Six Great Melbourne Pubs to Watch the Footy at This Winter
Can't make it to the stadium? Cheer your team on from one of these cosy pubs.
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Melbourne is a winter city — not just in that it gets properly cold (at least compared to many of our sibling cities), but the city seems to shine more brightly throughout the cooler months. Another thing that's well and truly felt when the colder weather hits? The footy is back.
If you're skipping the stadium, then there's no better place to barrack for your team than in one of the city's many great sports pubs. We've teamed up with Guinness to pick six great Melbourne boozers for a pint by the fire and some hearty pub fare while you cheer your team on. Win, lose or draw, you're close enough to the bar for a celebratory or conciliatory bevvie.
Carlton locals (and Melbourne uni students) will likely be familiar with this inner north stalwart. For those yet to visit, The Clyde boasts a homely, unpretentious vibe offering good food and drink in abundance. The Cardigan Street institution has long been a meeting place for local clubs, and has a rich history of sporting tradition that it carries through today — so you can imagine the energy on game day (especially when Carlton is playing). The pub has four spaces including a rooftop terrace and ground-floor saloon bar, both of which have screens set up for footy (and cricket in summer). Whether you remain warm inside or brave the cold on the rooftop, it's an ideal spot to sip on a perfectly poured pint while you take in a game.
Find The Clyde at 385 Cardigan Street, Carlton.
THE CHARLES DICKENS TAVERN
A favourite of anglophiles and expats alike, The Charles Dickens Tavern brings a bit of Blighty to the heart of the CBD. An unassuming entrance in the Block Arcade leads you downstairs into a bustling, traditional tavern with wallpaper, dark wood panelling and plenty of British paraphernalia adorning the walls. As you might expect, this is one of the city's most popular spots to watch the English and Scottish leagues of the beautiful game, live and loud. Beer-wise, expect to see Brit favourites pulled via traditional hand pump alongside other local and international brews. The food menu boasts pub classics like bangers and mash with onion gravy and proper fish and chips, complete with mushy peas.
Find The Charles Dickens Tavern at 290 Collins Street, Melbourne.
It's hard to miss the heritage-listed corner building that this charming Exhibition Street public house calls home. Expect a friendly greeting and great service here, thanks to a passionate but laidback team of hospo veterans under the steady hand of publican Matt O'Kane. The kitchen serves up unpretentious fare, while the main bar pours a smart selection of local and international brews. Enjoy a pint while taking in a game from one of the pub's 75-inch screens, and stick around for one of the regular live comedy nights, which in the past have seen the likes of Tom Gleeson, Celia Pacquola and Anne Edmonds step behind the mic.
Find Coopers Inn at 282 Exhibition Street, Melbourne.
Big screens, hearty pub fare and cold beer on tap — a tried-and-true combination that has definitely helped this Port Melbourne pub earn its status as a local gem. Pull up a stool in this contemporary, spacious public bar to catch a game and enjoy it with elevated bar food like pea and ham croquettes or truffle parmesan fries with aioli. Thirsty? There's a range of local and international beers on tap here, perfect for whiling away an afternoon cheering on your squad.
Find The Local at 22-24 Bay Street, Port Melbourne.
STEAM PACKET HOTEL
Williamstown's oldest pub, the Steam Packet Hotel — affectionately known to locals as The Packet — is a champion of two of the finest things a pub can offer: Aussie craft beer and sport. The heritage-listed building has a storied history and maintains an old-world charm — think exposed brick, wood panelling and a toasty open fireplace — which interplay with more modern touches like four big screens for the footy. (This is, perhaps unsurprisingly, Western Bulldogs territory.) There's also a contemporary food and drink menu, which includes 17 tap beers with a rotating craft selection.
Find the Steam Packet Hotel at 13 Cole Street, Williamstown.
A true local's local that combines comforting pub vibes with a touch of hip south-of-the-river energy, this Windsor watering hole is the perfect place for a pint on game day. Clusters of high tables and chairs, low-set booths and barstools and a heated outdoor courtyard welcome groups of all sizes. As its name suggests, this Punt Road spot is a beer lover's dream with a mind-boggling array of sours, stouts, IPAs and more to wet your whistle while you watch live sport on the big screen.
Find The Windsor Alehouse at 42 Punt Road, Windsor.
The Windsor Alehouse is offering takeaway food and beer daily from 4–9pm.
Thirsty? Find your closest place for a pint over at the Guinness Pub Finder.
Top image: Julia Sansone
Published on June 25, 2021 by Dominic Gruenewald