Two armed robbers knocked a Lake Cathie licensee unconscious after forcing him to open the tavern safe last night.
The two men, wearing dark-coloured hoodies and carrying a large knife and iron bar, confronted the 26-year-old licensee as he walked to his car after closing the hotel on Ocean Drive just after 9pm yesterday.
They demanded he unlock the premises and forced him to open the safe. He was then knocked unconscious.
The victim woke up a short time later to discover cash had been stolen.
The tavern is now a crime scene and specialist forensics officers will examine it today.
Local detectives are appealing for public assistance as they continue their inquiries.
Anyone who witnessed the incident or any suspicious activity in the vicinity of the Ocean Drive tavern is urged to contact Port Macquarie police station or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.