This pub was voted one of the best in Chelsea by Londonist readers.
What is a Phene?* Those of us with chemistry degrees may suspect some kind of benzoic connection. There's certainly something aromatic about the place (sorry, that's a chemistry joke), with plenty of dining space and a marked gastronomic slant. The main bar area is gorgeous, with silvers, greys and various shades of wood, plus a small library of book shelves. A narrow vestibule recapitulates the bookish theme, before debouching into the rear dining areas — a stylish homage to ornithology and mirrors. There's more grub space upstairs, and plenty of sheltered, heated space in the beer garden.
This is, undeniably, more of a wine place than a beer-drinker's heaven, though there are a couple of interesting pours on draught and several bottles. The list of vino is much more impressive, stretching into the dozens and including several organic and biodynamic wines. It says something about the neighbourhood that the upper-end wines are £90 a bottle, or £250 for the top fizz, although you can also get reasonably priced glasses. No surprise that local residents include the likes of Hugh Grant and Mark Knopfler, who helped save the pub from transformation into posh housing a few years back.
*The answer's a bit dull. The pub and its street are named after Samuel Phene, a Victorian do-gooder who put the pissed back into philanthropist by building this refuge for local workers.
Last updated February 2015.