Whether you are a follower of Australian Rules Football (AFL) or not there’s no escaping the hype as the AFL finals season comes around. For some teams and supporters the season is done and dusted, roll on cricket season, but for others the hope of taking out the ultimate prize and winning the grand final is still a possibility or a slim chance.
Even if you’re not a big sports fan, a visit to see a game at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG – it’s an Aussie thing, shorten everything!) is quite a spectacle. The next largest stadium in Melbourne, Marvel Stadium has the benefit of having a roof to close if the weather is looking bad, but at the MCG it probably pays to try and get seats under the cover of a roof if possible. You can get a different perspective of the stadium and the game depending on where you sit, I’ve watched a game at ground level and from ‘the nose bleed section’ (pretty much as high up as you can go) and they were both great for different reasons.
Half the fun of going to watch a match is organising to do something before or after game while you’re in the city too. To either have a drink and something to eat at a nearby hotel before joining the throng of people traipsing their way to the stadium in the heart of the city adds to the excitement before a game. As per most sports stadiums the prices and quality of drink and food is pretty outrageous.
One of the most popular pubs in the city for people heading to the football, has to be Young and Jackson. It’s on the corner of Swanston and Flinders Street and opposite the main train station in Melbourne. There are a number of different bars and areas to sit over the three levels so we’ve always found, even at the most crowded times, somewhere to sit for a short while. And you can’t visit this iconic 1861 built hotel without visiting the popular Chloe’s bar.
Another place I can now recommend is The Duke of Wellington Hotel. This one is also a short walk from the MCG and opposite The Forum Theatre. It was established in 1853 making it Melbourne’s oldest licensed pub. The draw card here is the rooftop bar and great food on offer. The menu has some really interesting burgers and brilliant choices of main salads and Italian influenced dishes. So many choices made it hard to decide. You are also spoilt for choice with the drinks and wine list. One thing that it really has going for it in a Melbourne winter is hot apple cider spiked with spiced rum. Trust me, this is one that just has to be tried.
The rooftop bar has cosy booths for groups to use or you can sit outdoors on the rooftop, but don’t worry the heaters do a perfect job of keeping everyone comfortable.
A great hotel to finish off a day of football in the city and so close to the centre of the city to make a walk through the city an easy way to end the evening. There’s so much of interest to see with street art down every laneway, beautiful architecture and…dessert is around every corner.