Famed pub ready for another round

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 26 October, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 26 October, 2000, 12:00am

Hong Kong's best known British-style pub returned from the grave yesterday after being saved from closure.

The Old China Hand, in Wan Chai, which for 30 years has fuelled weary expats with beer and bacon and eggs, reopened under new management after a $2.5 million refit.

'Everything's been totally gutted. The only thing we saved were about three microwave ovens and most of the old pictures,' Bill Scott - the pub's 'prime minister' - said yesterday.

The Lockhart Road watering hole was reportedly suffering financial problems when it closed earlier this year. Mr Scott, a regular at the pub, and his management team moved in with plans to give it a cleaner and brighter look while retaining the 'charm' of the Old China Hand.

They said they wanted to lure back the regulars and attract new trade.

'We've kept the menu 80 per cent the same - we've put on a bit more British-style stuff, we've got more steaks and more beef - and we've taken away stuff that wasn't really moving,' he said. 'The chicken's still there, and we've got a few salads. It's not just a men's pub any more.'

The menu has a parliamentary theme and those in charge have given themselves political titles, with a minister for foreign affairs, an ambassador and a minister of communications.

'We've got quite a lot of backbenchers - the guys that have got involved financially,' said Mr Scott. 'We were the last British colony left in Asia so we've formed our own cabinet and we've had a political cartoonist do the menus.'

Salads appear under the minister of health's portfolio, pizzas and omelettes under foreign affairs, and meat and fish under the ministry of agriculture.

The pub officially reopened last night.


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