Queensland’s liquor licensing laws have created a “nightmare” for the owners of a Brisbane bar after bouncers were forced to turn away the future king of Denmark.
Aimed at curbing alcohol and drug-fuelled violence, the new laws require venues open past midnight in Queensland’s safe night precincts to scan IDs after 10.00pm.
A stunned Crown Prince Frederik, who is married to Australian-born Princess Mary, was only let into the Jade Buddha on Friday night after the Queensland Police Service’s dignitary protection unit convinced security they could permit the royal to enter without breaking the law.
Prince Frederik is reportedly in Brisbane ahead of the Hamilton Island Race Week yachting regatta.
Prince Frederik ‘seemed to be a very nice guy’
Jade Buddha co-owner Phillip Hogan said the state’s ID scanning regime presented publicans with a nightmare.
“The crown prince turned up and he had dignitary protection unit officers with him, but they were plain-clothed,” he said.
“The officers refused to allow security to check the Crown Prince’s ID, and they would not say who he was. They said they were police and it all seemed very irregular given the law is we have to scan people.
“The security guys were doing all the talking, but to be fair to the Prince he seemed to be a very nice guy.
“He must have been keen to go there, because he went away and came back 15 minutes later.”
‘If you’re not Prince Frederik, you don’t hear about it’
After a Google search of the prince, confirmation the officers were actually police and a phone call to liquor licensing, everyone was allowed in.
“With all the best intentions of lawmakers it’s a ridiculous law,” Mr Hogan said.
“We’re dealing with it all the time with normal people without ID, and if you’re not someone like Prince Frederik you don’t hear about it.
“The authorities have threatened us to the nth degree if we do break a law.”
A similar incident occurred at the Gresham, one of Brisbane’s most upmarket cocktail bars.
Gresham manager Ryan Lane said called the laws “embarrassing” after the club was forced to turn away a group of French winemakers, aged between 40-65 years old, who were not carrying identification in July.
“They ticked every single box to enter our venue, except for the fact that two of them didn’t have their passport on them, so they’re not going to break up a group — so they all left.”
But Mr Lane said knocking back a prince trumped his dozen French winemakers, however it also highlighted an inconsistency in the laws.
“But it seems a little bit funny that Liquor and Gaming Regulation can turn around and just bend the law because it’s a crown prince,” he said.
“I mean I understand he’s a very important person, but what’s to stop me now calling up Liquor and Gaming Regulation and saying, ‘I’ve got John out here, and do you mind if I just let him in cause I’m going to vouch for him.'”
Mr Lane conceded it would have been a tricky situation with Crown Prince Frederik.
Brett Fraser from Brisbane Marketing said it is an ongoing issue.
“It’s certainly not a good look for our city when people regardless of who they are go for a night out and can’t get it.”
He described the problem of balancing security has been difficult.
“We do a lot of work to position Brisbane as a destination of choice and headlines like that certainly don’t help us.
The State Government said in a statement there were no planned changes to the laws.