Hong Kong Bar Penang

7th August 2006, 22:46
I only arrived at Penang once, anchored in the river. This was on the Barber Memnon in 1982(?). Amongst other bars (He - He, "You should turbo wash those lungs"!) we visited the Hong Kong Bar in Chulia St. There were pictures of Blueys all along the wall and when I told the staff that we were on a Blue Flue, they got out a big book and asked us to sign.

I remembered that my father had been delayed and that his wedding was put off a week. I did a quick calc and asked for the registries from around the date that I supposed he was in Penang and did indeed find my Father's signature.

I know that Blue Funnel was important for the Hadj and the story of the Sultan chartering a vessel. Does anyone else remember the Hong Kong Bar? I still have my rather dillapidated T-shirt! This bar was popular with the Aussie soldiers too.


7th August 2006, 23:29
Remember it well -visited there regularly between 1956 and 1965 before swallowing the anchor. Other places of note in Penang were Green Parot and E & O Hotel.


Ex Bluey!

8th August 2006, 07:46
Remember the HongKong bar very well and spent many a Happy Hour slurping Tiger. Didn't the girls have Photo Albums going by the Year?? If you Google for it you will find a few Photo's..................pete

8th August 2006, 17:20
The only bars that I remember in Penang during my Blue Flue days (1952/1956) were the "Piccadilly" and the "City Lights".


9th August 2006, 05:37
Me too, back in the late forties. And Blue Funnel was known as The China Boats - at least among Merseysiders and Welshmen. Blue Flu is a later adoption, I think.

9th August 2006, 15:30

I joined Ocean in December 79 as an Engineer Cadet. By this time, by and large, there were no Blue Funnel boats coming into Birkenhead. I am originally from Wallasey and I was third generation Blue Funnel. My father sailed on and referred to the China Boats. By the start of the eighties, there were basically only the ED boats coming into Liverpool for the West Africa run. I think that it was the swift shift to containers that did for Vittoria Dock and Odyssey Works for that matter. Who can forget the bridges being up and trying to see what ship was arriving. Its all gone now, but that is what this site is about, nostalgia!

Referring to my original posting, does anyone remember signing the register in the HK Bar?


Graham McCombie
20th October 2008, 14:20
Remember it well and still have the photos to proove it. I went to Penang on the Bellerephon and Stentor then latterly the Phemius between 1971 and 1978. They kept records of all the vessels that entered the port as far as I recall and could tell you when other company vessels had been in port. Do you know if the place is still in existence Cheers Graham McCombie

20th October 2008, 14:41
Yes I remember it as well but did not get a drink in there because the chief steward told me to go out side,I was only 17 at that time,Later on the Pealeus I was old enough to have a drink but I remember the Straits Cabaret had a great dance band and a girl singing group Tony Allen

20th October 2008, 14:49
Forgot to mention that my dad ex docker always refered to the china boats never blue flue or funnel and told me I was lucky to join them, he worked at Gladstone so new all their names

21st October 2008, 03:31
My Dad also referred to the "China Boats". Alas, when I joined the then "Ocean Fleets" the China boats were no more. I was on the last "traditional" run on the Phrontis on my first trip, although that turned out to be only half a voyage. The rest of my time was on Barber Blue Sea - The M boats did the more traditional ports on this run.

21st October 2008, 06:15
I get down to Penang fairly regularly. The E&O Hotel is still there. Chulia Street & Penang Road are now havens for back packers, tourists and locals alike. Chulia St is where all the old 'Chinese' style shops, cheap hotels and the 'Hong Kong Bar' are situated. I'll be back in Penang early December for a few days so will have a wander down and if I remember post a description of how it is in 2008.

Tai Pan
21st October 2008, 10:46
Remember it well -visited there regularly between 1956 and 1965 before swallowing the anchor. Other places of note in Penang were Green Parot and E & O Hotel.


Ex Bluey!

