After the Grand Final every year, my family books a table at il Duca for the following year. Every year, Fitzroy legend Kevin Murray is eating there too, happy to take a selfie with anyone who wants to hang his Brownlow medal around their neck. The menu varies from seafood to traditional Italian meat-based meals (with enough house-made pasta options to satisfy), it’s BYO, and the staff are some of the friendliest in town.
Open until 5pm each day, if I’m wandering from the city to the ‘G on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, there’s no better place for a coffee en route. In the same building as the Fitzroy Gardens Visitor Information Centre, they make a great flat white, and won’t flinch when you request an extra shot (or two) of coffee.
Sip on a cocktail or knock back a beer while enjoying some hearty winter fare. Warm and welcoming, sitting on a stool in the window allows you to watch the world go past on Wellington Parade, and you can celebrate with a little more fanfare out the back after your team gets up.
If you’re planning a big day at the footy and you need some sustenance in your belly, Richmond Hill Cafe & Larder is a great place to start. Breakfast is served from 8:30am each day (until 3pm), and I’ll guarantee it will tide you over until at least half time during the game. They also sell cheeses and hampers both in-store and online, so (assuming they don’t get squashed in your bag at the game) you can take some for the folks back home.
Chances are if I’m meeting mates for a drink before a game at the MCG, the London Tavern will be the go-to venue. Its massive beer garden fills in the lead-up to every match, but beware – with a great dining menu, big TV screens an impressive range of beers on tap and dozens of wine options available by the glass, you might get so comfortable you’ll want to stay.