The best pubs and bars in Geelong to watch the AFL Grand Final

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The best pubs and bars in Geelong to watch the AFL Grand Final

Words by Staff Writer

Grab a pint and sit back with the best view of the Big Dance in the Geelong CBD.

There’s something about heading to the pub, having a few beers and watching the grand final with mates that just can’t be put into words. Really, it’s true blue right to the end.

The AFL Grand Final is set to take over the MCG on September 30 for the ultimate showdown between Collingwood and Brisbane Lions so if you can’t snag a ticket, the next best place to watch sporting history unfold is in a local pub packed with local supporters.

Check out our list of the best bars and pubs to watch the AFL Grand Final below.

The Sporting Globe

Address: 175-177 Ryrie Street, Geelong
Vibe: Modern sports bar
Outdoor area: Outdoor beer garden 
Dedicated menu: Pub classics + bar snacks

Every year on these fine grand final days, many a fan flock to their local Sporto – and for good reason. The Sporting Globe’s grand final day celebration has all you need to catch every moment of the game with about 50 plus flat screens, an epic menu and a number of drink specials – along with the awesome game atmosphere.

Doors open from 11:30am on Grand Final Day with an all-day menu including signature wings, burgers, parmas, ribs, share platters and more. They’re also running a few Grand Final packages, including an $89 Beer Garden Package and a $149 premium beer garden package.

Geelong Hotel

Address: 69 Yarra St, Geelong
Vibe: Revamped with neons, party central
Outdoor area: Outdoor beer garden and rooftop bar
Dedicated menu: Pub classics + seaside snacks

As with many of the pubs on this list, Geelong Hotel has had many names, including the unforgettable Bended Elbow, and seen many faces. With a much needed facelift, Geelong Hotel (better known to locals as GH), is a Friday and Saturday night go to for a classic pub meal, standout cocktails, beats galore and the occasional live music act in their dedicated upstairs bandroom.

For the game, the Geelong Hotel will be open from 10:30am and will be screening the footy on all screens throughout the venue (and there’s a few!), alongside a bunch of drink specials, food specials until late and entertainment after the game from Torren Foot B2B and Airwolf Paradise.

Malt Shovel Tap House

Address: Corner Malop St & Bellerine Street, Geelong
Vibe: Laid back, Sunday arvo vibes
Outdoor area: Beer Garden
Dedicated menu: Burgers, Snacks and classic pub meals

Malt Shovel Tap House is a home for craft beer lovers. Split into multiple dining areas, including an art deco front room, a beer garden, a more intimate booth setting and a beer hall reminiscent area, Malt Shovel Tap House caters for everyone with their well rounded offering.

Whilst specialists in rotisserie meats, they have a long list of burgers, classic pub meals and sharing plates on offer. On the beer side, you can’t go past their tasting paddle to have a taste of everything on tap.

The game will be showing live both outside in the beer garden and inside throughout the restaurant this Saturday.

The Elephant and Castle Hotel

Address: 158 McKillop Street, Geelong
Vibe: Old-worth English pub
Outdoor area: Atrium
Dedicated menu: Elevated pub meals

Nestled on the eastern fringe of the City of Geelong, The Elephant & Castle Hotel has been part of the landscape in town for years now, with a history stretching back over 130 years. Owned by Geelong’s infamous Darryn Lyons, the last 20 months in and out of lockdown have truly made us appreciate the quirky, yet classic interior, the endless roster of live entertainment, the welcoming patrons and the generous pub feeds.

For the Grand Final, watch the action Live and Loud on all the big screens around the venue (beer garden and the public bar) from 2:30pm. Following the game, Totally 80s will be heading up the Grand Final After Party from 9:30pm.

The Valley Inn Hotel

Address:: 120 Fyans St, South Geelong
Vibe: Sports pub
Outdoor area: Alfresco
Dedicated menu: Classic pub meals

A well-known favourite among the locals, The Valley has something for everyone – from a state-of-the-art sports bar to alfresco dining, chef-designed menu and fresh tank beer on-site… this little gem is a go-to for footy fans.

No matter your tipple, you’ll find something refreshing to drink at The Valley thanks to an extensive wine list with a range of local and imported beers and ciders on tap. If you’re hungry there’s no stress as this place offers all-day dining from 10am right through to 8:30pm. Pick from the multiple parmis, chicken kiev, honey soy chicken wings or delicious pizza.

For the game, the footy will be on all 14 ultra high-definition screens across the venue with free sweeps, giveaways and free footy food nibbles.

The Cremorne Hotel

Address: 336 Pakington Street, Newtown
Vibe: Laid back, sports pub
Outdoor area: Small beer garden
Dedicated menu: Classic pub meals

The Cremorne is a venue that froths the footy season.

Located in the river end of Pakington Street, just a stone’s throw from GMHBA Stadium, The Cremorne is a pre and post game favourite for Geelong Cat’s fans and players, alike, and not just because it is co-owned by AFL legend Billy Brownless who is often seen chatting to locals at the bar. With great classic pub meals, cold frothies flowing, a great atmosphere and TAB and Keno facilities, The Cremorne is a local go-to spot.

