The Phoenix Bar – Alexandra Palace. As high as you can get in London – in the middle of Alexandra Park sits the faded grandure of the transitter housing Ally Pally. Like the Crystal Palace but made of brick so that when it had its lightning based fire the shell remained. It still remains a beautiful place to go for a walk in the summer, and would benefit from having a really good pub in its Victorian grounds. Instead it makes do with The Phoenix, which we had the misfortune to drink in on Saturday.

The views are there, and a sizable outside seating area for you to get the best of said views. Perhaps if it had been warmer that would have sorted us out, as it was the wind was whipping up and we took shelter on the bright day to the interior. The high ceilinged bar hewn out of a corner of what was left of the shell of the Palace after the fire. And painted for some inexplicable reason peach. If there is one word which describes the interior of the Phoenix it is ersatz. It looks – as Tim put it – as if someone paid for a refit which looked cheap but was expensive. A few sofas in the hot window spots and half hearted tables sucked the atmosphere out of the gaffe – certainly made worse by the central bar being understaffed by people who could not remember a two drink order.

Plus points? They sell Transmitter Real Ale which was very nice – despite it and all other drinks being served in hard plastic glasses. The appeared to not have any glasss glasses at all. The view is nice but with all the pubs getting fake Victorian refits at the moment here is one which could have been restored to its former glory. The palm court out back is equally tacky with its metal picnic tables and really there is a lack of forethought about the whole joint. So much so that after one pint we had to leave to go down the road – but more of that at another date.