Booze hounds

Ryan Chetiyawardana

Who are you and what do you do? Tell us about yourself…

I’m Ryan Chetiyawardana – or, Mr Lyan. I’m a bartender based in London with spots in London, Amsterdam and soon to be, Washington DC. I’ve worked in the industry for over 17 years and have covered stints in Fine Dining, nightclubs, dive bars, cocktail spots and hotels. I’ve got a love for the weird, and try fold my studies in kitchens, Fine Art, Biology and Philosophy into our work, but mainly try and explore different ways to bring people together and help them have a better time with their loved ones. With all the Lyan projects we try and create platforms for the team to create, learn and explore and reassess what the industry can be about. 

What’s the best thing about your job? 

The people. I (officially) have the best team in the world, but I also get to interact with people from lots of different specialisms as we try and explore the boundaries of what food & drink and hospitality can be about, and I get to see people gather with their friends to experience this, and to hopefully give them something that feels fun and exciting. 

You can teleport to any bar in the world, where are you going?

In many ways, it would be to Scotland, but given it’s miserable out, and democracy is looking pretty ravaged in the West, I’m heading South to La Capilla to enjoy some Mexican countryside and some good living with friends. 

Where’s your favourite city for bar-hopping? 

London makes a firm shout, as does New York, but it would have to be Tokyo. Not only for the cocktail bars, but for karaoke joints, izakaya and some of the best whisky bars in the world.

What’s your idea of a party?

Good friends, friends of friends, a killer DJ reading the room, tequila, scotch & sodas, daiquiris, Champagne, very dark, very loud.

Who in the industry would you love to rock up to the bar next to you?

My Scottish mentors – Mike Aikman, Jason Scott, Craig Harper, Iain Griffiths, Stu McCluskey, Andy Gemmell, Lewis Jaffrey, Chris Stock… – it’s a danger when we’re at the bar together, but damn it’s a lot of fun and laughter. 

What is your desert island bottle?

1964 Bowmore Fino Cask for Oddbins. Make it a case please

What’s your failsafe cocktail?

Scotch and Soda. Or Jack and Coke in a dive bar

What is your hangover cure?

I don’t get hungover! But I’m not sure what a bacon sandwich and a cup of tea can’t cure


Booze hounds