The Better Ole - Fanling, New Territories of Hong Kong

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by Rumrunner, Nov 30, 2007.

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  1. This was sent to me the other day from a mate in Australia. I thought it may be of some interest to ARRSE members.

    I have so many memories linked to this establishment from my time in Hong Kong 71/73. I lived not too far away in Dills Corner. I wonder if any others remember this famous establishment? If so, lets hear about it.

    Time for reminiscing as last orders loom at Better 'Ole Bar

    The door will close on a small piece of Hong Kong history next Sunday night - or sometime the following morning - when Cecilia Yuen Wing-kwan bids farewell to her last customers.

    "The Better 'Ole Bar and Restaurant in Fanling is set to go out in the style it became famed for in its heyday in the 1970s,with a party starting at 10pm for regulars and old friends from across Hong Kong.

    Ms Yuen, whose family has run the bar and restaurant for 50 years, will be calling last orders next week after they recently accepted an offer from developers to buy the site.

    'I think I'm going to take a long holiday,' she said.
    'I was about 11 when my dad took over the restaurant and it is full of memories. 'I'm sad to be leaving after all these years but I'm looking forward to a new stage of my life.

    'We plan to go out in style. All our customers and friends are going to pop in and we are going to have a really good party. We don't really know what we are going to do next.'

    A former soldier opened the Better 'Ole in 1947 next to the old railway station in Fanling as a watering hole for the many British regiments stationed in the area.
    Ms Yuen's family acquired it in 1962 and moved the bar and restaurant to Luen Wo Hui, where it continued to serve soldiers, as well as attracting police officers from the northern New Territories and visitors from across Hong Kong.

    The Better 'Ole, which takes its name from a first world war poster showing soldiers sheltering in a bomb crater, won a special place in the hearts of many regulars.

    One former police officer, Bob Wilkinson, opted to have his memorial service in the pub, two couples got married and numerous regimental reunion parties were held there.

    Patrick Rattigan, a solicitor, used to be taken by his father to the original Better 'Ole when he was a child. 'It is very sad to hear that it is closing down,' he said.

    'It was the only watering hole for westerners in the area for decades. I hope that someone will pick up the reins and continue the old tradition by opening a new Better 'Ole.'

    Mike Arden, of Sheung Shui, a former Royal Artillery bombardier with the 48th Gurkha's Brigade, met his wife at the Better 'Ole more than 40 years ago. She was a waitress at the bar and he was stationed at a battery in what is now a car park.

    'It is the closing of another page in Hong Kong's history and it will be sorely missed,' he said. Mick Jones, ex SAS superhero but now a hasher claims it was not his swinging bollocks display on one of the restaurant tables, one night after a NT hash, that closed the place down but Cecilia begs to differ."
    'It was the only watering hole for westerners in the area for decades. I hope that someone will pick up the reins and continue the old tradition by opening a new Better 'Ole.'

    Mike Arden, of Sheung Shui, a former Royal Artillery bombardier with the 48th Gurkha's Brigade, met his wife at the Better 'Ole more than 40 years ago. She was a waitress at the bar and he was stationed at a battery in what is now a car park.

    'It is the closing of another page in Hong Kong's history and it will be sorely missed,' he said. Mick Jones, ex SAS superhero but now a hasher claims it was not his swinging bollocks display on one of the restaurant tables, one night after a NT hash, that closed the place down but Cecilia begs to differ."
     
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  2. Aye it wouldn't sound the same - the peoples army singing 'Bonny Mary.'

    Further 'west' I think there are still a couple of old squaddie bars still operating in Nee Soon! Though I think even an ex SAS superhero would be locked up by the Singapore police nowadays for doing the dance of the flaming arrseholes in either of them. Sad!
     
  3. With reference to this article...I remember The better Ole from way back in 1950...at the time serving with the KSLI shortly before being sent to Korea
    I was in Hong Kong in December...and went to Fan Ling and found the Better Ole STILL OPEN.....I stopped and had a meal ther and a lovely pint of beer...
    Hope to go there agin later on this year....I am now 82 years old...
    Bill Griffiths

     
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  4. old_fat_and_hairy

    old_fat_and_hairy LE Book Reviewer Reviews Editor

    Holy San Mig! That was my watering hole when I was at Fan Gardens camp. My dear but departed pal, Dickie Richardson and I spent very many happy and inebriated evenings there. I even had a `friend` Mary Hui who, when hearing that myself and aforesaid buddy Dick, having got very merry there on chilled Mackeson ( nope, I don't know why either) and then taken train to Kowloon for weekend where Dick somehow lost all of our cash, came down to find us and give us some money. Lovely girl.
    The bar did good food too as: recall. One of the rather nice things about Fan Ling were the monsoon ditches which all had signs and directions written inside, either to bars or to camps. It helped after a pleasant evening of cocktails and badinage. Ok, I really mean after getting pissed on San Miguel.

    Sent from my CnM TouchPad 7 using ARRSE mobile app
     
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  5. Blimey,.........................some memories !
     
  6. Good times! I wonder where the board on the wall went with capbadges went?
     
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  7. I was in hongkong 1959/1960 doing national service with Royal Engineers at Tai Lam camp. I was a driver and one of my regular trips was to take dirty laundry to Fanling and pick up the clean stuff to take back to camp. I was used as a driving instructor and would take learner drivers on the run. We always stopped for a coffee at the Better 'ole. On the wall was a black and white copy(enlarged) of the better 'ole cartoon which I understand was drawn by a British army officer and published in a Sunday newspaper in order to cheer up the lads in the trenches.
     
  8. Still going strong in 81 - 83 when I was at HQ Gurkha Fd Force. standard meal was as much satay as you could eat, then chow fan, then soup. Plenty of San Mig. Fond memories.
     
  9. Threads such as this, rather than the Current Affairs or humour threads, will be what ARRSE will be known for in 50 years time.

    More memories please gentlemen. They need to be recorded.
     
  10. Some photos:

    image.jpeg image.jpeg image.jpeg
     
  11. old_fat_and_hairy

    old_fat_and_hairy LE Book Reviewer Reviews Editor

    Bugger, changed a bit since my time there


    Sent from my SM-G925F using Tapatalk
     
  12. What was it like old fat hairy friend?

    Tell the tales, please....
     
  13. Brotherton Lad

    Brotherton Lad LE Reviewer

    [​IMG]

    Bruce Bairnsfather:

    http://blog.maryevans.com/2013/04/the-better-ole.html
     
    • Like Like x 1
  14. old_fat_and_hairy

    old_fat_and_hairy LE Book Reviewer Reviews Editor

    The Bairns father sketch was there but as it was 1964 then everything was in black and white.

    Sent from my SM-G925F using Tapatalk
     
    • Funny Funny x 1
  15. image.jpeg
    circa 1950, I was there more recently - There's a rather nice outdoor swimming pool just up the road now.