Updated: Ryan Chetiyawardana on taking the Lyan brand international with three new venues

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Other: Venues

Ryan Chetiyawardana, aka Mr Lyan, has announced that he will open three venues in three different countries within the year: Lyaness in London, Super Lyan in Amsterdam and Silver Lyan in Washington, DC.

‘We’re super excited!’ Chetiyawardana told Imbibe. ‘Of course we love to keep cards close, and still are to some extent, but it’s great to be able to announce our giddiness at getting to explore new cities, new concepts, and new ways to bring people together.’

Set to open at the end of March, Lyaness will take over the space that Dandelyan currently occupies at Sea Containers London (formerly the Mondrian). The staff will remain the same, but the new bar will present an entirely different concept to Dandelyan, complete with new décor.

In October, Chetiyawardana revealed that Dandelyan would be closing its doors, despite taking home the top spot at the World’s 50 Best Bars awards just days later.

It was announced today that Mondrian London would be managed by Lore Group and the hotel would be renamed Sea Containers London. Are the changes in the space formerly known as Dandelyan anything to do with this, we wondered?

‘The decision to change Dandelyan came about last year – and the decision was very much our own. We’re very proud of what we have achieved with the bar, but what started out as boundary pushing had become more common-place, and we always want to continue to innovate, so an evolution seemed appropriate – it’s in our blood,’ Chetiyawardana laughed.

‘Dandelyan will continue to run under the new hotel operation until Lyaness is ready to launch, but it seems appropriate that we’ll be entering a new chapter of our story as the hotel also continues to develop and evolve.’

Next up, Super Lyan will relocate from the basement of Hoxton restaurant Cub to a larger venue in Amsterdam, with the original London location set to be turned into a fermentation lab and office space. The Amsterdam iteration of Super Lyan is scheduled to open in April.

‘A few things have culminated in the move of Super Lyan to Amsterdam,’ explained Chetiyawardana. ‘Our plan was to re-launch Super Lyan in Hoxton after a refurb as there was a lot of love for the bar, but we wanted to amp up the space and make it a place that did justice to the bar’s ethos of taking the familiar and reimagining it.

‘Shortly after we were approached by an old university friend of mine, Dr Johnny Drain, about working together with Doug McMaster on a fermentation lab. This will allow us to explore and develop flavours that could not only be used in Cub upstairs, but across the Lyan bars. At the same time, after a couple of trips to Amsterdam I had fallen in love with the city – its culture and history of progressive liberalism – and after discussions with the team, it seemed like the ideal and fitting home for Super Lyan.’

The Lyan group is rounding out its international openings with Washington DC bar Silver Lyan, which will land Stateside in November.

Both Super Lyan and Silver Lyan will build on Chetiyawardana’s longstanding ethos of local and sustainable ingredients.

The announcement of the new venues follows the group’s restructuring and hiring push, publicised last week, which sees new staff at Cub, consultancy Mr Lyan Studio and beyond. This includes the appointment of former Dandelyan head bartender Alex Lawrence as group bar manager.

It’s sometimes dizzying keeping up with the Mr Lyan team and their adventures into the unknown. But as Chetiyawardana said: ‘The world evolves, and the worlds of food and drink, as extensions of this to bring people together, evolve too. That’s why we continue to shift and morph. With that, there’ll be times where we see the need to evolve or kill a brand within the Lyan family. I see this as totally positive!

‘It’s healthy to change, as it doesn’t then employ an arrogance of immortality to the space, and it remains relevant. That doesn’t mean places can’t be constant, or that we won’t have a brand that stands for a long period of time, but we are proud of our decision to change and evolve. All those brands will retain a history with us, and remain part of the family, so we may see points in the future where they might crop up again!’

We suspect this could be a hint to an upcoming project. Chetiyawardana mentioned in his earlier announcement the prospect of some ‘zombie Lyans’ appearing at some point. Could we see White Lyan return from the dead in some form, perhaps? Let’s hope!

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