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Portrait of contributor Ryan Chetiyawardana

Around the world with Mr Lyan

Cocktails, three charismatic cities and a very special prize draw


It’s been ten years since master mixologist Ryan Chetiyawardana – aka Mr Lyan – opened his first bar. Whether we’re talking a smoky beeswax old fashioned or precision-mixed Turbine Martini, his cocktails are off-the-scale creative and unfailingly delicious. With bars in London, Amsterdam and Washington, D.C., he’s an international name – so who better to be our guide for a whistlestop global tour? Read on for his favourite addresses and to win a once-in-a-lifetime trip to see them for yourself.

Overhead shot of food at Bar Spero in Washington

Seafood spread at Bar Spero (Casey Robinson)


Culture, history and politics collide in a capital city like no other. Stroll the monument-dotted National Mall, get lost in some epic museums, or get to grips with baseball, a mustard-slathered half-smoke in hand. Recover with a stateside-inspired cocktail at Silver Lyan, named Best US Hotel Bar at last year’s Spirited Awards.

The first thing: After a late flight, my first stop is dinner at a bar. Barmini, Death & Co, The Green Zone and St Vincent Wine all offer terrific snacks. D.C. also has the best dive bars in the world so, if I can manage a big first night, The Pug will probably feature.

A hidden gem: Maketto or Somewhere DC for food and fashion, Yellow for orange-blossom croissants, or city distillery Cotton & Reed for a bottle of award-winning rum.

Unmissable eats: There’s so much great food, from the seafood at Bar Spero to the Middle Eastern flavours at Albi, or Thip Khao’s Laotian menu. For the city’s signature half-smoke sausage, drop by Meat and Foods or the historic Ben’s Chili Bowl.

Make mine a… Our classics at Silver Lyan are awesome, such as the Project Manhattan or Silver Service Martini, while the Air Bee n Bee and King Pausa are a masterclass in storytelling and technique.

Checking in: Over breakfast at Riggs Washington DC, take in the paper flower installation at Café Riggs, which is magical in the morning light. Silver Lyan also has a special hidden space: if you’re a whisky fan, get talking to the team and ask them to sneak you in.

A close up of a cocktail at Superlyan in Amsterdam

Raising a glass at Super Lyan, Amsterdam (Ashkan Mortezapour)


A city of gabled townhouses and elm-edged, concentric canals, Amsterdam needs no introduction. It is, as Mr Lyan observes, “a city to walk and wander”, no matter the time of year, before retiring to Super Lyan for a cocktail at the neon-lit bar. Its creations are elegantly playful: a cherry blossom-spiked highball, say, or gimlet with flint-infused gin.  

The first thing: Amsterdam is such a seasonal city: in spring and summer everyone’s outside, and I love walking around with a gelato from Massimo or kukicha (a kind of twig tea) from Cloud. In winter, apple pie from Winkel 43 is a must, as are the city’s galleries.

A hidden gem: If you’re in town in late June, don’t miss Open Tuinen Dagen, when some of the grandest canal houses unlock their gardens to visitors.

Unmissable eats: Sip an aperitif at Pulitzer’s Bar, or head to the tiny De Dokter for a beer or whisky. 4850 serves cardamom buns by day and polished small plates at night, while Cantine de Caron is great for Sunday lunch.

Make mine a… The Frosé Margarita or Mayaimi Vice are both Super Lyan classics but, for light, bright whisky goodness, I always lean into a draught cocktail from the seasonal menu.

Checking in: Pulitzer Amsterdam has two beautiful historic boats, which are such a memorable way to see the city from the water.

Tables at One hundred Shoreditch in London

One Hundred Shoreditch, London


The city where he opened his first cocktail bar is dear to Mr Lyan’s heart: “It just feels more vibrant than anywhere else on earth”. Lyaness – named the World’s Best Bar – is his South Bank flagship, magicking unlikely ingredients into mind-blowing drinks, while Seed Library oozes Shoreditch cool. Order a scorched whisky sour and see where the night takes you. 

The first thing: Tea! Even though I travel with Rare Tea Company goodies, I crave tea and Marmite on toast when I land.

A hidden gem: Don’t miss smaller galleries such as the Wellcome Collection or Horniman – known for its quirky taxidermy and 16-acre gardens-with-a-view. Remember, too, to stray to Zone 2 and beyond for neighbourhood eating gems, whether that’s great Pakistani or Bangladeshi food in Whitechapel, or Turkish eats in Dalston and Green Lanes.

Unmissable eats: The impact of St John has been enormous, while places such as Lyle’s, Papi and Silo also fly the British flag high. For British ingredients framed through a different lens, head to BiBi: the Devon scallops, cured in nimbu pani, are mind-blowing.

Make mine a… Rapoport Cocktail or Tornado Sazerac, which demonstrate how Lyaness creates drinks like nowhere else. At Seed Library, my go-to is a coriander seed gimlet or miso-spiked Koji Hardshake.

Checking in: The rooftops at One Hundred Shoreditch and Sea Containers London both have stunning views, but the little nook opposite Lyaness remains a favourite spot – we called it the bat cave and would hole up there for meetings.

Pack your bags

To mark a decade of next-level cocktails, Lore Group is offering the chance to win an extraordinary trip for two, sampling Mr Lyan’s award-winning bars in London, Amsterdam and Washington, D.C. Flights with British Airways are included, along with luxury stays at Riggs Washington DC, Pulitzer Amsterdam and Sea Containers London. You’ll meet Mr Lyan himself over a cocktail in London and sample a Turbine Martini in Heathrow’s Concorde Lounge. Feeling lucky? Head to loregroup.com/lyan to be in with a chance of winning.

Terms and conditions:

1. Open to UK and Channel Islands residents aged 18 or over.
2. The closing date for receipt of entries is 30 November 2023, 23:59 GMT.
3. Prizes: Stays and bar experiences are for two people sharing one room. Flights are between DC, Amsterdam and London, including airport transfers and access to the Concorde Lounge at Heathrow T5. 
4. The winner is responsible for getting themselves to one of these cities.
5. No cash alternative.
6. Only one entry per person. Entrants must sign up on loregroup.com and consent to marketing data.
7. Travel conditions apply. For full terms and conditions please see loregroup.com/lyan
Promoter: Lore Group