Soaring rents have forced a well-known bar in Happy Valley to call last orders this month, ending 22 years as a popular watering hole. The Chapel on Yik Yam Street will serve its last beer next Wednesday after owner Surjit Mahal was unable to renew the lease owing to a 55 per cent rent increase. He said that his rent was raised two years ago by almost 25 per cent and with profit margins shrinking in recent years, due to higher costs for food and beverages, keeping the pub open was no longer a viable option. "I would barely be breaking even and it just did not make sense any more," Mahal said. He considered reopening elsewhere but does not want to be in the same situation in two years when leases usually come up for renewal. "Rents have been going up here and turnover is high," he said, noting that two restaurants in the area - one Japanese and the other Mexican - closed after a year or two of business. "Your heart may tell you differently but your head tells you it just doesn't work," he said. The Chapel started as an Indian restaurant in 1992 and a bar was added when a group of expatriates later took it over. "Then it was taken over by a Scottish contingent. The Chapel is a very Scottish/Welsh expression - the reasoning was that you could always tell your wife if she phoned that you were in the chapel." Mahal, 48, bought the pub in 2005. "This used to be my local bar and it was going bankrupt and closing and I wanted a job so I ended up buying it," he said. The married father-of-three, who was raised in Britain and India, said the bar was "like an English pub but with a Hong Kong twist". "This place kind of serves as a communal lounge. I've made some of my best friends here and other people have too. I've been invited to numerous weddings and several funerals." Regulars even leave a set of spare house keys at the Chapel: "It's cheaper than calling a locksmith," Mahal joked. With a jukebox in one corner and a cheeky Sistine Chapel-inspired mural on the wall, the 30-seater pub has seen some memorable moments, such as an impromptu wrestling match and a game of tennis with the players stark naked. "It's great 'cause it's like having your friends at home all the time. What's the downside: it's like having your friends at home all the time," he joked. "It's funny being a pub owner because actually I hate beer, I'd much prefer a nice burgundy or a cider." A former scientist, he is now considering a career move into teaching. "I will miss it. It's nice being your own boss but I will like having my weekends back." There won't be a big party on the last night. "I've looked after people partying for nine years so for me, the last night is just a quiet night with friends." Kevin McBarron , who co-owned the Chapel from 1995 to 2005 and now runs The Canny Man in Wan Chai, said: "It's symptomatic of what's happening in Hong Kong - small, local bars and restaurants are being forced out as landlords look for big ticket money. "The Chapel was a very unique bar in Hong Kong because it was a very family-oriented place and it existed for so long because of its regular customers. It's a tragedy because it was an institution to so many people."