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Where to find Ballarat’s best game day pub eats

Visit Ballarat

19 Mar 2024

Filed underFood & Drink

From the AFL to the A-League, Ballarat plays host to some mighty matches across the year.

We’ve crafted this pub guide with sports fans in mind, so you can find the perfect spot for a post-clash celebration/commiseration.

The focus here is on casual fare that’s easy to enjoy with friends and family.

We are pretty proud that Ballarat is kicking goals in the food game, so we’ve thrown in a few local gems and some honourable mentions that go beyond traditional pub grub.

In Ballarat, there’s a great hotel to be found around every corner, so start exploring and you just might find that perfect parma.

Looking to kick on after the Western Bulldogs vs Gold Coast Suns game on Sunday 24 March? Check out these game day deals from Itinerant Spirits, Aunty Jacks, Nolans, Saigon Allee, Kilderkin Distillery and more.


Near Ballarat Railway Station and Eastern Oval
  • The Sporting Globe Bar & Grill | This centrally-located sports bar features over 50 screens throughout the venue and private booths with touchscreens, so you won’t miss a moment of the action. There’s no less than nine different takes on the parma, along with comprehensive low-gluten and kids’ menus.
  • Aunty Jacks | A key player in the Ballarat craft drinks renaissance, this award-winning brewpub makes their own beer on site. An extensive specials board builds on a classic menu. On weekends, book in for an afternoon tour and tasting experience.
  • Hop Temple | Hidden down a photogenic umbrella-filled laneway, this chilled out beerhall showcases 220 craft beers and ciders. The menu features smoked-in house BBQ and pitmaster plates, tacos, burgers, pizza and nibbles.
  • Freight Bar & Rooftop | All the comfortable classics from carbonara to calamari, dine in or takeaway. Open until 1am Friday, Sat and Sun if you are in for the long haul.
  • Griller’s Mark | Technically a burger and grill joint, rather than a pub, but Griller’s Mark will keep the vegetarians, vegans and gluten-free folk happy amidst hearty servings of ribs, steaks and loaded thickshakes (Oreo My God, you have been warned). Opposite The Sporting Globe, so you can roll on across the road.
Aunty Jacks brewery
Central to Everything
  • The Golden City Hotel | Formerly known as “GeeCees” (the name has stuck with the locals), this heritage hotel overlooks tree-lined Sturt Street. With around 200 tables, it is one of the largest restaurants in Ballarat. Open from 8am till late seven days a week.
  • The Western Hotel | The Western is serious about sport. Seriously. This solid all-rounder on the western end of Sturt Street serves up great food all-day. There’s also a sports bar (a little bit party, a little bit old school) and budget accommodation onsite.
  • Craig’s Royal Hotel | Thought to be the oldest continuously-operating hotel in Ballarat, this grand beauty sits in the heart of the city on Lydiard Street. Offering breakfast, lunch and dinner, seven days a week, the hotel features 41 boutique rooms over multiple floors.
  • The Mallow Hotel | Cosy and friendly gastropub open for dinner four nights a week (Wednesday – Saturday). All the pub classics, plus interesting daily specials and a one of the widest selections of independent beer to be found in Ballarat.
The Mallow Hotel


Near Mars Stadium and Selkirk Stadium
  • The North Star Hotel | A grand pub within easy striking distance of Ballarat Railway Station. AFL Games are broadcast in the public bar. This is a great Sunday night pitstop for families with $5 kids meals (including soft-drink) from 4.30pm-6.30pm.
  • North Britain Hotel | A compact and delightfully local haunt in Soldiers Hill, full of taxidermy and dark wood details. Think English tavern with an all-time favourites menu.
  • Black Hill Hotel | Established in 1864, this friendly neighbourhood bar and bistro has been serving Ballarat locals for generations. Live music on Friday nights and $15 cocktails Friday-Sunday (6pm-9pm).
  • Hotel Canberra | This revamped corner hotel is far more than just another crossroads watering hole. The century-old stables have been converted into a cafe bar where you’ll find casual eats like beer battered fish, steak sandwiches and Korean chicken burgers. For a fancier post-game twist, head to Bobby’s Bar and enjoy a 2-course teaser of the degustation menu from their onsite restaurant Vesta x Jigs. Apart from the sentimental addition of Melbourne Bitter (which was namesake Bobby’s drink of choice), the beer selection ranges from Ballarat brews to interesting new creations from across the state. LGBTIQA+ friendly.


Near Lake Wendouree and City Oval
  • Ballarat Yacht Club | Casual breakfast and lunch at the water’s edge seven days a week (closes 6pm in spring/summer). The Yachty has a good selection for vegans and little tackers.
  • The Lakeview Hotel | This two-storey beauty with wrap-around verandas dates back to 1875 and offers some excellent alfresco options overlooking Lake Wendouree. Open seven days, with all-day dining and an extensive menu that is sure to please everyone.
  • The Boatshed | Sitting picture-perfect alongside the historic rowing sheds, this lakeside restaurant offers all-day dining and boasts a new sheltered deck area. Good for a date night, or for those with a taste for oysters, crab croquettes and gourmet pizzas instead of standard pub fare.
  • City Oval Hotel| Established in 1910, City Oval has long been a local favourite for a post-cricket drink. Open seven days, the menu is seasonally-focused with emphasis on Victorian produce.
The Ballarat Yacht Club


Near Morshead Park Stadium
  • The Flying Horse | Located at The Ballarat and District Trotting Club, this newly-renovated 120-seat bistro is open seven days a week. The Flying Horse features a sporting bar, kids’ play area with playground and games projector, and a dining areas overlooking the harness racing track.
  • The Royal Oak | Dating back to 1866, this South Street institution is a family-friendly option for a pub meal. With a large beer garden and fully-covered stables, it’s also dog-friendly if you happen to have the pooch in tow.  
The Flying Horse


Near White Flat Oval and Llanberris Athletics Reserve
  • The Grapes Hotel | A charming brick pub with generously-sized meals just a stone’s throw from central Ballarat. They’re very low-key on the socials, but don’t let that fool you, as this local favourite has plenty of word-of-mouth appeal.
  • The Red Lion | This Golden Point staple is open until the wee hours on weekends. With an onsite restaurant, sports bar and function space, there’s even a playground to keep the kids’ happy.
  • Golden Point Hotel | Family-owned pub opposite Sovereign Hill. The hotel features a family bistro, sports bar, kids’ party space and an extensive seniors’ menu.
The Red Lion

Main image: Hop Temple

Across Victoria’s Midwest, we acknowledge that we travel across the ancient landscapes of many First Peoples communities.

These lands have been nurtured and cared for over tens of thousands of years and we respect the work of Traditional Custodians for their ongoing care and protection.

We recognise the past injustices against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in this country. As our knowledge grows, we hope that we can learn from their resilience and creativity that has guided them for over 60,000 years.

As we invite people to visit and explore Victoria’s Midwest, we ask that alongside us, you also grow to respect the stories, living culture and connection to Country of the Ancestors and Elders of our First Peoples.