‘Trust me, I’m a vicar’, says clergyman as he is refused entry to an Ipswich bar for wearing sandals

Revd. Andrew Dotchin who was refused entry to The Wine Bar because he was wearing sandals.

Revd. Andrew Dotchin who was refused entry to The Wine Bar because he was wearing sandals.

An Ipswich vicar’s mission to celebrate the end of Lent with a night out in town hit a brick wall when a doorman turned him away over health and safety fears.

Revd. Andrew Dotchin who was refused entry to The Wine Bar because he was wearing sandals.

Revd. Andrew Dotchin who was refused entry to The Wine Bar because he was wearing sandals.

Reverend Andrew Dotchin, the vicar for Whitton Parish Church, was refused entry to The Wine Bar, in Tacket Street, because he was wearing sandals.

“I was gobsmacked,” the renowned reverend said. “I think the man on the door was having a rough night.”

“He said it was on health and safety grounds because their drinks are in glass bottles, and one could break and hurt my toe.”

The clergyman tried to explain that he was prepared to take the risk, but the doorman was not budging.


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“I said ‘trust me I am a vicar’ and I was wearing the dog collar,” he said. “It’s their loss, I wasn’t going to go in and tell everyone to go to hell or anything.”

Rev Dotchin refused to be put off, and instead spent the evening at Revolution in the Old Cattle Market.

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The avid sandal wearer revealed it is not the first time it has happened.

“I am infamous for only ever wearing sandals because I find socks devilish,” he said. “It’s a bit of a giggle really and occasionally it happens. In golf clubs I don’t get served in sandals but women do. It’s silly really.”

The reverend shared his experience on his Facebook page over the bank holiday weekend, describing the incident as “hilarious” and his parishioners instantly came out in support with dozens commenting and liking his post.

Following the incident, the Wine Bar has backed its decision to decline entry on the basis of the safety risk posed by open shoes.

Manager Luke Parkerson, said: “Unfortunately it’s because we are a glass-led venue, a lot of venues in Ipswich use glass substitutes now.

“All it would take is someone to drop a glass on an exposed foot, that was our concern. It has happened once before and I am very aware of it, and don’t want anyone to have it again.

“My door team dealt with it and it’s just a shame I wasn’t able to have a word with the gentleman personally.”

The reverend has vowed to return to the venue and said: “I have been in [The Wine Bar] before and it’s a lovely place. I will go back again and hopefully they will let me in.

“It’s very tight on numbers and it can get really busy, so I imagine the door staff are more closed off, but they are just doing their job.”

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