Cocktail bartender Ryan Chetiyawardana goes by Mr Lyan, which is arguably easier to say. He opened his first bar, White Lyan, in London in 2013 as the first cocktail bar in the world to use no perishables; no fruit and even no ice. It was an exploration in sustainability, with much lower waste and a use of pre-made cocktails and innovative ingredients. This focus on a ground-breaking approach remains in the evolution of White Lyan in SuperLyan, Dandelyan in Lyaness, and cocktail restaurant, Cub. His most recently opened bar concept is SuperLyan in Amsterdam.
Ryan grew up in a place where food and drink were the heart of the household. Looking to develop this passion, he began his career training as a chef. As a chef he found himself yearning to get out of the kitchen to have a chat as he loved the personal interaction he had with his friends whilst entertaining at home. When doing a BA and MA at Edinburgh University, he quickly got tempted to step behind the bar instead.
Studying Fine Arts at Central Saint Martins as well as Biology and Philosophy at Edinburgh University, he found that the bar was perfect for creativity, entertaining and conversation. He also developed his acute palate, experimenting with ingredients, and tailoring his drinks to each person he met, what they were like, their mood and their interests.