Home' Bars and Clubs : BAC JulyAugust 2016 Contents OPERATOR PROFILE
y name is Iain Griffiths and myself, and another
gentleman, Ryan Chetiyawardana, have a company
in London called Mr Lyan – it’s a childhood nickname
of Ryan that he took on first as a consultancy name and that
we’ve now turned into a company. In fact, on July 18 this year it
was three years since we signed our first set of keys.
We’ve got two bars in London and they are really what
we’re going to talk about. We have done a few other projects
along the way, but from the beginning with our bars we had a
real ambition and a focus to lead the change that we wanted
to see in our industry.
Food and drink is the hottest ticket in town right now, it’s
like the oil of the eighties. Every investment company, when
you look at Silicon Valley, that’s where the investment is going,
and people are looking to it because there is a high return on
revenue and there’s a real notion of luxury around food and
drink. It’s 2016, luxury is no longer what you wear, but it is
where you choose to eat and drink. And by virtue of that fact,
we felt that there is a big onus on our industry to really step up
and be accountable for every single aspect of what we do. The
food and drink world is a huge waste producer. That’s a fact.
It’s how it is. Really, it’s best described as if you are thinking
about waste as a timeline. So you have a product and it gets
created, it gets packaged, then it gets shipped to the bar, then
the bar uses it and throws away what they don’t use. Then you
get your delicious cocktail, or lovely plate of food. What we
have chosen to do with our bars is try and attack that timeline
and really disrupt the way that waste efficiency is approached
on the timeline.
We have one bar called White Lyan – it doesn’t use ice, it doesn’t use citrus, and
we make everything ourselves. From the water that we charcoal filter right through
to the fact that we make our own gin, vodka, rum, rye, bourbon, scotch, wine
and beer. In all honesty when we built it the mood board was “80s cocaine den”.
When you walk into White Lyan, it’s rather minimalist, it’s very, very monochrome
– we wanted to build a cocktail bar for people that didn’t like cocktails. There’s
no 15 minute wait for drinks, there is a stripper pole in the basement, there’s red
fluorescent lights. We wanted to have fun and we wanted to create a bar where
people enjoy every single element of the bar experience in the most atypical
At White Lyan we do a huge amount of pre-batching. What we do is we get the
drinks, we put them together ahead of time, we pre-dilute them, we pre-chill them,
and it wasn’t our mission but what we wound up creating was something similar to
a bottled cocktail bar.
But we wanted something more than that as well.
What we did there was attack the beginning part of the timeline, when we
worked with distilleries and they shipped their liquid to us in reusable containers
and by virtue of that point right there, we have reduced packaging waste by about
80 per cent compared to a normal bar.
White Lyan is a seven-day-a-week operation that holds 80 people – it’s busy
on the weekends, and we’re busy during the week – and for a bar that size you’d
normally fill a residential size garbage bin about three times over, each time on a
Friday/Saturday night. We would probably fill one of those bins in an entire week.
When you go to the other end of that timeline and
you look at how you have produced that cocktail – it’s
delicious, it goes out to the guest, and you start throwing
away all your extra bits and pieces, that’s where Dandylyan
really steps up.
Dandylyan looks at closing the loop, as it were, on
waste production. So, one of the drinks we do is called our
Trash Bin Mojito. Because what we wanted to do there was
really stop wasting one of the most key ingredients that
every single bar has in them: mint. A mojito today is still
probably the most ordered cocktail in the world and by
virtue of that fact, we are throwing away so much unique
flavour and wasting so much on that one single drink every
day, we wanted to really look at that drink and figure out
how we could address the issues with it.
Dandylyan is in a luxury hotel. White Lyan is at the arse-
end of a ghetto street in East London. Dandylyan is on the
South Bank, 4.8 million people will walk past the front of
that bar this year alone. It seats 96 people, holds another
50 standing, there’s a 270 seat restaurant next door, a 300
capacity rooftop bar, 360 hotel rooms, a cinema, a spa, a
gym. The idea with the Mondrian is that once you walk in
those doors, you have no reason to leave – Dandylyan is a
real feature of that.
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