There’s multiple screens, cold beer and you know the vibe will be spot on. There’s also a happy hour from 2pm – 6pm.


Address: 30 Aberdeen Street, Geelong West 
Vibe: Loud, energetic
Outdoor area: Rooftop Bar
Dedicated menu: Irish pub classics and pizza

Formerly Irish Murphy’s, Murphys has a rich history in Geelong as one of our oldest pubs. Established in 1855, this charmer is also linked to football, with the Geelong Cats Football club having originated there. It went on to become a stereotypical Irish pub that served loud live music and dancing of a night, trivia nights and a lovely Sunday lunch for the family. Murphys has since evolved into a more modern space with a gorgeous stained glass enclosed, rooftop bar showing a stunning view of Geelong, however they have not lost the original pub charm.

The game will be playing live throughout the venue with The Ferriters hitting the front bar from 6:30pm for the post-match celebrations.

The Inn Hotel

Address: 58 Corio Street, Geelong
Vibe: Mix of laid back Sunday arvo vibes and festival energy 
Outdoor area: Beer garden and marquee car park
Dedicated menu: Classic meets contemporary cuisine

The Inn Hotel has built a name for itself in recent years as the pub that brings both the local talent and Australian household names to their car park parties with DJ sets a-plenty. A quality spot for a Friday and Saturday night shuffle and a Sunday session all the same, The Inn has quality food from their seasonal menu, quality drinks (espresso martinis are a go-to!) and quality tunes.

For the big game, The Inn are throwing some solid events. There’s Game Day, which includes prime viewing of the final, roaming canapes, beer and wine on arrival, drink specials and entry to the late night grand final block party event featuring Torren Foot and Airwolf Paradise. There’s also an event ticket available which gets you access to general viewing of the game and entry to the late night block party. Head to their website for tickets.

Sawyers Arms Tavern

Address: 2 Noble Street, Geelong
Vibe: Laid back and on the upper class side
Outdoor area: Small outdoor seating area
Dedicated menu: Seasonal menu incorporating classics

Another pub in close proximity to GMHBA Stadium, Sawyers Arms Tavern has been a Geelong icon since 1850. Sawyers Arms is a stunning building that boasts exposed brick walls and a stained wood panelled bar, with high-quality cuisine to match, especially with fresh new owners coming into the fold. Their menu embraces modern Australian cuisine while retaining key dishes that have been enjoyed by the pub’s clientele for years, whilst their wine selection is curated to include both local talent and renowned bottles.

For Grand Final there will be three large screens showing the game, $12 cocktails and free sausage rolls at half time.

The Deck

Address: 2-4 Gheringhap Street, Geelong
Vibe: Chill, fun and good vibes all round
Outdoor area: Beer garden 
Dedicated menu: Classic pub meals and killer drink specials 

Since its killer makeover a couple of years ago, The Deck on Gheringhap Street has quickly become a favourite amongst locals looking for a cold beer, quality meal and decent tunes to see them through the week.

Known to host one helluva party, the crew at The Deck are getting in on the grand final action. They’re hosting a Grand Final bottomless brunch with bottomless beer, cider and cocktails from siren to siren, plus choice of parmi, burger or fish and chips. The game will be on multiple screens throughout the venue and in the beer garden so you won’t miss a beat.

Belmont Hotel

Address: 77 High Street, Belmont
Vibe: Sunday arvo breezy
Outdoor area: Rooftop Area
Dedicated menu: Fine dining meets classic pub meal

This 1920’s establishment is located at the top of town on High Street. A favourite pick as a function venue, Belmont Hotel has embraced their art-deco interior with complimentary classic pub meal meets fining dining selection and their wide cocktail range. The rooftop is the perfect spot for a Sunday session or to gather the mates to watch sport over a pint. If you love an amaretto sour, these guys do the best in town!

With a bunch of TV screens throughout the venue, you’ll be able to watch the game from any angle. The fun kicks off from 1pm for pre-match entertainment, $15 parmis from 1:30pm to 2:30pm and a happy hour running from 2:30pm to 3:30pm with $10 pints, $10 cocktails and $5 wines and sparkling. It’s free entry all day with the kitchen open and post match entertainment kicks off with a DJ from 5:30pm and live music from Jonathan Chandler from 9pm.

The Barwon Club Hotel

Address: 509 Moorabool St, South Geelong
Vibe: Time-tested and boisterous 
Outdoor area: Beer Garden 
Dedicated menu: Classic pub fare 

Another iconic live music venue, the BC is everything you love about a pub. They have long been the go-to destination for the traditional pub experience in Geelong since it was first opened in the early ’90s, and it doesn’t seem like things are slowing down.

Perfect for winding down after a long day, the beer garden offers punters a chance to escape the rush of inside – a true sign the venue is still alive – with a variety of different seating options while you enjoy your parmi or burger. Seek shelter under the Barn where large tables sit along the wall, or walk a bit further and enter an open space with considerable bench seating. With huge acts regularly playing the band room, a juke-box blasting tunes in the outdoor area and regular DJs playing inside and in the beer garden, there’s bound to be something to pique your interest whatever day of the week you choose to roll up to the BC.

