about. So what are you waiting for?
57 Swan St, Richmond
Perhaps the best known venue on this list, The Corner Hotel is known for its bustling live music scene. Another point often left out is that The Corner is also one of the best spots in Melbourne to get your weekly dose of AFL. Screens are peppered all across the venue to ensure you can see every single kick of every game in full HD.
With a lively and unpretentious vibe, the Corner is the perfect melting pot of young professionals, old rockers and after-workers who are all just after a nice drink to watch the game with. If you’re lucky enough to have tickets to the game at the ‘G, you can also pop in for a post-game drink as the Corner is just a short walk from Melbourne’s Olympic Park sporting precinct.
Lagerfield Bar and Beer Garden
Main Casino Floor, Crown Melbourne, 8 Whiteman St, Southbank
If you’re after a more sophisticated outing when catching the football, then the Lagerfield Sports Bar is for you. Located inside Crown Casino, you’ll have a huge selection of 8 screens and 1 mega-screen at your disposal to catch the game in true high-class fashion. And when we say fashion, we mean it – Lagerfield has a dress code so make sure you get out your shiniest leather shoes and freshly-pressed shirts.
Lagerfield Sports Bar has both an upper and lower lounge area, and you can even book out a VIP booth package for you and 5 others that gets you your own private screen television and control. There are a wide range of beers and wines available, as well as a selection of cocktails. If you’re feeling peckish, you can also bite into some delicious snacks whipped up in the kitchen of the famed Merrywell, who is partnered with Lagerfield to make sure you have the best AFL experience you can.
The Great Northern Hotel
644 Rathdowne St, Carlton North
Famously known across Melbourne for their absolutely massive beer catalog, the Great Northern Hotel has everything you could ask for, be it a pilsner, stout, IPA, pale ale or what-have-you. Just as big as their love for beer is their love for all things sports, with a huge selection of 10 high-definition screens and two massive projectors that show just about every sport on the surface of the earth, including AFL, NRL, NFL, EPL, NBA, Union, Cricket and the A-League.
Throughout the week, GNH hosts certain food nights, including $14 Parma Night on Mondays, $14 Steak Night on Tuesdays and and $15 Burger Night on Thursdays. Coupled with this are regularly hosted sporting events, so you’ll never run out of a reason to come in and enjoy a pint. You don’t have to leave the pets at home either! The Great Northern Hotel is completely dog-friendly so don’t forget to bring your favourite canine friend to your soon-to-be-favourite bar.
The Bridge Hotel
642 Bridge Rd, Richmond
The Bridge offers traditional pub food and boasts a roster of four different bars – The Public Bar, Diner, Studio and Loft – that will accompany you on match day. Each space has a different vibe that will suit your every mood, whether you’re feeling like a quiet game or an energetic clash.
There’s an extensive wine and beer list and if you get in during happy hour (5 – 7pm), you’ll have $3 pots, $6 pints and $3 house wines at your disposal. Not only that, you’ll be contributing to a great cause. All proceeds from happy hour go towards Sand Hill Road’s ‘Karma Kegs Happy Hour’, which helps struggling families, supports community initiatives and contributes to charities. Helping those in need and watching football? That’s the dream.