To accompany the emergent waves of cerise-toned buds and flowers is a timely and festive pop-up bar not too far from the Tidal Basin. Masa Urushido of famed Greenwich Village bar Katana Kitten, is joining up with Ryan Chetiyawardana, also known as Mr. Lyan, proprietor of the Riggs Hotel’s Silver Lyan bar, for an immersive, cherry blossom-themed experience.
Lyan and Masa were inspired by the Japanese ritual hanami, or flower viewing.
“This experience is the center of a Venn diagram of our two spaces,” Lyan said, comparing the uniquely American experience of Silver Lyan with the decidedly-Japanese flavors and ingredients of Katana Kitten.
Masa and his bar are known for blending American-style drinks like highballs and Manhattans with Japanese spirits like Suntory Toki and shōchū, combined with traditional ingredients like Hōjicha green tea. Silver Lyan is a much more experimental and technical bar, relying on unique ingredients, fancy garnishes like foams and fizzes, and other off-the-wall creations to make, in the words of Lyan, “drinks you won’t find anywhere else.”
On the menu, I’m noticing drinks made with Haku vodka, Roku gin, and Toki whiskey — all Beam Suntory spirits. “Suntory is an ‘unofficial’ third partner,” Mr. Lyan explains, “I’ve worked with them a lot and they’re a natural part of the collaboration.”
The drinks that will draw in throngs of revelers, but so will the sights and sounds. “Drinks are a medium for explaining local history, and in a way, a cultural exchange,” Lyan said, “and this experiment is meant to be a combination of both our worlds…different aesthetics, different cultures, and different ingredients, but most of all a fun experience all around the cherry blossom theme.” Lyan notes that a lot of care has gone into the presentation, making it feel light and fun. For example, they’ll bedeck the bar with floral accents and incorporate some of Masa’s balloons in the cocktail process.
“This should feel like an experience you’ll get nowhere else – immersive, wonderfully over the top, bringing the glory and beauty of the outdoors indoors,” Lyan said with a smile. “It’ll be a chance to experience something different, borrowing all the concepts that Katana Kitten and Silver Lyan work with and bring them together.”
The cherry blossom themed event is one-weekend-only, March 31 through April 2. Reservations are filling fast, but walk-ins are accepted. Silver Lyan is in the lower level of the Riggs Washington DC, 900 F St NW, Washington, DC, silverlyan.com and follow on Instagram @silverlyan.