For Grand Final, the game will be on the TVs throughout the venue. There will also be $10 pints siren to siren, $15 cooper jugs, 4 for $40 Jack Daniels Stubbies, $30 bottles of Mt Duneed Sparkling wine, and $20 parmi lunch special, plus some other food specials.

Eureka Hotel

Address: 98 Little Malop Street
Vibe: Relaxed and casual
Outdoor area: Garden and rooftop bar
Dedicated menu:  Pub classics

Having just opened once again, Eureka Hotel is where to go for those inner city pub vibes. With a brand-new d&b Audiotechnik P.A. system, cutting-edge lighting, and mesmerizing visuals, the Eureka Hotel is set to resurrect live music in the heart of Geelong. There are big acts on the horizon, with announcements to be made very soon. Drawing inspiration from renowned venues like The Espy and Garden State Hotel, the venue has undergone a remarkable transformation. The entire venue has been reimagined and divided into five distinct spaces, positioning it as one of the largest and most unique pubs and live music venues in Victoria. As the management puts it, “The vision is to give Geelong something that it’s been asking for.”

Eureka will be opening from 12pm on Saturday, with the game on their huge 4m HD projector in the band room and multiple TVs throughout the venue. The kitchen will be open all day, with the main, garden and rooftop bars all serving your favourite drinks. There’s also half price schooners of Furphy for the first quarter. This event is totally free, and there’s live music from Michael Hardiman from 9:30pm and DJs in the garden bar straight after the game.

Queen of the West

Address: 126 Pakington Street, Geelong West
Vibe: A nod to tradition with a modern twist
Outdoor area: Beer garden
Dedicated menu: Pub classics

Recently regaining its former title and becoming ‘The Queen of the West’, this venue i injecting new life into Pakington Street. The front bar echos the vibes of an old-fashioned pub with a contemporary edge, with live performances in the front bar, and a diverse and extensive menu will cater to all tastes, featuring pub classics that range from indulgent parmi’s and succulent steaks to juicy burgers. And for sports enthusiasts, there’s no need to compromise—large high-definition TVs will dot the bar area, ensuring that every exhilarating moment of the game is captured.

For the game, these TVs will be broadcasting the game live throughout the venue, while Luke Biscan takes on entertainment from 9:30pm in the sports bar.

Grovedale Hotel

Address: 236-258 Torquay Road, Grovedale
Vibe: Live music, craft beers and good food
Outdoor area: Garden bar
Dedicated menu: Pub classics

The Grovedale Hotel, affectionately known as ‘The Grovey’, is a cornerstone in the Geelong pub scene – known for consistently raising the bar when it comes to style, entertainment and food.

They’ll be screening the game on the TVs with live music at The Juke from 8:30pm.

Torquay Hotel

Address: 36 Bell Street, Torquay 3228
Vibe: Summer cool
Outdoor area: Outdoor beer garden
Dedicated menu: Pub classics

Whilst Torquay may be the tourist destination of choice, make the Torquay Hotel one of your local hangout choices. The Torquay Hotel has always been a cornerstone of the town, but it saw a mega revamp in recent years to take on the title of iconic live music venue. A fresh menu that consists of a classic pub menu for the public bar and beer garden whilst dialing up the fancy in the restaurant area, mammoth lineups of Australian and International artists and a vibrant community of regulars, Torquay Hotel is a treasure to our hospitality and music scene.

For the game, it will be screening on the big screen in the public bar and on the mega screen in the beer garden. There will also be DJs in the beer garden after the game with an after party featuring Loods in the band room.

Blackman’s Brewery

Address: 26 Bell Street, Torquay
Vibe: Summer beach house
Outdoor area: Beer Garden
Dedicated menu: Pizza Wagon + Burgers

A hop, skip and jump from the Torquay Hotel is Blackmans Brewing, literally placed 500 metres from the beach. This independently-owned brew company known for their colourful, in flavour and appearance, beers has created a bubbly venue to reflect their signature brand. At Blackman’s brewery, their philosophy is this: we love good beer, it’s really that simple. Here the beer is served in serving tanks and kegs about five metres from where it’s brewed and you’ll see the Brew Team doing their thing out the back.

For grand final, all three venues (Geelong and Ocean Grove too) will be screening the game with live music, food specials and all round good vibes.

Barwon Heads Hotel

Address: 1 Bridge Road, Barwon Road
Vibe: Relaxed beach vibes
Outdoor area: Dining area overlooking the beachfront
Dedicated menu: Snacks and classic pub meals

Reinvigorated to bring a more coastal touch, Barwon Heads Hotel has a bit of everything for the locals to enjoy. Catch up with friends for a drink and a light bite from their bridge bar or cocktail lounge, catch the latest live sporting event in the sports bar or dine on some fresh seasonal produce and delicious pub meals in the bistro. On the warm summer days the outdoor area is an ideal spot to hang out and inhale the delicious ocean breeze.

For Grand Final, the game will be screening in the beer garden, the public bar, bridge bar and on the big screen in the bistro.

You’ll also be able to catch the game at venues like The Sphinx, The National Hotel, Edge Geelong, Lara Hotel, Captain, and The Commo Hotel.