City lights Trev. [=P]

21st October 2008, 12:03
Hells Bells, the Hong Kong bar on Chulia Street must have dozen photo's of me in their albums. Was privileged enough to be invited into the back room to eat with Mama and Papa san on 2 or 3 occasions. Great times............pete

10th December 2008, 06:06
Was in the Hong Kong Bar last Saturday and Sunday sampling a few bottles of Tiger. Peter who took over from his father in 1953 is still there and a good conversationalist. Unfortunately in 2004 the bar caught fire and was severely damaged and a lot of the memorabilia including the famous guest books were destroyed. The bar has been rebuilt and I took some photos which I will put up when I get the camera back from the wife.

10th December 2008, 20:30
VTR, that is sad news about the Guest Books. The last time I was there I was looking at myself 10 years younger. Frightening I know but it certainly bought back the memories...................................pete (Thumb)

Pat Kennedy
10th December 2008, 20:43
The first time I was in Penang, in January 1959, there was a familiar looking ferry boat plying back and forth across the bay. It was an ex Mersey Ferry, but I cant remember which one. does anyone know?

11th December 2008, 04:48
Added three photos in the 'Port, Docks and Harbours' gallery.

Sorry, don't know how to put the link in.

20th December 2008, 19:29
Back in 1991 my wife and I stumbled across the Hong Kong bar whilst travelling though Malasia. I had no idea about the significance of the place until I idly picked up one of the visitors books and realised, after reading various entries from Blue Flu crews, that we where in the very bar I remember my father telling me about when I was young. He served with Holts from middy to Master until his untimely death in 1972 (I was 15) [I] searched a number of the photo albums but could not find my Dad. At that time they still took photos of all visitors, and I added a note in the visitors book. Sadly the poignent/funny/irreverant notes & cartoons from British merchant seaman had been replaced by crass (and often crude) scribble from various backpackers.

31st December 2008, 18:17
Honk Kong bar brings back memories of smiling drunkenly for the camera! And memories of rickshaw races back to the boat.
There used to be a tale that the big clock in Penang Town Hall was identical to the one in Birkenhead Town Hall and that they had been accidentaly mixed up so each got the others. Anyone know if it was true.

31st December 2008, 23:40
I remember a "race" in Penenag when one of the drivers had a terrible cough - The 4th turned and said rather sharply,"I think you need to turbo wash those lungs!". Great tmes and a great place!
Regards, Peace and Prosperity to all!

Captain Smurf
19th December 2015, 09:29
Myself and fellow cadets at the Hong Kong Bar in 1977 when we were sailing in the Strathardle

26th December 2015, 13:22

will send some pics of HK Bar

leave your email


30th December 2015, 05:11
A few pics of the Old Joint on Chulia Street.

Next time, will take more of the guest book and the black and white snaps of runs shore.

All the Best lads for 2016.


25th March 2020, 15:21
Just picked up on this thread. Between 1970 and 1978 was a regular visitor along with most BI people on Eastern Service, especially the Japan - Gulf run. Used to have our own rickshaw "drivers" who would meet us at the gates and take us where we wanted to go. Hong Kong bar was usually first to check on the photo albums and see if any of our oppo's were still on the run or had changed ships and to check in the message book.While doing this, would give some money to the driver and ask him to get some food. Sweet and sour prawns was my favourite. Used to arrive in an old tin can. Lovely Other regular visits were to Vincents? for a "hair cut" and the Ah Choo Bar and Hotel for "relaxation".
Any one remember Annie? I believe she ended up in America? I've just been sorting out some old photo's and found a one of her.

27th May 2020, 05:56
My Wife and I were in Penang last year (2019) and before going to some smart resteraunt for a celebration nosh up we dropped into the Hong Kong Bar. Idea was to show my wife where we used to go ashore in the Sixties. Pappa and Mamasan's Daughter was running the show and still has plenty of photo albums ( forgot that we used to go ashore in shirt and ties!!!!). Never got to the smart resteraunt but had a great evening.

Tony Drury
27th May 2020, 09:29
Thats is good news - I heard it had burnt down?. A good afternoon or first stop bar!

Part of our maritime heritage lives on.

27th May 2020, 20:59
To get in the better places, a tie was a must. Once, meeting up with other officers for an "evening" in a Singapore hotel, we had to dash off to the nearest stall to buy ties. They were Batik and rather garish. However, the Seikh doorman found them quite acceptable and we were finally allowed to enter.

Nothing to beat the Far East in them long off days!