YE Gods! Is this the end of civilisation as we know it? One of Hong Kong's most enduring culinary and social landmarks, the Godown bar and restaurant, may soon be taking last orders - for good. Spiralling rent looks set to force mine host Bill Nash to pull down the shutters at his famed hostelry that has been an acclaimed fixture in this town for 27 years. At present Nash pays $120,000 a month rent for the Admiralty premises. But the landlord is pushing to increase it to $280,000. ''It is just impossible,'' said an exasperated Nash. ''People tell me to increase prices but how much can you expect customers to pay? ''Overheads have already pushed up the price of a pint to $30. Will customers be willing to pay $50? That's how much we'll have to charge to cover the rent increase.'' The present lease comes up for renewal in two months' time, and the landlord had originally wanted $300,000 but dropped this by $20,000. Added Nash: ''We simply can't afford to stay open and do business at a loss. And relocation is also out of the question since we would be buying into a rising market.'' Businessman Nash founded the Godown during the gloomy days of the Cultural Revolution - then paying a monthly rental of $9,000 - on a site now occupied by the Ritz-Carlton where it remained for 21 years. The Godown moved to its present location in 1988 for a rental of $80,000, with re-negotiations three years later hiking it to $120,000. Apart from Nash, another Godown legend is doorman Chia Wen-ping. He has been with the establishment since it opened in 1967 and hasn't taken a day off work since. As Nash sadly concludes: ''I'm afraid it's the end of an era.''