The Napoleon: London's Quirkiest (and Smallest) Hotel
Set on a sleepy street between Shoreditch and the City, The Napoleon is the speakeasy of London’s hotel scene. On the first floor you’ll find the Devil’s Darling – a proper cocktail bar that’s all low lighting and dry martins; the ground floor bar Sack will transport you to an Andalucian bodega; while the inconspicuous basement bar Black Rock specialises in after-hours whisky, oysters and throwback 90s hip-hop. And on the top floor, there’s the Napoleon Suite – a one-bedroom hotel perfect for slumping into bed after one too many negronis downstairs or, thanks to the fully-stocked cocktail bar, a place to continue the party into the small hours.
Where to start… Upon check-in we were told the way to do The Napoleon is to start at the top and work your way down. So, after dumping out bags and tucking into one of the pre-made Aske Stephenson cocktails from the room’s drinks trolley, we headed to the first floor’s Devil’s Darling.
This bar is perfect first date territory – all flattering lighting, tables for two and a daily changing menu of just three cocktails to ensure you get just the right side of tipsy. You can, of course, order whatever you like too – go classic, these guys know what they’re doing when it comes to liquor.
Make your way down to… Sack – a Spanish-inspired, bodega type bar specialising in sherry and jamon. One floor down, the vibe couldn’t feel further from Devil’s Darling. But that’s the charm of the Napoleon, each of its offshoots are as quirky and unique as each other. The name, if you’re wondering, means dry wine imported from Spain – and the staff are passionate about it. We soaked up their knowledge and became reacquainted with the drink.
Order a night cap at… The hotel’s third and final bar, Black Rock. Hidden in the basement, it’s all dark walls, old school hip-hop and heady whisky cocktails. It’s the cool big brother of the group and perfect for post-dinner drinks – order the Fragrance with baked oysters on the side – even if you’re not staying the night. Whisky and bourbon connoisseurs will appreciate the liquor-filled table made from an old tree trunk, now functioning as a bar booth with taps that literally pour you a dram at your seat.
Hit the pillow… In the Napoleon Suite. If you’re lucky enough to be the hotel’s one resident for the night, head up to the top floor to your very own suite. With its rock‘n’roll prints on the wall and Wes Anderson colour scheme, it’s perfect for Instagram moments. With a keypad and code to check-in, a secret service elevator to order drinks up to the room, and breakfast that appears inside in the morning, the room has a cool, speakeasy, ‘your little secret’ feel to it.
Check out by 10am (not before soaking in the 50s canary yellow roll-top bath) and leave with freshly baked pastries and, more than likely, a sore head.
9 Christopher Street, Shoreditch, London EC2A 2BS
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