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As the closest pub to Buckingham Palace, The Phoenix should be styling itself as the Queen's local. On our recent visit, we didn't quite get royalty, but we did rub shoulders with a noted Labour MP and former Cabinet member. Nestling up against the St James Theatre, this place can get very busy before showtime, and it was standing-room only on a wet January Wednesday.
The Phoenix is an attractive pub, with one or two quirks about the place. The ceiling's supported by a gaudy totem pole, like a refugee from a Wild West theme park. Meanwhile, the bar seems to have been built from filing cabinets and chests of drawers. Generously sized wooden tables make this a good option for large groups, though you might want to book.
As part of the Geronimo Inns chain, there's a reliable menu, clocking in around the £10 mark for mains. A separate dining room upstairs offers more relaxed eating arrangements. There's also a small beer garden out the back for warmer days. Beer choice is basic, with just three well-known brands on draught, but the wine list is extensive and varied.