Posted on Friday, 31ˢᵗ May, 2024

In a recent article, we unearthed the secrets of a crowd-pleasing pub. These are venues that are wildly successful at drawing in patrons to watch live sport or to soak up the pre and post-match atmosphere.

A common theme of these go-to pubs and clubs is a focus on food that is shareable, easy to eat and meets the needs of a diverse range of diets. Many of these venues have a dedicated game-day menu, where meals are curated to accompany beverages and suit the stand-and-hold nature of big-screen sports events.

Game-day menus are a staple of British and American pubs and bars, but have only just begun to find popularity in Australia and New Zealand.


Footy crowds have the potential to be very lucrative. Whether stopping by your venue for a pre-game meetup, post-siren get-together, or to watch the game in full on your venue’s big screen, having a legion of fans descend on your venue creates a great opportunity to do good business.

One way to increase your pub's appeal to footy fans is to establish a dedicated ‘game-day’ menu.

If your venue is close to a stadium, the game-day menu might consist of small but hearty dishes that are quick to serve and meet the needs of supporters who have dropped in prior to attending the big game. Elsewhere, the game-day menu could include a focused set of pub classics, comfort foods, and grazing platters that satisfy the fans who are watching the game in your venue.

Creating and promoting a game-day menu tells footy fans you’re embracing the spirit of the event and have thought hard about the kind of food that will complement their game-day experience. 

A Game-Day Menu

The benefits of a game-day menu include:

  1. Profitability. In a venue that’s crowded with footy fans, the chances of successfully selling sit-down meals are reduced. Instead, venues might enjoy more sales with a stand, hold, and eat menu. Worried about reduced margins? While COGS, as always, need to be carefully calculated, the likes of simple potato-based dishes, nachos, and burgers have the potential to offer excellent margins.

  2. Simplicity. The bloated menus of the past have been replaced by a leaner range of dishes, and a game-day menu offers kitchens another opportunity to simplify their back of house operations. A focused menu of, say, eight to ten core dishes is easier to execute and gets food into the hands of footy fans faster.

  3. Compatibility. A game-day menu that’s fit for purpose will be loaded with handheld fare and will pair effortlessly with a pub’s drinks menu. A well-planned game-day menu will play its part in capturing the atmosphere of being at the game, adding meaningfully to the in-venue experience.

Darling & Co, Paddington, Queensland. A centrally located venue that comes alive for sporting fixtures and is a favourite of footy fans. Share dishes, burgers, and pizzas are the backbone of its game-day menu, with highlights including bruschetta bites, halloumi chips, a smashed Angus beef burger, and a charcuterie board.

The Wade, Silverdale, New Zealand. Sports fans are satisfied at The Wade by a game-day menu that’s big on sharing. A bar platter features samosas, spring rolls, prawn twisters, and more, while its easy-to-handle fare includes buffalo wings, loaded wedges, and curly fries.

Artie’s, Bondi Junction, New South Wales. This rugby-focused sports bar offers classic sport-lovers fare on its game-day menu, including nachos, loaded chips, salt and pepper calamari, a selection of traditional pizzas, and burgers.

The Paddo Tavern, Paddington, Queensland. Being close to Suncorp Stadium, the game-day menu of this iconic Brisbane pub caters as much for the sit-down crowd eating before the game as it does for those watching on the big-screen. Highlights include the Guinness pie, bangers and mash, a traditional parmy and the Paddo burger.

Edwin’s, Melbourne, Victoria. It’s handheld heaven at this central meeting place, with footy fans indulging in a game-day menu that features beef and chicken burgers, no-fuss pizzas, wedges, jalapeño and cheese bites, loaded fries, and nachos. Edwin’s also meets the needs of footy fans who attend games by opening three hours before the bounce.


The perfect game-day dish could be described as being at the intersection of comfort, easy-to-handle, and pairing perfectly with beer. Consider this list of MVPs when it comes to designing the ultimate game-day menu for your venue:

  • Tacos, nachos, loaded chips and wedges
  • Sliders, burger, rolls, wraps, sandwiches and subs
  • Bites, croquettes, poppers and wings
  • Pies, pastries, sausage rolls, hot dogs and bratwurst sausages
  • Pizza, antipasto and cheese boards
Find out more about HELLMANN’S FOOTY FEEDS