According to the Australian Hotels Association annual awards, one Canberra pub provides a game-day sporting experience that outdoes them all. Since they first opened in 2015, The Dock has won the best sporting entertainment venue award every year.
It’s perhaps unsurprising considering two former Wallabies, Ben Alexander and Scott Fardy, feature in their ownership group.
“We like to see ourselves as a real community pub and want to celebrate all things sport, and that’s all codes of footy, and then when Australia is representing at the Olympics or World Cups,” owner/operator at The Dock Glen Collins said.
“We don’t want to be seen as a league pub or a union pub; we want to be across all sports – men’s and women’s.”
Glen proudly proclaims that the pub puts on a “really good show”, with promotions around game day, live commentary and dressing the pub in team colours just part of the experience. He believes The Dock “is the next best thing” to being at the game.
The Dock makes an effort to show every game of Brumbies, Raiders and even Canberra’s adopted AFL team, the GWS Giants. Glen says it “was always the direction” they wanted to take the venue.
The Dock also sponsors several local sporting teams and clubs, including the Queanbeyan Kangaroos, the Federal Golf Club, the Batemans Bay Seahawks, and the Running for Resilience group.
“I see sport as integral to staying healthy and fit and creating a sense of community,” Glen said, “and that aligns with our business model.”
While the Brumbies and Raiders would bring a packed crowd to the pub at one time, Glen has noticed a drop in local support for the Brumbies. However, The Dock is optimistic that they may see a “return to the glory days” following the competition’s major structural changes at the beginning of this year.
As for The Dock, they’re looking forward to reasserting themselves as Canberra’s home of sport and witnessing the return of their mad sports fans as the pandemic – hopefully – comes to an end.
“Coming out of COVID, we just can’t wait to see that big crowd for the big games return to the pub and the pub to have that atmosphere back,” Glen said.
“Now that we don’t have any real restrictions inside or out, we feel like people will be keen to get back and support the footy at the pub.”
The Brumbies’ next game will be against the Western Force on Friday night (25 March), and the Raiders play the Gold Coast Titans on Saturday night (26 March).