The Criterion Hotel
Monday - Friday 11:00am -10:00pm
Sat - 10:00am till late
Sun - 10:00am - 10:00pm
3 Tyne St, Oamaru
03 434 6247
First established in 1877, The Criterion has recently re-emerged in her original form as a classic pub and hotel. Come for a drink, a meal or even stay the night - this Oamaru gem will transport you to a different time altogether.
Proprietors, Marise and Herbert, have lovingly restored The Criterion to reflect her past as closely as possible (save for the illicit elements that speckle Oamaru’s history). A look around the bar alone is a chance to learn a bit more about this town.
On tap at The Criterion you’ll find the staples like Speights and Emersons alongside boutique beers from neighbouring business, Craftworks. The Criterion’s guest tap is always changing but focuses on Otago pours and the wine list similarly showcases the Waitaki’s best.
The menu keeps things simple yet delicious – exactly as pub fare should be. They’ve got all the classics like bangers and mash, a seafood platter, cheerios and T-sauce plus a traditional English breakfast for overnight guests. The food is hearty here, designed to go with great beer. The Criterion even has their own “Cri Pie”, developed by yet another local business, Harbour Street Bakery.
Upstairs you’ll find six cosy rooms for rent that are similarly welcoming and reflective of a bygone era. Marise and Herbert have been “collecting Victorian era relics for years for this exact moment.” They’re happy to share the stories behind them all so just ask - their passion for preserving the stories that The Criterion has to tell is infectious. As they put it, “we’re just custodians of this building, nurturing and bringing her back to life.”
Words by Olivia Sisson & Photography by Nancy Zhou
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