A blind man and his guide dog were barred from an Australian restaurant after a waiter thought the dog was gay.

A tribunal last week heard that Ian Jolly, 57, was told to leave the Adelaide restaurant Thai Spice in May last year after a staff member mistook his guide dog Nudge for a “gay dog”.

Restaurant owners Hong Hoa Thi To and Anh Hoang Le told the hearing that the waiter had misheard Mr Jolly’s partner Chris Lawrence when she asked to bring a guide dog on to the premises.

The waiter reportedly heard Ms Lawrence to say she “wanted to bring a gay dog into the restaurant”.

A statement from the owners said: “The staff genuinely believed that Nudge was an ordinary pet dog which had been desexed to become a gay dog.”

Despite the restaurant having a sign welcoming guide dogs and Mr Jolly producing a guide dogs fact card, they were still barred from eating.

The Equal Opportunity Tribunal conciliation hearing ordered Thai Spice to pay the couple AUS$1,500 in compensation and the restaurant also agreed to make a written apology to Mr Jolly and attend a diversity training course.

Mr Jolly told the Sunday Mail: “It gives you some comfort that Equal Opportunity is there.

“But I always have that fear now, when I go out.

“I just want to be like everybody else and be able to go out for dinner, to be left alone and just enjoy a meal.”