Mr Lyan to launch three bars in 2019

Bar innovator Ryan Chetiyawardana will launch three new Mr Lyan venues across three countries in 2019, including Lyaness which replace Dandelyan, the reigning world’s best bar.

Drinks International can exclusively reveal Chetiyawardana will move Super Lyan in Hoxton to a new site in Amsterdam and open another new brand and concept - Silver Lyan - in Washington DC, US.

Dandelyan to become Lyaness

Lyaness, which will occupy the Dandelyan site at Sea Containers London and will be operated by the hotel bar’s existing team, will open at the end of March under a new concept with new décor.

In a shock move in October, Chetiyawardana announced Dandelyan would close, two days before The World’s 50 Best Bars named it the world’s best bar.

Dandelyan, which launched in 2015, sold around 1,000 high-concept cocktails in an average night – a feat rarely seen among elite bars.

Chetiyawardana told DI: “Dandelyan has been incredibly successful but that’s not a reason to not evolve. This is a chance to change from a position of positivity rather than negativity and to continue to challenge ourselves. We are fortunate to have partners that understand the way we do things. We’re kindred spirits – our partners value working with a small reactive, footloose brand. The proposal [to close Dandelyan] went down quite smoothly.”

“London is excited by things that feel new and relevant - there is no timelessness at the cutting edge. When we look at the things we have done at Dandelyan and White Lyan [Mr Lyan’s first bar which made way for Super Lyan], they have now become commonplace. Why wouldn’t we change? It was obvious we had to kill Dandelyan.”

 “The Dandelyan team will be at the heart of what we’re doing - that’s what the name Lyaness relates to. Lionesses are the leaders, the hunters, the badasses – that’s what we’ll be focusing on. We want to sharpen it up, give it an edge, increase the energy and buzz. That means the décor has to change. It will have a different character. The team will have a new space to shine – a new platform. It won’t have the same concept as Dandelyan but it will remain a cocktail bar.”

Super Lyan Amsterdam

Super Lyan in Hoxton will transport to a larger venue in Amsterdam

Meanwhile, Super Lyan – Chetiyawardana ’s Hoxton venue in the basement of CUB - will be repurposed as an fermentation lab and office space, while the bar brand will be moved to a larger site in Amsterdam in April, just a few weeks after Lyaness opens its doors.

“We want it to complement the landscape – there are some great things going on in Amsterdam," Chetiyawardana told DI. "I’ve fallen in love with the city; it reminds me of Edinburgh.  Iain [Griffiths] and I saw the site - just off the canal district – and immediately said: ‘this site is Super Lyan’. It sits so neatly with the brand. But we’re not just transporting the brand and dumping it in Amsterdam. It’s in an old, wonderfully wonky building. It’ll take Super Lyan’s playful optimism. We’ve nodded to the alter ego, super hero thing but it won’t look like Super Lyan in its current guise. It won't look like any other bar."

The new Super Lyan will build a staff from mostly local bartenders and will embrace local ingredients. “They’re very progressive with agriculture – we’ll be honing in on the most delicious, sustainable ingredients,” said Chetiyawardana.

Silver Lyan in DC

Silver Lyan, an entirely new brand, will launch in Washington in November. “We’d been out to Washington a few times and, again, fell in love with the city. It’s the prettiest city I’ve seen in the US. Being surprised by a city is a really nice thing – I’d expected it to be conservative and masculine but it’s not, it’s warm and has a great buzz. The food scene is great and there are some really interesting bartenders doing some brilliant stuff. It feels exciting.”

“We don’t do historical things but we want our bars to feed into the culture. The name came about from our research into DC and the cultural exchange and historic links to the East. But we’re not going to create a faux history. The décor will nod to grandeur but will be playful and beautiful. The size of the site is smaller than Dandelyan and bigger than CUB.”

A local ethos will again be at play, says Chetiyawardana. “We might take existing staff out there but our strategy is to build the team locally. We’ll be looking at local businesses. There are some great local distillers. We’ll adapt what we do to the US and play to local tastes but Washington has a breadth of palate – more so than New York, which has more of a classic slant – which gives me confidence about the reception of the drinks we make.”

More details on Lyaness will follow on and in sister title Class magazine.