Time Out Melbourne

Bring your pooch and your team spirit to the best little sports pub in town 

In Melbourne, footy is a way of life. But if you’re not lucky enough to score tickets to the G, whereabouts you choose to watch the match can make or break your Sunday. Enter the Palace Hotel. It’s not the sportiest pub in the city, but for us, right now it’s the best pub overall where footy is integral to the character and culture of the venue.

You can’t miss it as you walk in: team stickers plastered on the door by loyal staff, and premiership front pages taking up whole walls of the comfy old colonial. According to the affable staff, publicans Mark Pratt, Daniel Heaphy and Jessica McGrath (all ex-Great Northern) wanted to make a place to enjoy the footy and get a decent beer. They’ve done just that with a serious craft offering to go with the Fox Sports from screens covering every angle. On tap you’ll find a heavy rotation of the likes of Hawker’s IPA, and 3 Ravens Dark Ale on the hand pump, tasting like bacon and malt vinegar.

Comforting pub classics take the lead on food, with pie of the day a flaky pastry castle atop cider-braised pork in its own rich juices, a mountain of mash and mushy peas, protected by a moat of cinnamon-perfumed gravy. Lovingly laundered towels lining the bar top have the texture of a security blanket, and eating this food, elbows propped on this bar, is as comforting as a nuzzle from your dog, who’s more than welcome to join you in the beer garden.

There are pub-style sports here too, with a pool table, a darts board, and of course footy tipping. The staff might even have a crack at inter-pub cricket, but by their own admission do better at sledging than at the crease. You’re unlikely to find any actual sports stars here, and that’s part of the charm. This is a place for the folks that would rather enjoy footy with a pint, not a ball in their hand, and their feet not in boots but cosy by the roaring fire. Play on.

Updated on 1 Jul 2015.

By Fred Siggins   |  

The Palace Hotel: South Melbourne details

505 City Rd, South Melbourne 3205

Telephone 03 9682 3177

Price per person including drinks $51 to $100

Open Daily noon-1am

The Palace Hotel: South Melbourne website

The Palace Hotel: South Melbourne map

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