Kirra Beach Hotel regular Malcolm Roberts, 89, found the best way to avoid drink-driving fines — by living above the landmark pub, enjoying multi-million-dollar views of the Gold Coast’s famous surf break.
For nine years he lived in his local watering hole, and loved every moment.
But Mr Roberts has moved out, and heavy machinery is moving in, to demolish the 65-year-old Kirra hotel, making way for a $380 million upmarket redevelopment.
The KTQ group will build a complex housing 198 luxury apartments and 78 hotel rooms with a rooftop bar and a retail precinct.
There have been many parties, debates, singalongs and whale watching with beers in hand over the years, but come Sunday the doors will shut for the last time.
Like Malcolm, Brian Wise moved to Kirra a decade ago and found a second home at the pub.
“It is the friendliest pub. They really made me feel welcome. I have never wanted to drink anywhere else,” Mr Wise said.
Mr Wise lives by himself but is not one to drink at home.
“If I just sat here looking at four walls all day I’d go mad,” he said.
The pub has had strong rugby league links over the years and publican Greg Hodge encouraged raffles to support sporting clubs, including the golf club and the Kirra Surfriders Club.
“You come home Friday afternoon with a meat tray under your arm. You are a little bit late but the missus loves you still,” he said.
The weekly raffles of four meat trays have proved integral in supporting junior surf riders.
The money has been used to send them to the Surfing Australia High Performance Centre at Casuarina.
“Some of the parents are struggling with entry fees for contests and titles. The club tries to chip in as much we can to help with that too,” Mr Sheehan said.
“We are looking forward to going back to the new hotel when it is done,” he said.
They are searching for somewhere else to do their fundraising in the interim.
“I feel sad to see the old pub go.”
The patrons fiercely defend the pub’s dress code. High-vis work clothes, shorts and thongs are the norm.
“It’s a working man’s pub,” Mr Sheehan said, and sounded a warning to the developers.
The old pub was riddled with concrete cancer and asbestos, but Mr Hodge said he would make sure some things escaped the wrecking ball.
“We are keeping a lot of the memorabilia — it is going to go into the new pub,” he said.
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