- Gold Coast Bulletin
- February 01, 2014
GOLD Coast pubs, clubs and bars are refusing to admit patrons with visible tattoos in the wake of the State Government’s war on bikies.
While many venues have had “no tattoo” policies in place for years, revellers say operators have only started enforcing the rule in the past few months.
Some feel they are being victimised and stereotyped for their innocent and colourful body art.
One man reported having to show the back of his neck to gain entry to a Helensvale pub, while others are being forced to keep their sleeves down if they have tattoos on their forearms.
The crackdown has resulted in a booming business for convenience stores selling skin-coloured stockings.
Surfers Paradise resident Dave Knejfl, 21, said he had noticed a significant change across Glitter Strip venues.
“Sometimes they don’t really care but in the last few months I’ve had to cover up all my tattoos,” Mr Knejfl said.
“I usually wear a long-sleeve shirt to get inside the club but now I can’t take it off if it’s hot.
“Security asks me to put a shirt on or to get out.”
The popular Stingray Lounge at QT Hotel in Surfers Paradise is one of the venues enforcing a ban on visible tattoos.
A spokesman said: “Due to liquor licensing regulations, management further request that no prominent markings are visible.
“Management reserves the right to refuse entry.”
Melba’s marketing manager Mark Wilkins said Gold Coasters were so heavily tattooed the policy was impossible to enforce.
“Every second person’s got a tattoo and most are quite heavily tattooed these days so it’s a really tricky thing when there’s plenty of people effected by it,” Mr Wilkins said.
“Melba’s has traditionally had an absolute zero tolerance policy but that’s not a realistic policy to have these days.”
FIX cocktail bar at the Hilton Surfers Paradise has a more relaxed policy, allowing in drinkers with popular “sleeve” tattoos.
But bar manager Jack Connor said security refused entry to people with face and neck tattoos as the ink was often associated with members of outlaw motorcycle clubs.
“A lot of bikies do have those tattoos on their face and neck and it is mainly because when other patrons in the bar see someone with neck tattoos and face tattoos they do become a bit uncomfortable,” he said.
Surfers Paradise Licensed Venues Association president David Barnes said he was unaware of a specific crackdown.
He said Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach licensed venues had agreed two years ago to bar people with visible tattoos.
Police said they were not pressuring venues to enforce tattoo bans and their focus was on criminal motorcycle gang markings.