Walking Distance to Etihad Stadium: About 70 metres
When I first moved to the city, this shed was home to many infamous college parties. Recently it’s transformed into a more refined gastropub, and when you combine its waterfront location with its proximity to Etihad Stadium, it’s hard to beat for a drink and a reasonably-priced meal before the first bounce.
Harbour Esplanade, Docklands
Walking Distance to Etihad Stadium: 150 metres
A favourite if I’m meeting friends before a Friday night game, Platform 28 is also perfectly positioned for a spot of lunch before a Saturday afternoon match at Etihad. With two outdoor terraces that are protected from the elements, you can stay warm before heading up a flight of stairs to the big game.
82 Village Street, Docklands
Walking Distance to Etihad Stadium: 600 metres
When you’re gearing up for an afternoon or evening match or event at Etihad, a fulfilling Japanese meal at Purple Peanuts is hard to beat. The sushi is top-notch and generous meals like the tsuke don (marinated salmon sashimi served with vinegared rice salad) start at around $10, although my personal favourite is the kakuni don (braised pork belly). It can get busy with a work lunch crowd during the week, but it’s a hidden gem right near Southern Cross Station. Closed Sundays, but open until 8:30pm so it’s also perfect for a post-match feed before you jump on a V/Line train or coach home.
20/620 Collins Street
Walking Distance to Etihad Stadium: 900 metres
The first time I came here for lunch, my friend entered a competition and won a snowboard. Luckily for him, he’s a Melbourne supporter so he doesn’t mind if he’s up at the snow during the footy season. If you’re in town for a match, or are just looking for a tasty meal during your time in Melbourne, Henry & The Fox do a great weekend brunch menu (‘til 3pm), and they’re open until 10pm on Friday and Saturday nights too. It’s a good location; in the heart of the city and an easy walk to Etihad.
525 Little Collins Street
Walking Distance to Etihad Stadium: 1.2 kilometres
Who said you can’t watch a game of footy and not enjoy some riverside hospitality at the same time? Nobody, that’s who. Fill up on bratwurst, a stein of amber nectar and some live German music before working some of it off as you cross the Yarra River. This stroll usually takes you through Docklands Park, but this footy season I’m looking forward to taking a detour over the Seafarers Bridge, one of the newest bridges to link the north and south banks of the Yarra.
45 South Wharf Promenade, South Wharf