The best pubs in Melbourne to watch the footy

The best pubs in Melbourne to watch the footy

Prince Patrick Hotel - image supplied
Words by Eva Marchingo

Watching the game at the pub is a rite of passage for footy fans.

If you can’t physically get to a footy game, the next best thing is going out to watch the action. When you’re watching from a pub surrounded by other fans or casual watchers, the excitement is palpable. Pubs are also significantly more comfortable – as long as you know where to go. Say goodbye to sleazy sports bars with primitive drink lists and boorish vibes – we’ve got you covered with a list of excellent pubs that incidentally also show your favourite sports.

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It’s hard to find a reasonable pub in the grid, but The Charles Dickens Tavern, hidden away in the Block Arcade, is a true classic. This British pub exudes old-school charm. Their menu boasts an extensive selection of beer and wine, as well as pub classics and British favourites. Catch English and Scottish Premier League matches as well as a huge range of other sports, and remember – when there’s a game on, they don’t close until it finishes.

Find The Charles Dickens Tavern downstairs at 290 Collins Street, Melbourne.


You can’t go wrong with The Railway Hotel. This Inner-West pub boasts a clean and modern rooftop with its own menu and bar, as well as a massive screen for all major sporting events. The dining room is more classic in both its design and menu, although you will still find exciting surprises. This is a pub that is both casual and sophisticated, allowing you to watch your favourite sporting event in style.

Find The Railway Hotel at 35 Anderson Street, Yarraville.


Self-described as, ‘the local’s local’, The Plough Hotel is a reliable pub in every regard. Originally built in 1868, this pub has had an incredible makeover – mirroring the evolution of the suburb it resides in. The two separate bright and modern dining areas share the same expansive menu, only differing in the atmosphere. When it comes to footy – The Plough has you covered, encouraging fans to book a table so they can ensure you’ve got the best view of the telly.

Find The Plough Hotel at 333 Barkly Street, Footscray.

Carlton North

Tucked away in the depths of Carlton North, you’ll find Great Northern Hotel. It’s a classic Melbourne pub, founded in 1883 and serving excellence ever since. The classic pub fare is always reliable, with generous weekly deals. The timber-panelled bistro is a delight, as is the impressive beer garden. With over 20 beers on tap and hefty TVs broadcasting the sport of the moment, this is a crowd-pleaser for the sport-obsessed, casual viewers, and hesitant watchers alike.

Find Great Northern Hotel at 644 Rathdowne Street, Carlton North.


If there’s one pub that embodies what this list is about, it’s The Rose. Over 150 years strong, this community-focused venue is an iconic Melbourne “footy pub”. The Rose provides a classic pub fare using premium products. For food and drinks, you’ll find all the classics as well as a spotlight on Victorian produce and independent producers. The Rose is a classic pub for lovers of AFL.

Find The Rose at 406 Napier St, Fitzroy North.


On the border of Collingwood and East Melbourne lies The Prince Patrick Hotel, which embodies that much-loved classic country pub energy. Serving Melbourne since 1887, this is a pub that knows how to please a crowd. With six screens and an 80-inch projector, The Prince Patrick can show four separate games simultaneously. But don’t be fooled – this pub has so much more to offer than sport. They’ve got friendly staff, nine taps of beer, and a heartfelt menu, too.

Find The Prince Patrick Hotel at 135 Victoria Parade, Collingwood.


Adapting to change since 1852, this iconic building is currently known as The Precinct Hotel. Ticking all the boxes, you’ll find a huge courtyard, band stage, intimate restaurant, and open bar area complete with the best screens for sport-watching. Whether you’re an AFL die-hard or you’re more into rugby, soccer, basketball, cricket, or tennis – The Precinct has it all. There’s a spot for everyone at the precinct, whether you’re decked out in your team colours or simply looking for a nice meal while keeping an eye on the score.

Find The Precinct Hotel at 60 Swan Street, Richmond.


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Another pub that ticks all the boxes, The Elgin Inn has been a happy watering hole since 1929. The ground floor is dedicated to all the usual fittings of a sports bar – showing every AFL game of every round – and there’s a second story complete with rooftop deck and bar, cosy and classical indoor area, small courtyard, and private function room. The traditional pub bistro offers an extensive menu including tapas, pizza, salads, and classics.

Find The Elgin Inn at 75 Burwood Road, Hawthorn.

South Melbourne

The Montague is a comfortable, modern, and upbeat pub. Alongside a friendly staff and a welcoming atmosphere is a delicious menu. On offer, you’ll find revamped pub classics and an impressive steak list, as well as several daily specials. With three TVs in the bar, you’ll be able to keep an eye on the game while enjoying your evening. It’s mostly an AFL crowd, but if the football isn’t on and you’re keen for something else, just ask one of the friendly staff.

Find The Montague at 355 Park Street, South Melbourne.

Keen on another fun read? Check out our piece on Melbourne’s best beer gardens.