Olive Magazine

Lyaness, London SE1: cocktail bar review

Published: April 23, 2019 at 4:19 pm

Try elegant tiki cocktails, funky daiquiris and banana-tinged sazeracs at Ryan Chetiyawardana’s newest opening

Looking for bars in South Bank? Read our review of Lyaness, or check out our London bar reviews here.


Lyaness in a nutshell

When drinks maestro Ryan Chetiyawardana’s lavishly garlanded Dandelyan (including World’s Best Bar in 2018) closed earlier this year at Sea Containers London it was swiftly replaced by his next incarnation – Lyaness.

Where is it?

South Bank. Nearest tube: Blackfriars underground station

What’s the vibe?

The sweeping green marble bar and sleek mid-century aesthetic remains at Lyaness, but this time the colour palate is lighter (but still statement-making), with sky-hued walls, soft-grey sofas and electric-blue banquettes, plus lots of opulent gold accents.

A room wth blue walls and sofas
Cool tones and opulent gold accents at Lyaness

What’s the drinks menu like?

While Dandelyan’s thematically complex menus covered topics such as botany, sustainability and agriculture, Lyaness is more pared back, with a cocktail menu built around seven key ingredients. If this sounds simple then rest assured there’s plenty of Ryan’s characteristically intricate drinks wizardry going on behind the scenes, with each ‘ingredient’ the end result of various clever processes and techniques.

Take Infinite Banana, made from bananas that have undergone everything from curing to fermentation, until the end result is intriguingly multi-layered: creamy, sweet, smoky, caramelised, tropical and umami all at once. Or the oddball ONYX, a spirit made in collaboration with Copenhagen’s Empirical Spirits that uses ingredients such as blackened koji, birchwood kombucha and Equinox hops to create an intriguing savoury/sweet concoction with fruity funkiness. You can try a £2 taster of all the ingredients if you’re curious to try them on their own.

Which cocktails to order?

The layered nature and versatility of these ingredients becomes truly apparent once they’re used in cocktails (some of which come with boozeless options). In the tiki-inspired Double Painkiller – Infinite Banana, Bombay Sapphire gin, Bacardí Cuatro rum, toasted coconut, lemon and orange – where one would expect banana to dominate it instead blends seamlessly within a smooth, elegant drink with bright tropical notes, and subtle smokiness at the finish. The Rosa Daquiri sees Grey Goose vodka, Trois Rivières rum, Cocchi Rosa vermouth and lime join ONYX in a fruity, citrussy creation with a subtle funk and a surprising cocoa-tinged finish. Click here for more rum cocktails.

A glass filled with ice
The Double Painkiller

Is there any food?

Bar snacks range from buttery Nocellara olives and moreish spiced nuts to tacos (think sea bass, pulled jerk pork and goat’s cheese), buttermilk chicken sliders, Irish rock oysters and more.

Where to go nearby for dinner:

An 11-minute walk away on the first floor of the Royal Festival Hall, head to Skylon for seasonal modern British food and great views of the Thames.

olive tip

The core menu ingredients can also be used to customise your favourite cocktails – chat to the knowledgeable bar staff about your preferences and they’ll whip up something for you (top tip: Infinite Banana in a sazerac is a winner).

Price: From £13 for a cocktail.



Words by Hannah Guinness

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