The Criterion Hotel in Sale is a must-see for food-and-wine-loving history buffs. Originally built in 1865 ‘The Cri,’ as this grand old lady is affectionately known, has been recognised by the Register of the National Estate as one of the largest intact nineteenth century hotels in Victoria.

Bolstered by the gold rushes in Gippsland’s mountains and ideally located on the main road to Melbourne, by the mid-nineteenth century Sale was recognised as the regional centre for Gippsland. It was in these heady times that the Criterion Hotel was developed, and soon became the place to be for a cool drink on the shady veranda, for travellers to rest their weary heads.

However, come 2006, The Criterion Hotel had closed and rapidly fallen into disrepair, with many concerned that this beautiful historic building would be demolished. Luckily, a local developer undertook a complete rebuild of the hotel, including the painstaking restoration of the heritage listed external façade and veranda.

The team at The Cri pride themselves on serving up the best of Gippsland – from the cool fresh Sailors Grave beer served in the bar, to a wine list featuring Blue Gables, Narkoojee, Lightfoot & Sons and Glenmaggie wines.

The Criterion reopened in 2013, positioning itself as a market-leading gastro pub with a simple philosophy – supporting local growers and producers.

We regard it as a personal challenge to help every guest that sets foot in “The Cri” enjoy themselves & create happy memories, as they indulge in bountiful, well executed food, premium beverages & quality service.

The kitchen celebrates the abundance of quality produce so easily accessible in our food bowl, taking every opportunity to offer up a taste Gippsland on a plate.

All the meat and seafood when possible are sourced from local butchers and fishermen, vegetables fresh from the fertile soils of surrounding farms and eggs from free range chickens of Maroubra Farm.

The Criterion Hotel changed hands in 2019, the new owners have previously ran the hugely popular Flinders Hotel and, more recently, Flying Duck Hotel in Prahran. Chad & Rex relocated to Gippsland, spying an opportunity to take the Criterion Hotel to the next level in a region that is just beginning to bloom.