Coogee Bay Hotel: Harsh on those who compliment police officers on their uniforms. Picture: Sam Ruttyn
Coogee Bay Hotel: Harsh on those who compliment police officers on their uniforms. Picture: Sam Ruttyn

Pub bans woman for chatting up policeman

POPULAR Coogee Bay Hotel is reviewing its exclusions policy after patron Heidi Lucas, who drunkenly complimented a police officer six years ago, was "banned for life".

The hotel's new operations­ manager Mitch Rose said he was going through "piles of paperwork" dating back years, after Ms Lucas complained she was still unable to drink there.

Despite not being given any formal notice that she was banned, Ms Lucas said she was asked to leave any time she entered the hotel.

"It's humiliating and insulting … in front of my friends," the aged care worker said.

Mr Rose said he was reviewing "hundreds" of bans: "We don't want people­ barred who don't deserve to be, we want Coogee Bay Hotel to remain a friendly place."

Ms Lucas admitted she'd had a little too much to drink when she complimented a police officer­ on his pristine uniform as he patrolled the busy pub six years ago, but did not think it would raise an eyebrow.

Within minutes of walking away, however, she says she was ejected by four security guards and warned she was putting the licensee at risk of a hefty fine.

 

Heidi Lucas can't go to the Coogee pub after the incident several years ago. Picture: Jenny Evans
Heidi Lucas can't go to the Coogee pub after the incident several years ago. Picture: Jenny Evans

 

 

She didn't go back for three years because she was ashamed - but didn't expect that she would continue to be kicked out years later, and told by a guard "you've been barred for life".

"I can't drink at the Coogee Bay Hotel any more because I told a police officer I liked his uniform and admitted I was a little drunk - they've never forgotten it," the 42-year-old said.

"You'd think I'd glassed someone … or been completely plastered every time, but I was only ever drunk there that once. Now whenever the head security officer spots me, he sends two or three bouncers to turf me out."

Ms Lucas said one bouncer also told her: "You should know this place is dead to you."

"I've never been served any written notice. I complained to the manager six months ago and he agreed it sounded 'excessive' … but I've heard nothing back."

 

Heidi Lucas: “You’d think I’d glassed someone.” Picture: Jenny Evans
Heidi Lucas: “You’d think I’d glassed someone.” Picture: Jenny Evans

 

The Liquor Act 2007 dictates that landlords can eject or refuse entry to anyone who is repeatedly drunk, violent, disorderly, or quarrelsome for up to six months, and extend that ban for a further six months. Formal notification must be served on patrons for longer bans imposed at the licensee's discretion.

Mr Rose said meetings had been scheduled with the pub's security team of 10 years to review existing bans.

"Six years sounds excessive but Ms Lucas is on the top of our pile of complaints from people who feel they have been unfairly barred," he said. "I'm not going to apologise for what happened six years ago because I wasn't there, I will however apologise for not getting back (to her) within six months."



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