Tried & Tested

Bar review: Lyaness at Sea Containers London

18 Feb 2023 by Hannah Brandler
Lyaness Sea Containers London


Lyaness is a swanky bar from award-winning bartender Ryan Chetiyawardana (better known as Mr Lyan) and his team, located in the Sea Containers London hotel on Southbank. 

Open since March 2019, Lyaness is housed in the site of Chetiyawardana’s former bar Dandelyan which, among other accolades, was awarded World’s Best Bar at the World’s 50 Best Bars in 2018. Dandelyan closed shortly after, in 2019. 

Lyaness has lived up to the hype of its former bar, winning both The World’s Best Bar and Best International Hotel Bar at the Spirited Awards from Tales of The Cocktail. 

Sister bars include Silver Lyan in Washington DC, Super Lyan in Amsterdam and Seed Library in the basement of One Hundred Shoreditch hotel in Shoreditch. 

Lyaness Sea Containers London

The venue

The bar has a scenic location, situated on the ground floor of the recognisable cruise liner-inspired Sea Containers building on the banks of the River Thames.

Floor-to-ceiling glass of windows offer beautiful views of the city (particularly at night), though I found myself more interested in the interiors and drinks. 

Design by Jacu Strauss and the Lore Design Team shifts away from Dandelyan’s pink tones, and instead features a palette of baby blue, with the exception of the existing green marble bar.

I visited on a Friday evening and the space felt instantly lively, with guests’ chatter remixed with disco tunes from the DJ booth.

Seating ranges from intimate small tables to high-top tables, bar seating and very comfortable lounge-like sofas in the signature baby blue at the back of the room – these are a little more private and spacious than the rest of the space.

It was also nice to see a mix of ages in the bar and a combination of hotel guests and locals.

Lyaness Sea Containers London. Rapoport Cocktail by Caitlin Isola

Food and drink

Lyaness is known for its imaginative cocktail menus which are a collaborative team effort and take approximately seven to eight months to create, with the first three months dedicated to the planning and research side without any cocktail experimentation. 

The bar’s latest menu, The Ancestral Cookbook, launched in November 2022 and revolves around five ingredients crafted by the team. The menu features detailed explanations of each ingredient so I’m not going to delve into that here (it’s all part of the experience!), but these are named Everything Vinegar, Tree Caramel, Thunder Mushroom, Death Bitters and B+B.

The ingredients have been used in various creative ways to concoct a list of 15 cocktails, inspired by the “natural, cultural and social effects of human evolution on ingredients and food”. 

The menu is divided into chapters based on five themes: nature vs nurture, exploring the relationship between manmade and natural elements; circularity, looking at human habit of repetition; taught history, exploring the passing on of lessons to the next generation; ceremony, with drinks designed for joyous occasions; and extreme conditions, which looks at how ingredients can distort under extreme conditions. 

If you find yourself confused by the menu, fret not as staff sit with you to explain the inspiration for the menu and are keen to answer any questions. 

Lyaness Sea Containers London. Shaky fist margarita

My first drink, the shaky fist margarita, takes its inspiration from meme culture (look up the shaky fist meme to get the reference). The rose pink cocktail features the B+B ingredient, made from a combination of toasted grains, pea amazake and cordials, and is very smooth and easily drinkable. Fitting with the pink palette is the creative alternative to the salted rim – a dried tomato and raspberry salt decoration on one side of the glass.

While the night began with imaginative takes on classic cocktails, the nightcaps were far more experimental. The gin and fortified wine-based Rapoport Cocktail has ingredients which have undergone three fermentation processes – hence the ‘extreme conditions’ category – along with the sweet Tree Caramel, crafted from African Braai wood which has undergone various cycles of extreme heat, cold and pressure. The drink has a delicious spiced mulled wine sensation.

Lyaness at Sea Containers small plates

For a stronger number, opt for the Elephant Martini which includes ethically sourced hyraceum – otherwise known as excrement from the Cape hyrax.

A selection of the cocktails can be made without alcohol (for a cheaper price) and the back of the menu has a chart which categorises the drinks by light/rich taste, and time of day, which is very handy. 

The seaside-inspired small plates are a great accompaniment to the cocktails and ideal for sharing. Highlights include padron peppers with a smokey paprika seasoning (be prepared for your fingers to get messy), refreshing bite-sized seabass ceviche tacos presented on a shell-like plate, and a generous helping of crab on toast with smashed avocado and pickled jalapeno.


Staff are excellent, clearly very well-trained in the art of mixology and passionate about the industry. They do not have set roles and alternate between behind-the-bar work, serving customers and working in the lab, so they are very knowledgeable about the menu.

While the bar itself is sleek, it has an informal spirit and team members such as the charismatic Antonio Galetta sit beside you to explain the menu. 

There are also two staff members dedicated to each section of the bar, which allows you to get to know them and also means that drinks arrive soon after ordering.

You’ll also never have to ask for water as it’s immediately served when you arrive and refilled regularly to keep you hydrated and minimise any chances of a hangover. 


Lyaness is a fantastic successor to Dandelyan, offering creative cocktails at a decent price in central London, with approachable and knowledgeable staff and a scenic setting.

I’m told that the team are working on the next iteration of the menu, so book a visit soon to get the most of the current menu – and why not get a hotel room while you’re at it.



Monday – Thursday: 5pm-12am 

Friday: 4pm-1am

Saturday: 12pm-1am 

Sunday: 12pm-11pm


Cocktails range from £14.50-16.50 (£8 for non-alcoholic alternatives)

Small plates range from £4-18


20 Upper Ground, London SE1 9PD; 020 3747 1063;

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