The Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) will fill with 100,000 eager football fans this September when the Australian Football League (AFL) Grand Final takes place on 30 September 2017. With half of the top eight teams hailing from interstate at the time of writing, our bet is that at least one of the teams striving for the Premiership will enter stage left, bringing with it plane-loads of fans in search of places to eat, drink and be merry before and after the game.
Located within the urban-cool inner-city neighbourhood of Richmond, the MCG is only a stone’s throw from some of the city’s best eating, drinking and shopping destinations.
Read on to discover where to play.
Richmond is brimming with an array of dining establishments that will satisfy any craving. Affordable Mexican can be found at Fonda, out-of-this-world Japanese at Minamishima, modern Italian at Baby, Korean cuisine at Kong and Asian-Australian at Anchovy. Just opened, The Modern Eatery specialises in sushi served Aburi-style and socially responsible diners can head to Feast of Merit, where the proceeds go towards Y-Generation Against Poverty (YGAP)’s initiatives.
Top Paddock is one of the city’s most popular day-time dining destinations and is a prime place for a pre-match brunch. Top-quality fare and a cosy cafe environment can also be found at Touchwood, Pillar of Salt and Friends of Mine. Meanwhile, health fiends will have a field day at Serotonin, where the menu is plant based and designed to release the good-for-your-brain chemical, serotonin.
Aptly named, The Precinct Hotel is a top spot for a post-match beverage, located just a short walk from the city’s sporting precinct. If it hits capacity however, queues can form around the block. Avoid the wait and head to another equally worthy watering hole. The Bridge Hotel, Royal Saxon and Prince Alfred Hotel are all classy takes on the classic pub, with good food and a buzzing vibe.
The Corner Hotel is one of Melbourne’s most preeminent live music venues - the ideal destination to catch a gig, or relax on its recently-opened rooftop. If a more intimate affair is in order, The Collection, Saint Urban and The Posty are the picks of the pack with extensive drinks lists and a welcoming atmosphere, while Slowbeer is a one-stop-shop for the finest craft beer around.
Bargains abound on Bridge Road, known for its discount stores. Two of Melbourne’s most-loved designers, Gorman and Alannah Hill have outlets here, as do high street brands Country Road, Witchery, Bardot, Review and Bonds.
But it’s not all about fashion. Richmond is a go-to destination for the latest in interior design and homewares. Lily and the Weasel is worth a look for gifts and locally designed wares, Jardan showcases the latest in Australian interior design, Mark Douglas' glassware is bursting with colour and the mostly-online Hunting for George opens its showroom every Friday and Saturday.
Game-goers need look no further for a place to rest than 381 Cremorne, just a 10 minute walk from from the MCG. These five-star boutique serviced apartments opened last year and offer one, two and three bedroom options. It is sure to book out ahead of game-day, so booking in advance is recommended.
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